4.16.2009




Sometimes life is easy, but your brain makes it hard. I'm always at a crossroads about what to share regarding my "battle with depression." (I kind of hate that term anyway. It's more like a long, drawn-out argument, with a little bit of yelling and a lot of whining, than an all-out battle.)

If I go on about my sad, sad feelings and my deep, dark days at length, that's no fun for anyone. Alternately, it's not something I feel I need to keep a secret. The last few months have not been super easy for me, as I find myself getting sucked down into a totally unpleasant and familiar pattern of living that has nothing to do with the real me, who, incidentally, is fun, hilarious, and has a whole lot of energy to make/do fun things.

Another fun and hilarious depressed person, Hugh Laurie, knew he needed some help when he found himself feeling bored while driving a racecar in in a charity demolition derby. Boredom," he said, "is not an appropriate response to exploding cars." I love this quote because it sounds absurd, but pretty much encapsulates the total WTF that is clinical depression.

Not only am I genetically predisposed to this lametarded condition from both sides of my family, I recently found a study that posits that female poets may be especially susceptible to depression.

In a more recent retrospective study of 1,629 writers, Kaufman found that poets--and in particular female poets --were more likely than fiction writers, nonfiction writers and playwrights to have signs of mental illness, such as suicide attempts or psychiatric hospitalizations.
In a second analysis of 520 eminent American women, he again found that poets were more likely to have mental illnesses and to experience personal tragedy than eminent journalists, visual artists, politicians and actresses--a finding Kaufman has dubbed "the Sylvia Plath effect" after the noted poet who had depression and eventually committed suicide.
Seriously? Come on, man! Why not baseball players, or hot dog vendors? This just doesn't seem fair. At least I bill myself as at least 5 other things besides "poet". But, even though the cards are clearly stacked against me, I'm working hard on getting out this this particular bout of the old sads. I'll let you know how it goes.

If you want to read more about the "Sylvia Plath effect," just Google it and you'll find a lot of interesting discussion about creativity and mental illness.

Meanwhile, I'm giving back my MFA in poetry. Well, I'll stop paying my student loans, at least. I think that might be the beginning of a healthy healing process. Yeah, that's the ticket.

5 comments:

Jen said...

:)

derek said...

Well, I hope this bout passes soon. I'm always thinking about you. Have you talked to Lauren?

nana k. said...

i feel you, p-funk. and you are fun and hilarious and you won't succumb to the sylvia plath effect.

laura said...

hi polly. i love this entry. you are WONDERFUL and i miss you. let's hang out soon. xo.

Anita said...

yep me too :) just keep focused on creating more... http://www.flickr.com/photos/blackbeltjones/3365682994/