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Life of Meaning

Depression: The Unholy Ghost

October 19, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“If many remedies are prescribed for an illness, you may be certain that the illness has no cure.” A. P. CHEKHOV, The Cherry Orchard

Thoughts on Depression:

It is from afar that I write this post on the “unforgiving malady” of depression. Nearly one year since my last encounter Jane Kenyon’s “unholy ghost,” I find it unnerving to even consider writing on the subject. To think of it requires revisiting hapless memories stored in locked rooms of my “Memory Castle.”

Sometimes listless and apathetic, one thing is for sure: it is downright, wholly consuming. A Darkness Visible types the keys and I dance, to the dissonant chords of another depression.

Jane Kenyon scribbles a poem as she ponders, Having It Out with Melancholy

When I was born, you waited / behind a pile of linen in the nursery, / and when we were alone, you lay down / on top of me, pressing / the bile of desolation into every pore.

And from that day on / everything under the sun and moon / made me sad — even the yellow / wooden beads that slid and spun / along a spindle on my crib.

And toward the end of the poem Kenyon resolves, “Unholy ghost, you are certain to come again.”

*****

So What Now?

Whew. I’m glad that’s done. Delving so deeply into the throes of a depression, even after the fact, somehow seems to once again activate the agonizing feelings of the malady.

Let’s be clear that I am not talking about “sadness.” I fear that sadness often gets confused with depression. Sadness is more episodic in that it is usually related to a particular episode or event, whereas depression frequently seems to have no causality. That unholy ghost seems to sneak in and one is almost suddenly possessed by darkness and melancholy—for no discernable reason.

Marie Osmond has described her experiences suffering from postpartum depression in her book Behind the Smile: “I’m collapsed in a pile of shoes on my closet floor. I have no memory of what it feels like to be happy. I sit with my knees pulled up to my chest. It’s not that I want to be still. I am numb.”

I write this post for the friend who is suffering from or has suffered from depression. Rare is the person that understands the impacts of depression who has not spent entire days under the covers or feels totally disassociated from life. Like addiction, depression is only fully understood by those who have been through it.

I write because “I get it.” Know this… it will pass.

Photo courtesy of Milkos at istockphoto

Why “Talking to Yourself” is Essential

October 6, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“…because all the great people talk to themselves, of course…”
― Sarah Beth Durst, Conjured

So why is talking to yourself most frequently used to describe someone on the brink of going nuts or maybe even actually nuts, when “internal dialogue” provides such a healthy perspective on our thoughts, behaviors, and values?
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Why Tranquility Trumps Happiness

September 21, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“Seek happiness in tranquility…”
― Mary Shelley

What is it in life for which we search so diligently? So many things come to mind: meaning in life, satisfaction, careers, wealth, friendships, romantic relationships, and possessions identify just a few. I am inclined to believe that all such goals represent merely a means to satisfy an even deeper desire. Perhaps an even greater need—one that echoes from the deepest recesses of our souls.
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When Enough is Enough

September 7, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“Whatever you did today is enough. Whatever you felt today is valid. Whatever you thought today isn’t to be judged.”
― Brittany Burgunder

My friend and frequent podcast guest, Terry Hershey, often speaks of wading in to life with grace. On one show I asked him to define grace since it is fraught with such a huge field of meaning, with both religious and non-religious connotations.
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Beautiful But Not Pretty

August 25, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 2 Comments

Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.— Proverbs 14.31

So here I sit at the Troos Hotel in Kampala, Uganda in modest comfort, after 10 days in rural Uganda with the poorest of the poor located in the district of Mityana.

In comparison to the people of rural Uganda I currently sit in the lap of luxury.

The Poorest of the Poor

The folk we work with live without electricity, running water, heating, air conditioning, or transportation (although a few posses motorcycles known as “boda bodas” seating up to 4 people on one boda). Their clothes are excessively tattered and a full third have no shoes at all. And they live in homes with dirt floors and often even lack latrines and so are forced to defecate in the bush. These are the poorest of the poor.
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It’s Not Been Easy

August 10, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of those depths. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

One thing rings true in my life… it’s not always been easy.

But I am not alone, am I? In fact, philosophers and modern-day life-gurus all seem to agree that the most successful people in life have endured and overcome serious setbacks and failures.
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Whatever Became of the Virtue of Kindness?

August 3, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“Nothing can make our life, or the lives of other people, more beautiful than perpetual kindness.” Leo Tolstoy

Like so many character traits that were highly valued even 50 years ago, the virtue of kindness seems to have plunged along with so many other character traits that separate humans from all other species. Traits like humility, generosity, integrity, and honesty have held the civilized world together and if they disappear where are we?
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Your Greatest Freedom: Choice

July 13, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 2 Comments

“The only thing they can’t take away from me is my freedom to make choices.” Elie Wiesel

Stuck! How often do you feel stuck by your situation in life? You know, the times it feels like some controlling influence may be stuffing you into a box, convinced that is where you belong, whether you approve or not. And then how often are you your own worst enemy allowing fear of change to influence your decision to stay put in an unpleasant, disrupting or even dangerous position?
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What’s the Purpose of Having a Purpose?

July 6, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“A noble purpose inspires sacrifice, stimulates innovation and encourages perseverance.” Gary Hamel

Oh, how much time I have consumed pondering the purpose of my life! It seems I am not the only one given the, probably, multi-thousands of books written on the subject.
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