Over the past month, I have been working with a local writer putting together a book of odes and musings called Inside and Out. The author’s name is Terry Fisher, and the book will be self-published by the author. My job was to format the entire project and to re-write each ode. I am close to finishing my project and the author wanted me to share a piece of the project.
This ode is called “Ode to Depression” from Inside and Out
Ode to Depression by Terry Fisher
What is depression?
Is it just the inability to have fun?
Most people think they know all about it—
They think you can just will away this shit.
If I had a dollar for every time someone said to me—
“Just smile and pretend you are happy and you will be”….
My mother used to hit and shake me because she thought it was just bad attitudes.
Now she knows mental illness runs rampant in our family of psycho dudes.
I’ll tell you what it feels like— my impression—
Like I’m a great big pillow stuffed with depression.
Light as feathers so you would think there would be room for happiness.
To squish in there to squeeze out some of the sadness.
But the only room is for a hard, small, shriveled soul lost in a corner in there.
I keep wondering when the outside will catch up (down?) to the inside that doesn’t care.
With no exception, nothing gives me joy.
Not nature, not flowers, not walks— not a little girl or little boy.
My dog love is gone. I walk them, but resent the chore.
I give them treats to help make up for being owned by such a pathetic bore.
My hobbies don’t interest me— I resent it when I get orders.
Food has no taste— my body is losing it’s borders.
It used to be the pillow would make room for this cute and funny person to come in and write.
Not any more. She’s nowhere to be found. She’s lost her might.
I do everything I am supposed to do.
Exercise every day even though I’m still so blue.
The doctor said a vegan diet!
What the hell, I’m trying it.
I take a mountain of pills each day—
Morning ones. Night ones. I obey.
I’ve tried volunteering. SPCA. Meals on wheels. Holding babies whose moms are dead.
They bore me. How disgusting is that to abandon such causes? I give money instead.
I’ve done ECT— three times— it’s the best you know.
But it’s got a little glitch. That’s quite a bitch.
Lost 1996 for good. My cousin’s wedding— heard it was nice.
Apparently I was there. I remember mosquito bites.
The Olympics got bombed that year. So I hear.
TMS, ketamine, years of counseling, years of tears.
I’m just like before
But I don’t cry any more.
I get out to see my friends whenever I can—
And this is my one joy. I have one, oh man.
Having coffee with my friends— when it is just two of us, I’m there—
If more, I still find joy, but I’m usually hovering above somewhere.
I have a great life.
A retirement without strife.
Enforced— I no longer had confidence in my competence.
I managed to avoid casualties along the way of impaired senses.
A wonderful family who finally understands me—
A whole bunch of great friends— not all who can see,
I am financially secure— So—
Why don’t I glow?
I have no partner, but truly I think a partner would have value only as a distraction.
A valuable, time-consuming distraction filled with action.
I don’t know if I could drum up the participation a relationship requires.
Although I tell myself, THEN I would seek counseling to feel some desires.
Enthusiasm. Libido. Room in that sack of depression for love.
I would do anything to hold on to a good one, I pray God above.
Have to fake It probably. Oh my.
I sound like a spoiled brat, don’t I?