the meaning and creative process of depression
by jennifer kiley
this post was prompted by a quote that Niamh Clune wrote on my post: “the art of seeing depression.” the quote is: “The melancholia of the soul and its desire to return to the beauty of the universe.” it was something Plato had described. that is what i am trying to discover, “the meaning and creative process of depression.” i am hoping what i learn from reading “BiPolar In Disorder” will guide me to an opening up inside my mind and a releasing of a clarity. it doesn’t sound easy but nothing that is worth it is. (sorry-what a cliche) but it is true. the quote from Plato caused a click in my head and possibly an insight. bear with me but i interpret the quote “the melancholia of the soul” is the deep depression which brings on a strong desire to want to leave this world. they’re symbiotic: depression & suicide. why suicide is a reaction to depression & it all seems so automatic, one follows the other almost immediately. is it a desire to want to release your soul into freedom? or is it an evil force torturing your mind & tricking it to release the soul into a hell beyond life. i vote for freedom.
but either way, it is suicide we are taling about. that cannot be the ultimate conclusion to depression. it has to exist for a more beneficial purpose. i just can’t figure it out but i want to understand it. i write some of the most intense poetry when in the thralls of depression. the words as they leave my mind and are recorded, the pressure inside of my head gradually diminishes. the energy starts to change and the release triggers a relaxation of the depressive state. when music is added in combination with the writing it becomes a more powerful state of creativity and the level of the depression is all consuming. it produces an extremely intense moment of energy and the creativity state becomes more divine and flows more freely. but the level of pain also increases in intensity. it’s visceral. it absorbs every part of you.
where lies the problem? experiencing the pain becomes an unbearable state which drives you into a state of madness that pushes you toward suicide. what are the alternatives? why suicide? how else does one relieve the pain? that’s what is needed, the answer to the question of what is the pain? where does it come from? how does one accept the pain without the consequences leading to suicidal thoughts or the act of committing or trying to commit suicide? what can take the place of suicide to satisfy the feelings of pain?
there needs to be a new way to think of pain and a way to appease its presence in your mind, body, heart and spirit. pain has always been something we want to be rid of. what is inside of pain that we are not understanding? pain is all encompassing. it doesn’t just touch your body. it infuses in your mind, heart and spirit. what, then, really is pain? that is the question. it fills the artist who then produces from her vision a perception from the depth of her soul. something profound or new may manifest itself from within her.
what are the other purposes of pain? it alerts you to something being wrong inside your body. in the state of depression then, pain is alerting you to something that is wrong inside of your being, your consicousness. pain is a warning system. something is not right with your all encompassing world. is the pain limited to your immediate being or does it streatch out globally or universally?
but let us get back to depression. the pain that is manifest in the state of depression. what warning is pain trying to communicate? it all seems to be unconscious, while writing in flow through the pain, it does seem to alleviate the pressure and release the strength of the pain. is depression the blocking out of the pain from awareness to the mind? is the thought or act of suicide a way of preventing the awareness contained within the pain?
all questions but few if any answers as of yet. “pain makes us pull away.” this is a reaction to touching something that is burning you. after taking out a metal tray of french fries from the oven, using a pot holder that i carefully placed over the edge of the tray, as i was closing in over my plate, my thumb started shotting an intense pain to my brain. my instinctual response was to react as quickly as possible to rid myself of what was causing the pain. therefore, i, technically, frisbied the tray across to the cutting board table. the tray landed on the table and the french fries literally at breakneck speed slid off the super hot tray and flew across the floor until the kitchen wall stopped them. now i was in pain and probably made a screaming sound followed by many expletives, which brought my s/o into the kitchen rather quickly to find out what had happened. i stood there and looked at all the french fries spread out on the floor and started to laugh through my pain. i asked if she felt the floor was clean enough to rescue the fries so that i would be able to eat them. (there is always the five second rule). she did manage to collect them all off of the floor and shook her head in the negative. i looked at the fries. they were rather disgusting. so i agreed. they weren’t going to go well with my cheeseburger. while i placed my thumb under cold running water, my s/o placed more fries on the now cooled off tray and baked me more fries for my dinner. while the fries cooked that is when i felt i needed more than cold water, so i placed an ice cube on my thumb, which actually stuck to it like that little boy’s tongue did to the metal pole in “the chistmas story.”
so, the moral to the story is that pain can make people laugh. it does it all the time in comedies on film or tv. what causes the transformation? the same experience in a comedy that makes one laugh is totally turned around in a drama where it might actually have the effect of making you cry. then there is the comedy that is so hilarious that it makes you laugh so hysterically that it brings tears to your eyes and then makes you both cry and laugh at the same time over the same thing. where is the switch that turns things around like that?
while i wrote down the story of the french fries, i started to laugh the more i remembered what happened. and i was the one who was in pain. what is that about? why does it make me laugh after the fact? i know something that could never possibly be funny and that is 9/11 and the world trade center towers collapsing. yet, when the emmy’s were held that year, shortly following that horrible day, ellen degeneres actually made people laugh using a joke that was indirectly related to 9/11. at 6:04 minutes into the video, that is the joke i am referring to but the whole video is quite funny. it starts out briefly with ellen saying goodnight then opens with a statement by walter cronkite. then there’s ellen. just go with it. she is as funny and brilliant as ever.
i will continue my pursuit to find the answers to what is bipolar depression and why the pain and suicidal thoughts or attempts or the completion to a successful suicide. the correlation has to have a deeper meaning. this will take time to work out. i am hopeful that i will find some answers but my mind needs time to collect research information and then to analyze it. i have one book now that will begin helping to open the doors wider and another book that i am waiting for it to become available. i am also searching online for videos on the topic of pain and depression, specifically bipolar depression. i will post more on this subject as the theories emerge from my brain or inspiration strikes me. so enjoy the video of ellen at the emmy awards doing her opening monologue. it will make you laugh but it also may bring back memories of that day of 9/11.