Feeling low down. This is how it works. I get pumped up full of pride at everything I’ve accomplished in life, which is only an average amount of accomplishments, but I am prideful of things that aren’t even especially that good. I begin to see every single moment of life as somehow being exceptional, and so I become delirious on my own misplaced sense of greatness. Then, inevitably, I enter one of these phases where I can’t seem to bring myself to believe that I have done one single good thing in this life. It’s patently ridiculous, of course. Both are inordinate views of reality, and reality actually winds up being mostly boring in all the ways I want it to be special, but it has so many interesting moments awaiting the individual who would cease to search for the sensational behind every single corner.
I’m feeling low down because the potential jobs I was going to do have not panned out. I am here, for better or for worse. I am not supporting my family right now, so it feels awkward at this point. I’ve been shown time and again that I am not the smartest person in my class, that everyone is pretty much as smart as I am, and that I am a team member, not a rock star.
Feeling low down because I think it’s just a natural chemical process that takes place inside of me. I go through these cycles. I am old enough now that I don’t mind saying that. I don’t have some macho bullshit thing to prove to anyone. At any rate, they don’t feel like monthly cycles, anyway. They feel more like weekly sine waves of cresting and falling, up and down. My job is to keep the upper and lower most moments from being too visible to loved ones. The upper moments seem too manic and crazy and the lower moments defy explanation–I lash out at whatever might be the most probably cause of my depression that week, but I know that there really is nothing and no one causing it. It is just there.
In spite of knowing that, I still feel like I have to write about feeling low down with a “because” after it. As if feeling low down without a reason is just being plain selfish. Sometimes a rhodiola, coffee, shower and nap will pop me out of it. Sometimes that just makes me feel queasy. Feeling low down without a reason means that you get people telling you you’re a spoiled brat if you share your depression. You are so privileged. Look at you, what do you have to worry or be sad about? You’re white, male, middle class, American, living in a time where you aren’t required to fight in a war, and now too old to even be accepted into the military. You can pretty much do and say as you please as long as you don’t get too out of hand. No cop is going to persecute you the way they do black people. No one is going to say that you aren’t good enough or question why you decide to do this or that with your career. No one is commenting on your looks, beyond a few stray marks about your prematurely gray hair, and even then, it’s minimal.
So, why are you so low down?
That’s the problem. And then, it makes me even more low down, knowing that I don’t really deserve to be low down, that I should be happy and grateful and cheer up and go do something.
Maybe it’s just low blood sugar. I go and have some ice cream and cookies, and I feel a little better. Maybe it’s a sense of reaching the end of my ability to extract meaning from life in the fashion that I have been attempting to do it. There are no paths toward points that converge on the horizon. There are no peaks to reach. The world abides, the universe of Self and Mind and Love abides. I do, too, for a time, and then I don’t.
The joys of seeing my little son run into the room and then leave. The love for my old, crabby dog. There’s nothing here that is profound for others, but it is the most profound stuff life can bring me.
There had long been this sense that within the flux of the daily news there would eventually be a place in this world where I could insert myself so that I too would be caught up in the flux. Not necessarily that my name would appear in a daily news feed, but that something I was part of would be there–that I would be contributing to building whatever the better parts of humanity are.
But, lately, I’ve started to get hints again of something much bigger than what appears in the news. There is a world beyond this world that persists and abides and moves with this one. They are not independent of each other, but the things of this world that we all know and fear and love best may not matter nearly as much as we want to believe they do.