Man, I had a seriously emotional day yesterday.
The last two days, I've had crying spells. They come, often, with these mild depressions. Crying and acne. Tells me there's a chemical thing going on, cause I haven't had acne since menopause hit, and there are zits on my chin and jaw. It's the hormonal wackiness that brings me the blues.
Interestingly, with the deep clinical depressions I've had, the suicidal ideation or "life is not worth living at all" ones, it's more a sort of mini-death of apathy and lying around and stuffing with food and books for sensation and escape, with spurts of outbursts of tears, but mostly silence.
With milder depressions, it's more ongoing low-level weepyness and thoughts of low-self worth, but I want to talk about it. To self. To God. To Hubby. Not silent like deep depressions.
It's not something I like to talk about, this weakness of mine. I hid this from friends and family for decades as best I could, because who wants to be downer? Who wants to show this pathetic side?
Well, here it is. The self-absorption of depressives is a non-pretty thing.
Depression--mild, middling, or deep-- makes us lose perspective.
When I'm depressed, I read. I read to escape. Have since childhood. To get away from body, feelings, and go somewhere else.
Yesterday, I read one of the Nebula Award nominated stories--"The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary" by Ken Liu.
The awards were announced last weekend. I'd been meaning to read the nominees since I saw the list, but, well, you know, it got put off. At first, I was taken by the physics premise --I had seen a program with an astrophysicist who discussed this particular quantum phenomenon, and I thought it would make a great premise for a story and had been pondering it myself.
But then the main part of the story took me to a very painful place.
The story takes as inspiration some really awful things that happened in China during its war with the Japanese in the 1930s. And it also takes some points from the work/life/death of Iris Chang, who wrote about the Rape of Nanking (yet another horror from that time). Do not read this story if you don't have a tolerance of sorts for the truth about what humans do.
Or maybe read it and let yourself be shredded a bit. It might be therapeutic.
I'm one of those people who took YEARS before I could watch SCHINDLER'S LIST, and then was sick for a week after, crying and having bad dreams. I remember the first time I saw a drama about the holocaust (it was on TV in the 70s and had Meryl Streep and James Woods in it, though I forget the exact name). I went and puked and had to stop watching. When I saw NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA as a 12 or 13 year old, I went home, fell on the floor, and just bawled. And for 2 weeks after, whenever I thought about the execution scene, I'd start bawling again.
When I read stories of child abuse or horrors in the paper, I start weeping. I sometimes can't get it out of my head for weeks. There's one man I still pray for, years later, who had been imprisoned falsely. I keep praying his life now is happy and makes up for it. When I first read about Darfur (long before the Hollywood elite got wind of it, cause charitable channels and Christian agencies were alerting folks about it), I gave, then gave again, because how could you not? When you read about famines, don't you want to send food? When you read about a disaster, don't you want to help send aid?
And when you read about atrocities, you are ashamed to be a human who whines about petty issues.
So, that's the context. I get really upset at the stuff we humans do that seems unbelievable...unthinkable.
Part of why when I was younger and before my health crashed major time, I volunteered a lot. Sometimes, it overwhelms you and you want to add some good to the stew that's this world.
Okay, so I'm mildly depressed and I read a story about the sorts of things we do to each other that will make the strongest man bawl.
I bawled. For hours. I prayed, for hours. I begged God to make us stop doing that. To not let us do it again.
I know, a naive prayer.
If you never heard of Unit 731--and I had prior to this, which hurts me even more as I'm a Japanophile--you should read it. If you never heard of the Rape of Nanking, you should inform yourself. But have a strong stomach.
Just like we should know about the Cambodian killing fields, the Holocaust, the Rwandan civil war, our own history with the natives, with Africans, with (add your own category of huge oppression). We should know it, because we have to want to NOT repeat it. And it starts with each of us. Whether it's the German Nazis, Japanese Imperialists, slave traders, Stalinists, Mao's cultural revolution, North Korea's dictators--humans are prone to become twisted in some shocking ways. You and I.
That Japanese soldier at Nanking could be...my brother, your son, your or my husband. We're made of the same thing. It's awful to contemplate that WE are capable of THAT. Me.
And it's a corrective to perspective.
When we get all worked up over what we ate or didn't exercise or the scale is up one or five pounds, it tends to look amazingly stupid in the face of REAL problems.
Allan used to do this time and again during his diet posting. Link to a mother with a sick child or a woman with a dire illness. Perspective.
Hard as it may be for some of us, dieting and exercise, it's paltry thing, a minor inconvenience, in the face of what goes on every day in the world.
Put it in perspective. Let's not whine too much about it. We do it, or we don't do it. and in the end, we can lose the proper viewpoint. Let's be healthful and live good live, because some folks can't. Let's eat properly, because some can't. Let's honor our bodies, because very easily, with a twist of fate, we could be having our bodies' honor ripped from us by men turned to beasts.
You think the folks at the World Trade Center, facing a decision to jump or die in flames, worried about being overweight? No. They wanted to be with the people they loved, living normal lives. They'd want peace.
This is a downer of a post. But read the story. Remember. Say a prayer for peace. And put the diet and exercise and scale and food thing into perspective. We are able to overcome--food and sloth and self-hate and self-destruction--and we are able to overcome the base part o fus that makes things like what are depicted in that story-based-on-truth possible. We have the ability to be BETTER. To not look down on each other, hate each other, laugh and ridicule each other, dehumanize each other. Not for being fat, or for being different in all sorts of ways.
Every blog that spews hate on dieters or anyone adds to the beast that results in killing fields. It starts small and grows big. Small words of disdain become large propaganda schemes that end up piling people into camps.
Dehumanization does this. When you stop seeing your neighbor as yourself..as the same as you. As worthy as you of respect and sympathy.
Let's not dehumanize, even in this small, minor thing that is dieting, so small in the grand scheme. Even in this, let's show mercy and love.
I read about The Transfiguration last night in two Bibles and in my devotion. That's what I want. To shine. To be the better me. We have glory inside us and glory ahead of us, if we choose it. I gotta go find my joy again, and I thank the story for slapping me with truth and perspective. I must grasp and be grateful for my life; I owe it to the ones who had theirs stolen.
Now, go be kind to someone, including yourself. Spread the good. There's never enough good.