Escaping the pit

I had this post planned out from the beginning, and it would not have been truthful. Here is my opening quote:

Don’t say there’s nothing to do in the Doldrums
It’s just- not- true

I would have carried on:

Of course I escape the pit. I escape it with television, staring alone at a screen and indulging in vicarious connection, difficulty, effort, triumph, love. No great harm in that, perhaps, I need a little time just relaxing, but the rush of emotion at something unreal is, well, unreal. The escape is not real either.

My friend A escaped the pit in reality. He did not have a particularly fulfilling or rewarding job, though it was skilled labour, but he was churchwarden at a time when in that town most churches were segregated black or white, and A worked with the vicar bringing other black people into my parish church. This is good and worthwhile work.

I block out the pit with fantasy and magical thinking. That is a large part of the reason why I am here, now, because I imagine impossibilities as possible, and moon over them. I make the pit bearable with fantasies, and so do not take the necessary action to achieve what is actually possible and get out of it. I hear all these “inspirational” quotes about following your heart, doing what makes your heart sing, etc, etc, and imagine that all of Life could be an endless whirl of that delight, like the quick achievement- sorted within an hour!- on the telly.

I had got myself right down. So it was good to get the link and photo from Rose, a reminder of real connection with real people, doing something beautiful together. Of course I do fantasy and magical thinking, but in depression it can seem as if everything positive is that, and the depressive thinking is false: there are good and beautiful things everywhere.

I need to be completely truthful with myself. I need to see the delight, and the difficulty, where they are. A wise friend has told me to pass on to the next thought.

Added: someone liked it too.

8 thoughts on “Escaping the pit

  1. “I need to see the delight and the difficulty where they are.” Yes, I’ve found that taking inventory, much like a shop, in what is good and what isn’t working in my life, writing it all down on paper. Then looking closely at what isn’t working I determine why those things are still in my life – can I change them, and if so I make a plan to do so. Can I not change them? If so I agree to make peace with them however slowly that peace might come. I’ve always got to see where my part is in each situation and ask God to help me clean it all up. I then give thanks for what is good, because no matter how depressed I am, there is always some good. Blessings! Dawn

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  2. It’s important to try and see the positive side of things and see the good not the bad, but in yoga they say that whatever you feel, you should just feel it. I’m not saying that should be the case all the time, but if I feel a little down, or stressed, or self-conscious, I’m getting better at saying, “This is just how I feel today, tomorrow will be different.”

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    • I think that is the point. Feelings are good. We evolved feelings. I think people get neurotic because we evolved in far smaller social groups, and having so many people so close, some in very complex relationships, some close but not related at all, is difficult to deal with. I cannot expect never to feel fear or anger. I hear that if you are angry for more than eight minutes, it is anger at an old sore rather than at the current situation. It is what you do with it that counts. Welcome, and thank you for commenting.

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    • ♥ ♥ ♥

      I love that video. I went to an exhibition at the Lowry Centre in Manchester of photographs from the East Lancs Road, close ups of an oil spill or litter, which made what I would have seen as ugly beautiful. Which opened me to seeing beauty at Willesden Junction, though the sunshine and the company helped.

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  3. Hello Clare.

    This isn’t necessarily for publication, but that’s as you wish. I’ve been reading your blog quite closely. I’ve resisted writing you up to now and this morning I asked myself “Why?”. 

    I was in my early 30’s when I had to face my own anger issues regarding my parents and the way life had turned out for me up to then. I had isolated myself for years. I hated my job. And I was clueless as to what I wanted out of life.  Had you asked me then, I would have denied any possibility of my being alive past the age of 50.

    I’m 62 now. When I realized last year, (sitting at this desk) that I was actually transgendered, my rather grey outlook on life’s possibilities took on the most fantastic colors.

    What might have been an occasion for self-recrimination on having wasted my previous existence as a man became instead a peal of urgency. I wanted to know everything, not only regarding my journey into my true gender, but about the world in general, of which I’d seen much and traveled widely but then had not seen in the way that any perpetual tourist may record, but not really see.

    What was it you wrote? 

    “. . . the glorious, beautiful phenomenon of Transsexuality- a thing of wonder, a blessing . . .”

    What I notice framed within your posts is a consistent habit of fine things like this. 

    I was journalling extensively during that period of anger and isolation in the early 1980’s. When I re-read my journals some 30 years later, it wasn’t my struggle out of primal anger that stood out, but my observations that rose above that struggle. One might venture that you could feel the same way in a few years.

    Transition for me not only involves the physical and the spiritual, but also a continuing shift in how I present it and how I feel about that. Your blog has been much on my mind lately, and I’ve been thinking about writing more about my journey and less about the various fripperies I indulge myself in. About being more outspoken politically and experientially. I’ve learned over the years not to ignore impulses such as those. And I enjoy your blog. 

    That 

    . . . is a joyous photograph, by the way, and I’ve added your friend’s blog to my bookmarks. 

    Best, 
    Lily 

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    • I publish every comment. I will delete this if you like, but would rather keep it here.

      When I transitioned, the world changed from black and white to colour. I started to appreciate beauty in the world around me in a way which I had not before, nearly so intensely, though I had had my moments. Now, I feel I am dealing with the problem of my non-self-acceptance, and becoming self-accepting. I feel that after transitioning, I was still wearing a mask in the world which hurt me, and now I am taking off the mask. Nearly ten years on. And that is really scary, but it is the price of being Real, and the way to self-acceptance. I am glad you like Rose‘s blog.

      And, talking of the fine things, like the blessing of transsexuality: I could not do what I am doing now if I were not constantly seeking the positive, the blessing, as I pledged to myself to do in June. I could not face the difficulties, and therefore I would not be able to do the healing.

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