Sunday, September 6, 2009

center/balance/whisps of ghosts trailing into the background

A funk. I'm in it. All the way out and back again.

It just creeps up on me every several months or so, and suddenly the existentiality of life just gets to be too much for a while, and the whole thing just seems so pointless. Such an utterly useless waste of precious time to be here thinking and doing and going around and around. And I know in my head that it's just a neurologic event. It's just the waxing and waning of the neurochemical tides, and there's really very little I can do about the feeling. The feeling is the feeling. It's just what happens sometimes and how things are.

It's in the thoughts and the actions that some semblance of control, of choice, exists. I can be philosophical about it.

There's a section of Infinite Jest round about page 800 or so in which Wallace talks about it. First in discussion of Kate Gompert and then about Hal. And while that section about Gompert was just about the most desolate piece of perfect writing and description of depression I've ever come across, he then talks about how Hal uses his intelligence and abstraction as a way to distance himself from his feelings, as a means to stay above the anhedonia. A kind of coping mechanism that only furthers the problem or something. I'm forgetting now exactly how his line of reasoning went, but the idea was that abstraction was essentially an unhealthy means of distancing the self from the feelings of the self.

On one level that makes a lot of sense. The anhedonia, the blah-state that every depressively minded individual knows intimately, the state that is my own personal default and the thing that I fight against a lot of the time, in that state abstraction can be a kind of way to kind of triangulate yr feeling-like state in what that state might be supposed to be. Instead of letting your feelings be your feelings, you try to construct the proper feelings. None of this is Wallace's point, he was more going for the distance problem, and I should go back and reread that section instead of trying to just recreate it from my hazy remembrances [edited to say: that was one of his points. One of his many, many really good points (or amazingly accurate {seeming} interpretations of reality)]. That whole section sort of hit me like a brick. Not since reading An Unquiet Mind was I so caught by a piece of writing as describing something that I knew intimately but never imagined someone else could describe or even understand (as DFW describes it, you just can't imagine that anyone else could know what it's like while yr up in it, even if they suffer from that same underlying neurologic issue. It's a total cipher-like self-referential thing), as I still don't even pretend to understand it for myself much of the time. In my better moments at least.

So, there's some type of abstractional connection to anhedonia, to the blah. Abstraction furthers the blah by distancing the self farther afield from the feelings, maybe. And there is truth to this. It's just that there's also this it. There's these feelings of blackness and nothing and total usurpation of meaning by meaninglessness. These feelings of painful longing for non-existence. This neurologic sadness. And in that state the best and only thing is to distance yourself from the feeling, which isn't really possible, not in the midst of it. All you can do is mediate, maybe just a touch. Crouch down behind yr shield and try to deflect the blow. That's really the best hope. Without some type of medication or like alcoholic type drinking that never ends or fully spiritual existence. That's my personal great hope; that spirituality is the possible out.

But who knows? So far, no good. So far the serotonergic/dopaminergic rollercoaster continues. Still, I don't think I could do it without abstraction. Course part of that is that abstractiveness is a large chunk of my personal life's meaning and wanting to understand is not some type of put on or meant as cocktail hour conversational fodder or anything like that. I feel a need to understand, like if I don't further this need then I'll just turn to dust and whirl away in the wind. Plus, there is no feeling that even comes close to that feeling of discovery, that moment when some little piece of the puzzle fits in place and a whole cascade of logicalities come tumbling out of that moment of unlocking, and suddenly your mind is just on fire. You can feel the electrical currents coursing through the system. You can feel the ideas in your fingertips. Or maybe that's just me (or maybe that's just mania).

And writing helps. It always makes me feel better, even when nothing much results from it. No great mystery solved, no brilliant words strung together into a chain of infinite meaning, nothing really but the equivalent of dribbling spittle out the corners of the mouth. (And really, what is Wallace's obsession with saliva or the lack thereof. I don't entirely get that.) It doesn't have to matter or mean or anything. And that's what I like about blogging. This open-endedness of possibility. Talk about the self, talk about the day, talk about yr ideas, talk about whatever the fuck you want to talk about. It's all good, and I feel better, regardless.

No comments: