August, Depression, and Homecoming: Part 1

07Sep09

The last many months have swelled by, demanding a return to the MergeYoga-sphere with a blog in three parts.

So here we are friends, and here we go:

This Spring we toured and wrote for a new Ellery record; in the Summer we recorded it.  The month of August was then a strange gestation period: The recovery from long studio days and their accompanying emotional turmoil; the business talks with music industry personnel, the exploration of ‘alone-time’ after many weeks of couple-dom and strangers; and wrestling with a lengthened and deepened Depression.

In mid-August, Ragweed rears its beastly head throughout the Midwest – and for those who are severely allergic, depression is a common symptom. (Thanks, nature.)  This is of course truly ill-timed, because in addition to the severe ragweed allergy, it’s been for us, as for many others, a difficult year.

Perhaps more accurately, it’s been a difficult many years… So that as more and more emotional crises piled atop one another this year, my weakened spirit took one too many tumbles.  By the Spring, life was feeling like a swirl of fog and storm and unbearable Uncertainty.

Unfortunately, making a record is no place for recovery from such a feeling.  It does, blessedly, give the tumbled spirit a place to call out and make itself heard.  But the calling out – along with the pressures and anxieties of working with a Grammy-winning producer on a project that’s supposed to “launch one’s career” – serves mostly to intensify the sense of swirl and storm.

I have no regrets about this.  In fact, in my best moments, I’m grateful to it, and grateful even to the month of August and its weighty, whirling ache.  If nothing else, I’m paying attention now:

Hello, pain.  Hello, Loss.  Hello, mortality and the groan of Change.

Hello, body – worn and fragile.  Hello, Lover – vulnerable and patient.

Hello, anger.  Hello, despair.  Hello, Longing: I hear you now.

Wresting myself from the tempting siren of Sleep (often the Depressive’s escape of choice), I began asking what path to choose at this point: What path of healing, spirituality, discipline, therapy, exercise… What path of livelihood, music, wages, validity.  Most of this is a jumble to me; a disappointing mess of defeated experiences and leveled dreams.

“When we thought we lost the Way,” I wrote in April, “It woke us shaking, convulsing, sweating from our sleep.  Leaves one hesitant to walk it–“

Indeed.

So I’m not writing today because I’ve come up with any answers.  The closest I’ve come to an answer is waking up one August day with a vague, barely noticeable sense of determination:

“I am depressed,” I said.

Then, “I have Depression,” I offered alternatively, granting to no one but me the more politically correct version.

And then, “So.  What now?”

The answers that once worked for me have mainly served to create out of me a reluctant cynic.  What I’m left with is experience: the sense of expansion and possibility I’ve seen, if only briefly and irregularly, in poetry, melody, laughter, family, story, song, and yoga.

–Continuing–

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