Depression manifests in me because I find my situation unbearable. Arguably it is. (That’s a bleak beginning! There is some hope towards the end.)
Judging a desire as “good” is meaningless. It can be used as a crutch: this desire is “good” therefore it is right for me; but the crutch is illusory, and it may only be “good” in my own mind. I thought, my friend should stop relying on that crutch, and then realised the lesson applied to me.
One does things out of habit, or because of rules, and there are times when I can’t find the motivation to clean my teeth- even though my mouth feels bad and would feel better if I cleaned them, even though I have worked out I clean my teeth for my own good, not because of rules or habit. Perhaps I can’t see anything will make my situation better, or my mouth hardly matters in the bigger picture. But there it is my own judgment of good, not something introjected or worked out rationally.
I have shut down my desire by judging it.
So I need to find what I desire. I thought of cycling, Sunday morning, and then I did not go. I thought, “I can do it later”. My desire is deceiving me: “later” never comes. It has to deceive me, to get round me, because I cannot accept it.
I cannot merely endure life.
Some goal or meaning might make me do things for survival, as a means to that end, but my only goal at the moment is freeing myself from internal conflicts, in the hope other goals will manifest later. We might adopt a goal which is worthwhile, but cannot demand God make us enjoy it, or take away our revulsion.
I consider my desire. It is there, and I do not know what it is. All I can say is my word of power:
I judge you from habit. I need your voice.
Carefully, I test possible words against the mute desire. Other ways of being? Loneliness??
Rajit was othered in a Quaker meeting. Someone said to him, “Your English is very good”. That’s patronising, only really a compliment to a teenager, and as I have no evidence that he was not born here, I assume he was, though I don’t know. The “compliment” makes him an outsider, rather than one of us. It is because of his skin colour. The person did not know they were doing anything wrong. That is not good enough.
I did not go cycling on Monday either. I sat outside, meditating, with a pen and paper to note ideas occurring to me.
Why would I want to go cycling? Conventional fun, the way I have introjected I am supposed to enjoy myself? Rational calculation of a need? I should exercise, after all, get my pulse up.
My introjected self hatred stops me coming into the light. My desire is possibly the most individual part of me, and I have denied it.
I must allow.
Immediately, out come the critical voices. They say, I have leapt to a conclusion too early. That is not really it.
I am barely conscious of huge inner conflict. I want: quick rational answers and a course of action. I want: not to judge myself so reflexively harshly. I want energy and motivation. I want need, desire and action to be one.
My situation provokes long term fear. There is the slow, steady pressure and the repeated threat of disaster which so far each time I have avoided. I “do not acknowledge my feelings”? Fear is hard to bear. The situation is bad. I do what I can to better it.
Tuesday morning again I think of going cycling. The day is overcast so not too hot, there is little wind, no forecast rain, these are the best conditions I will have. I still want to continue reading. It is that I do not want to be in contemplative mode, to face the ongoing fear and other feelings. I think of a question: “What is the problem with the thing you don’t want to do?” Actually it’s the new problem, the older problems are still there to an extent.
I went cycling. My cadence is improving.
Added: Just as anxiety is fear experienced for too long, so this is not sadness but
It is a heavy weight. Sorrow can come from a single event that traumatises a person, or from a burden of many sadnesses unacknowledged. It is a burden. I told my friend I would “excavate” my depression, and she said I sounded so hard-working. I deserve better than this, and I will create better than this. Both anxiety and sorrow increase my propensity for withdrawal. I will welcome my inner light, so that I no longer need to withdraw.
The last of my William Frith paintings for now: