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Tuesday, 2 December 2003


Pretentious Blog
v. tr.
To rid of impurities; cleanse.
To rid of foreign or objectionable elements.
To free from sin, guilt, or other defilement.
v. intr.
To become clean or pure.

I was studying an Indian poem today, and began to think about guilt and redemption. Our modern assumption is that life is meant to be happy, conscience-free, fun.
The older attitude differs: trouble is good for the soul.
Began to wonder: if you suffer for the sins of a previous life, how does that suffering assist you in this one?

To absolve, atone, chasten, clarify, cleanse, decontaminate, disinfect, exculpate, exonerate, expiate, purge, redeem, refine, sanctify, sanitise, shrive, sublimate, wash.

Some cultures purify with a flame. We do still sterilise a needle in fire today. Others purge the soul of impurities and infection through medicine. Superstitions are culturally learned, but no less fruitful in redeeming your sense of worth - you can cauterise your woes with alcohol or drugs, or with socialising, with words. The modern world tends to medicate every psychological problem. You can't sleep, take a pill; you can't laugh, take a pill. Laugh too much? A pill will repress the urge. It's a solution, I suppose. Older rituals use religion to purify. Religion gives us routine, reassurance; it implies forgiveness. All the same functions of a psychiatrist, with none of the indignity or fees. I read somewhere recently some zen saying that depression is the process your mind uses to prepare itself for change.

So, we sacrifice, we scarify (see Creepy Lesbo's regular scarification rituals for more intense details), we offer ourselves up for examination. We hope that what we do will help us to change.

Ordinary Blog
I've been using sleep and drugs and music to purify myself of what's been happening lately. 'Drugs' is a misnomer, I've been avoiding them in order to change, by refusing alcohol. It only took two weeks not to want it any night but Saturday, so that was both easier and harder than I expected. When Wickedex came over on Sunday, I think I surprised her with the sleeping. I sleep almost all the time. If I go to bed late, I stay in bed the whole next day. While she was here, I was visibly losing conscious ability to speak, and at one point had to go and lie still for thirty minutes. Yesterday I got home at seven o'clock, and went straight to bed for twelve hours to make up for having had to get back out of bed at all the day before.
Must have made an impression - she cleared up the kitchen for me while she waited. I hope she saw how much life still in the flat we shared so is not fun.
I dunno what the reason for the sleep is - I hope, after a month of 2-3 hours sleep nightly, that it's purifying.
Then there's music. Driving Wickedex through shitty streets, looking for shitty ex-council flats to buy once this one is sold, she asked why I was playing Norah Jones on the CD player. Surprised that I liked it. Hadn't heard me listen to that CD before.
I don't like it. When I was depressed, I used to listen to the same pieces of music, over and over and over again, hoping repetition would numb the emotions they instigated. Like pressing against a sore tooth with your tongue, or picking at a scab. Each relationship I had has a piece of music (or ten) that seems to encapsulate the 'mourning' period - music I listened to obsessively, even though it made me cry too much. All night if necessary.
Now I sleep, and I'm not in that depression any more; I can see that This Is a Stupid Thing to Do.
Now, I listen only to music I don't like. I'm sick of having my favourite music ruined by bad memories. Of having pieces I can only listen to if I'm not feeling down. It doesn't purify the sentiment - it contaminates the medicine and spoils the source.
I can listen to Norah bloody Jones droning out her toneless sub-cowboy rich bratty drivel for hours and hours and hours. When I don't feel bad any longer, when the memories subside, I won't have a single regret about smashing and melting down that fucking CD.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 9:32 PM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 2 December 2003 10:14 PM GMT
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Tuesday, 2 December 2003 - 10:57 PM GMT

Name: Belle
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I hate having good music ruined by bad memories, too, but listening to music you don't like to combat this? I tried to imagine myself listening to say, Britney Spears, but I'd rather you smash and melt ME down.

Wednesday, 3 December 2003 - 12:21 AM GMT

Name: Vanessa

But then Britney can have (and keep) all the bile.

Wednesday, 3 December 2003 - 2:27 AM GMT

Name: muscle68
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I really enjoyed reading that.

And felt what you were saying. Thanks.

Wednesday, 3 December 2003 - 2:59 AM GMT

Name: paul
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So... you still don't want wickedex back, do you? The sleeping can be a sign of depression. That's all I wanted to do when I was depressed. In between drinking. And my urges to fight.

Wednesday, 3 December 2003 - 5:07 AM GMT

Name: Lux

Our culture not only devalues suffering... it blames the sufferer. The power of positive thinking and all that crap... if you're not happy, it must be because you're not trying hard enough or you have a bad attitude or you're doing something wrong. It's hard to find compassion in a world that refuses to believe that you can do everything right, be a good person, and still suffer. I think a lot of people's depression is made worse by others' refusal to allow the sufferer space to be depressed.

My last two breakup albums were Jack Johnson's Brushfire Fairytales and Sarah McLachlan's Surfacing. Very therapeutic at the time, but I can't listen to them anymore.

Wednesday, 3 December 2003 - 12:31 PM GMT

Name: tess
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I agree with Paul - it's good that you aren't feeling as depressed as you were, but I htink you need to consider the possibility that you may still be depressed. Course, I could be talking shlte and you may just be a lazy cow, just like me, in which case that's ok :-)

Wednesday, 3 December 2003 - 2:34 PM GMT

Name: NC

Aha, why did you buy the CD in the first instance? To waste money on CD's you DON'T like:-)

Wednesday, 3 December 2003 - 2:47 PM GMT

Name: Pan
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Here's what the nsf has to say on the subject :-

"Don?t some people with depression sleep too much?
Oversleeping is less common in cases of depression?it occurs in about 15% of patients with depression, mostly among younger adults, particularly those with bipolar affective disorder (manic depression). Excessive sleepiness can be a symptom of depression, but most patients with depression have insomnia."

Actually I found that when suffering from mild depression it was easier to just spend time asleep rather than have to get up and think about issues that I'd rather not. The more you sleep, the more you want to I have generally found.

This is a good general article about depression here

The fda is actually a pretty useful site - they have tons of interesting stuff on all kinds of topics. It is a little staid sometimes tho ;-)

Wednesday, 3 December 2003 - 3:34 PM GMT

Name: Celainn
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Well, far be it from me to be the voice at odds here but...oh hell, I'm gonna disagree anyway. Yes, favorite songs are ruined by bad memories. For years and years. But if you can give it a good 10 to 15 years and you then go and listen again, there's an amazingly deep audio commentary on your life as it was at that point. It's pretty neat, after the fact. Way, WAY after the fact.

Wednesday, 3 December 2003 - 4:49 PM GMT

Name: Kat
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I would sleep through difficulties myself if I could. I have to work full-time and have a family that demands care and attention (how DARE they) so the sleeping is out, but if I could, I would.

At least when you're asleep you're not drinking or taking drugs...

Wednesday, 3 December 2003 - 8:03 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Buy it? I burnt it from kazaa cos the ex liked it.

Wednesday, 3 December 2003 - 8:05 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Mmm, I kinda resent having to have any responsibility other than work, really. And work is a disgruntled acceptance merely because I enjoy it.

Thursday, 4 December 2003 - 9:02 PM GMT

Name: sarah

Maybe the point of music is that it can bring back long-forgotten memories..

Put that music right at the bottom of the pile, do not listen to it, find some good new stuff, and in several years you'll wonder what all that fuss was about. Then you'll find *that* cd, stick it on, and think "ahh.. of course"

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