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I don’t know if there is a word to define this emotion, but I wish there was. Ecstasy? Excitement? No. It is much more than that. That feeling that dominates the whole body when that music plays, the one that transports me to another dimension. When I watch that series and at the end of it, I feel like a part of me ends up with it. When I fully deliver myself to the story of a film and feel that I would like to live there, at that very moment, with these characters. When I close the last page of a book and I cry, because I already miss that world, because I don’t know what happens next. When I feel the breeze from a rainy day, the cold air through the nostrils, feeling the liveliness. When I contemplate the black sky, clouds carried in stormy days. When I enjoy the heat on cold days, the first rays of morning touching the skin. When I write and feel my heart expanding with all the unexplored possibilities. When I stop in the middle of an event and think about how much I’ll miss it in the future. When I feel like the possibilities of life transcend human life. Infinitude. However, I still cannot name this emotion. Happiness? Euphoria? No. It is much more than that.

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Truth is, we keep saying we want to die, but we don’t

We don’t want to die

We don’t want the air in our lungs to become thinner second by second

We just don’t want the guilt of feeling it there

We want to live and stop surviving

We want to breathe without feeling worthless

We want to be happy without any consequences

We just want the huge amount of emptiness and sadness to go. Thats all

We don’t want to die

We want to live

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[sometimes I don’t know if I’m having a feeling]

Sometimes I don’t know if I’m having a feeling
so I check my phone or squint at the window
with a serious look, like someone in a movie
or a mother thinking about how time passes.
Sometimes I’m not sure how to feel so I think
about a lot of things until I get an allergy attack.
I take my antihistamine with beer, thank you very much,
sleep like a cut under a band aid, wake up
on the stairs having missed the entire party.
It was a real blast, I can tell, for all the vases
are broken, the flowers twisted into crowns
for the young, drunk, and beautiful. I put one on
and salute the moon, the lone face over me
shining through the grates on the front door window.
You have seen me like this before, such a strange
version of the person you thought you knew.
Guess what, I’m strange to us both. It’s like
I’m not even me sometimes. Who am I? A question
for the Lord only to decide as She looks over
my résumé. Everything is different sometimes.
Sometimes there is no hand on my shoulder
but my room, my apartment, my body are containers
and I am thusly contained. How easy to forget
the obvious. The walls, blankets, sunlight, your love. 

Matthew Siegel

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Kindness is Weakness

My heart does not know hatred

Although sometimes I wish it did.

My kindness is a fault

And my mind becomes a cage

Entrapping bitterness.

Flooding my entire body

With poisoned blood.

My mouth does not know cruelty,

But if only I could tell them

That I Am Not Made 

For You To 

Step On.

Anger grows within me,

But even as my body and soul decay,

I keep the putrid words from spilling

From my lips.

I do not want to be kind.

I want to spit on those who

Disrespect me,

But my fiery thoughts 

Are quickly extinguished by 

My sickly sweet conscience.

My heart does not know malice,

But I’ll be damned 

If I let them hold my head below 

The waves for any longer.

Altruism is the death of me

But perhaps I’ll have to die

With this blaze inside my chest,

And a smile upon my face.

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I had a good session with my analyst today. It was sad and painful, but good. One thing we talked about is how I tend to conceptualise my pain in a way that separates me from it. I try to repackage it as art, jokes, or literary and theoretical references. Sometimes this is helpful, but more often than not it’s a way to avoid feeling things. It’s a bit like reverse dream work. The whole point of unpacking the dream is to get at the raw feelings underneath, but I’m doing the opposite. 

Today I literally interrupted a crying jag to tell my analyst how I was feeling by quoting from The Interpretation of Dreams:   “Father, don’t you see I’m burning?” When I shift into this conceptual frame of mind the emotional affect recedes very quickly.  It’s like my mind is trying to interrupt or short-circuit the emotional processes because they are felt to be overwhelming and undesirable.

I started to write a blog post about today’s session when I was reminded of this unfinished post that has been sitting in my drafts for ages: 

I don’t want to tell anyone else how to do depression. It’s bad enough being depressed without being told you’re doing it wrong. But I have to say I’m a big fan of sublimation. If I’m going to post stuff about depression I generally want it to be funny or deep or beautiful.

A lot of blogs I see posting content about depression are what I reflexively call “angst”. I mean, I get it. When I went through my first major depressive episode (if you don’t count my whole childhood) I spent a lot of time journaling and writing poetry. I produced a lot of angst material. And let’s be honest, it was somewhat cathartic, but no one is ever going to read that stuff except me and even I don’t want to. 

I still stand by it, in a way. If you’re posting things online and you want other people to read it then you need to make it something that speaks to other people (If you’re not writing for anyone but yourself then I guess it doesn’t matter). But maybe I need to learn to stop doing this all the time so that I can start getting in touch with the raw feelings underneath.

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