Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I just read something.

"It never occurred to me that I can examine the past and accept that my childhood was not normal without being vindictive or resentful toward my Mom and Dad. They screwed up a lot; so do I. It doesn't make me love them any less fiercely than I do and it doesn't make me think for one second that they were bad parents."

I wouldn't say that my parents screwed up a lot, but SOMETHING SOMEWHERE caused this constant, unrelenting depression that NOTHING has been able to relieve.

Maybe life can be a happy experience?

22 deeply creased, dogeared comment(s):

Anonymous said...

Bob, I keep trying to leave a good comment here, because you deserve one, but it's not coming out right and I'm getting nagged by a boy and a dog to get outside already!

I think my parents tried to do a decent job, but it's not easy. I can look at myself and my siblings and see where we were and still are affected by our upbringing. Or rather, how our upbringing formed our perspective on life.

Even today, feeling good and having had several good days in a row, I got choked up at the thought of how LONG life is. The thought that I will most likely have another 40 years to make it through. I suggest to myself that I have to cherish the little things that do make me happy, and actively focus on finding those things.

Mamalujo said...

My Dad would have argued that it's all chemical, and I would have disagreed. I don't think anybody will ever figure it out; we're just too damn complicated. I will say that reading your blog, for me, puts the lie to your claim that you're saddled with a constant, unrelenting depression. I read your stuff and feel better. Maybe that helps some?

For me, 15mg of Paxil hasn't been a bad thing.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it doesn't matter whether or not life is a happy experience. Maybe that is a meaningless concept, and meaningless concepts can drive you unhappy. Actually, we don't live life all at once. That is why the advice about enjoying the little things is useful--enjoying the moment, or if even that is too much, too big a concept, enjoying the elements of the moment. Enjoy the chunks, the bits and pieces, of life.
And there is some connection between happiness and the idea of "flow"--being totally absorbed in what you are doing--and when I have figured out that particular Secret of the Universe, I will share it with you.
But don't hold your breath.

liv said...


i dunno, my friend. i do think that perhaps a low dose SSRI should be added to tap water for the betterment of humanity.

Anonymous said...

wow - I just read something myself.

on the cover of the local afternoon paper is an article by Lindsey Tanner of the AP, discussing a stress-related gene that has been identified by a study of PTSD.

...the results suggest that there are critical periods in chldhood when the brain is vulnerable "to outside influences that can shape the developing stress-response system."

Not suggesting you have PTSD, but maybe genetics is the SOMETHING SOMEWHERE...

Bob said...

De - the question is - is there any way to be generally happy instead of savoring the few moments of it here and there?

mamlujo - my dad is, I think, the opposite: just get over it and get on with life. Thanks for the observation, that tells me that I'm not oozing it at every expression.

Pat - the trick is, even with experiencing the moment, is making it a happy moment. You'll make a mint if you can figure it out!

Liv - thank you sweatheart, you give excellent hugs. I've done the SSRI thing - it didn't help.

De - maybe all of us who had troubled years growing up have our own version of PTSD. It being genetic - well that might explain its origin but does that make it any easier to conquer?

meno said...

I am wondering which would be worse, if NOTHING NOWHERE or SOMETHING SOMEWHERE caused it.

I just don't know.

Bob said...

meno - I think you're pulling my leg.

jen said...

and with that, you've just given yourself permission.

happy exploring.

Jenny, the Bloggess said...

Amen. I read the same thing on B,I and DP and had the same sort of epiphany.

There should be a special club for us. F-ed up with no great reason to be. Very freeing.

Susanne said...

Yes, life can be a happy experience. Says she who has been depressed since August at least.

I actually would find it a bit easier if I could really be angry at my parents. They screw up a lot but that doesn't have much to do with me. They are screwing up their own lives.

But still I will remain an optimist.

Bob said...

jen - it has to start somewhere, doesn't it?

jenny - I was floored. I think it will be a BIG club.

Susanne - I think that your optimistic viewpoint will help you overcome this. I wish I had one.

Anonymous said...

I define "general happiness" as equanimity. I visualize achieving it by broadening the definition of happiness, banishing expectations and being open to finding it anywhere.

For example, today i was at the humane society, and after all the dogs had been walked (in the pouring rain - I kept expecting to fall flat on my a$$ in mud, or worse), I went into the cat room. I finished out the hour brushing a long-haired black cat named J.J. He liked it, which meant to me that he'd been brushed regularly in his previous life. That made me sad, thinking that before, someone loved him, and now, here he was... But then I realized that while J.J. doesn't have a private home with a doting family, he does have a cozy place with healthy food and LOTS of people who come in to play with him, pet him, and brush him, all day long. It was just my narrow view of what his life should be that made me feel sad.

Maggie said...

Well I can't really have much to add after all those brilliant comments. But I understand the depression and the fight to be happy. I sure wish I could figure out that enjoying the moments thing too. My problem is, I don't want to be in the moment in the first place, I'd rather be deep in the recesses of my mind exploring god knows what is lurking in there, but no time for it. Mastering the here and now is a long slow process for me. Hang in there Bob, we have our spot on this planet and we'll find a way to stand in that spot and yelp a happy freedom somehow.

Bob said...

De - count my blessings?

Maggie - I tend to overanalyze things too.

Scott from Oregon said...

Emotional disturbances cause chemical "imprints", the same way some memories do.

Not to be harsh, but if you've had the same chemical make-up for what seems like forever, you have that chemical make-up.

Exercise and healthy foods are the best way to fight and change the chemical composition in one's body.

Or beer.

Bob said...

Scott - The question is, can I change that chemical make-up so that I can feel happy? I don't want to spend the rest of my life with this outlook.

As for exercise and diet - I agree with you, my habits in those areas are appalling and need to be changed. I have been talking with my wife about this. Maybe it's time to do more than talk.

Scott from Oregon said...

Well, "outlook" is intellectual, while "feeling crappy" is often chemical.

Being fitter and eating healthier is the only real solution to the feeling crappy one.

The intellectual one is, I think, far easier.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I'm working on this one, too, and have no helpful words of comfort although I would like to.

I think we can generally accept that parents do not intentionally screw up but since they are also dealing with their own damage, they often do.

And we deserve better, but so did they. We should never question that we have the right to look for answers, but forgiveness is more healing than keeping the pain alive with anger.

Bob said...

Scott - There are very real cases where all of the exercise and fresh air in the world cannot help. I do not claim that I am in that group, but there are people out there who need the help that mental health professionals and their medicines provide. My wife was one.

Hearts - I would agree most parents are doing their dead level best and it does no good to assign blame. But - the first step to forgiveness is the realization that it is needed.

Daisy said...

My friend once claimed that so many women take birth control and pee out excess hormones that our water supply is filled with hormones, possibly affecting fertility rates, explaining why so many young girls have huge breasts, possibly explaining why so many people feel a bit "off" these days.

I often wonder if the colonial types had time to worry, what with the crops, the wash, the pig on the loose, the explosion down at the mill, the house to build, the horse that's sick, etc.

The way we're going, those times will be on us again... no time for navel gazing.

Bob said...

daisy - I could work 100 hours a week and still be depressed. I just wouldn't have time to bitch about it here, I guess.