Monday, February 13, 2006
Work, not work, work
Today was supposed to be my first day back to work. I'm going back to UCLA and I'm really excited about it. Really. However, today I am not going back to work. No drama, no story, just a delay in bureaucracy so maybe tomorrow. Maybe not.

In other, far more interesting news, I have just finished "The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression" by Andrew Solomon and I have a lot to say about it - and, in the end, it does have to do with going back to work.

I have never read a more accurate or more poetic account of depression than "The Noonday Demon". Nothing about depression is poetic in itself and yet, Solomon has, like Styron, made the experience of major depression not glamourous (because it is not in any way) but real. Almost accessible to those outside.

Honestly, I'm not entirely sure how I would have interpreted this book had I not been through it, but I can imagine and hope that it reaches out to those who have not experienced depression firsthand.

In depression, especially when you don't know that you are in the throes of it, you cannot communicate what you are feeling. At least I couldn't. I could not communicate during my aforementioned "year in bed" the insignificance I felt, the flatness, the physical pain coming from nowhere. I could not wrap my mind around any feeling. There was a great absence of anything good, anything bad. I did not know why I could not return phone calls, only that I could not. Not "would not" rather, could not.

The pressure to keep up appearances was utterly exhausting. I would go out for a few hours at a time to a Stitch n' Bitch (my lifeline) or a meeting of travel agents (for work) and I would come home and lay in bed, as though I had just run a marathon without benefit of endorphins or the side effect of health that exercise brings.

I feel like everyone who has ever known anyone with depression should read at least the first two chapters of this book (Depression and Breakdowns) if not the entire 443 pages of it. Andrew Solomon is a great writer and tells an incredibly compelling story about his own and others depression, the history, politics, evolution and treatments. He writes poetically about something that is so incredibly stigmatized. I even imagine, perhaps incorrectly, but I imagine that some people reading this are asking, "why?" Why does she keep talking about depression, why does she want anyone to know?

Back then, I could not have conceived of getting up in the morning and going to work. Truly, today, I am looking forward to it. I look forward to the intellectual challenge! I look forward to seeing coworkers every day. I look forward to adding to my growing pension! I look forward, even, to the commute....shocking! I know!

By the way, Michael made me go to a therapist. If he hadn't, perhaps I'd still be in bed. So, when I return your calls, you can thank him.

Now I am going to go take a shower (which used to seem like a nearly impossible task), go to the post office and then get a mani/pedi provided to me as a 6th anniversary/back to work gift from my lovely and thoughtful husband. Now if I only didn't have those body image issues.....

Tomorrow (seriously!), more on my new job!

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3 Comments:

Anonymous shannita said...

Congrats on the new gig! So happy for you and glad you're feeling good! I have a good friend in the throes of a major depression. So... I plan on reading this book. Maybe I can learn more about how to help her through it or at the very least have a better understanding of what she's going through. Thanks for your post. Oh, and if anyone else asks why you talk about depression, tell them it helps people who are going thru it or know someone who is.

Blogger Ellen Bloom said...

Faith Doll!
So glad you decided to blog again! I've been missing your pithy comments on life. Keep up the good work!
I'm just back from Stitches West....amazing! Will blog about it soon.
Hugs!
L.A. Ell

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