Depression and Mother Nature’s dirty little joke

I recognize that depression can be the result of an insidious chemical imbalance. I am not writing about that miserable ghoul that tries to find a home in many an otherwise healthy person.

We all suffer from depression of some kind and of severity. No one is immune from it. Usually it’s a downer, like a cloudy day that, in my part of the country, is of short duration. When we lose a job, a friend, a loved one, when we are sick or feel lonely, depression seems to be a pretty normal reaction. But is it possible that chronic depression, absent the chemical problem, is also a normal reaction?

We are taught to be joyful, taught to put a smile on our faces, taught to be optimistic and see the cup as half full, not half empty. Happiness is a cultural demand in our society. Are you happy? If not, buy a new car. Are you happy? If not, get a facelift or some other kind of lift. Are you happy? If not, drink a Coors or better yet, get drunk, or call your local dealer. Are you happy? If not, get a new spouse, experience a new love affair or come out of the closet.

Are you unhappy? If so, please do not admit it. You will be seen as sick. You will be subjected to treatment. You may even be jailed as a risk to yourself and others.

What if all of this sunshine called happiness is simply imposed on us like any other belief system? We must be happy or we are sick. We will be in trouble if the cultural imperative of happiness escapes us. Send us to the shrink at an unhappy expense to tell us how happy we should be and who will prescribe happy pills for us.

I think of our dogs. They wag their tails and we see them as essentially happy. But they are not aware of the existential truth and Mother Nature’s dirty little joke that she never tires telling: Birth, struggle, infirmity and death.

We have been given that devilish gift called awareness, some call it intelligence. We were also given the power to make choices. We are defined by our choices. We can be happy, at least cheerful, at least brave, or we can whimper and whine and plod along in our own gloomy mental cave. We can choose to enjoy and cherish that magical gift called life, or we can choose to curse the day we were born. But if we choose the latter, are we sick or simply in tune with the ultimate truth, that Mother Nature is still playing that same little joke on us?

I say we play it back on Mother Nature. Eternity would be hell. On, say, our five-hundred and fifty-seven millionth birthday, or our fifteenth billionth, and we find ourselves still no closer to the end than our beginning, one might be begging Mother Nature: “Please, oh, please play your dirty little joke on us. Please, just this once.” A beginning without an end would, indeed, be hell.

Life without the simple pattern of the flower – its tender shoot emerging in the springtime sun, its strength to rise again after some careless foot has smashed it, its willingness to endure pain as its tight bud unfolds, its incomparable beauty as a blossom and the miraculous spread of its seeds in fall winds is part of Mother Nature’s plan as well.

Perfect. And we are in sync with its magic.

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19 responses to “Depression and Mother Nature’s dirty little joke

  1. What a subject: whether the glass if always either 1/2 ampty or 1/2 full.

    Way back in antiquity (age 22) I was flown by Delta to their main offices in Atlanta for an interview as a “stewardess” they called it way back then. While being interviewed the man (interviewer) took out a glass from behind his desk and asked: “Is this glass 1/2 empty or 1/2 full?”

    I remember smiling at him and responding: “Well, since I’m neither a total optimist or pessimist – but a REALIST – I’d have to answer that it’s both!”

    He replied: (smiling) “The cockpit crews will love you in emergencies. You’re hired if you want the job!”

  2. I have been reading Abram Hoffer, PhD., who treated people with depression in the 1960’s with large doses of B3 or niacin and niacinimide and vitamin C. He had good results. He has written 13 books on natural healing. Linus Pauling has approved his books. Most are still in print.

  3. Good Stuff Gerry!

    “There comes a redeemer, and he slowly too fades away,
    And there follows his wagon behind him that’s loaded with clay.
    And the seeds that were silent all burst into bloom, and decay,
    And night comes so quiet, its close on the heels of the day.”

    from “Eyes of the World”, Hunter/Garcia

  4. Just made up a new word:”ampty”

  5. Mother nature rocks

  6. Itsmuchworsethanthat

    Happiness as a cultural imperative? Of course. Happy people don’t assemble with pitchforks and torches outside the tyrants doorstep; angry, discontented people do.

    If people are trained to be happy regardless of their circumstances, you can subject them to anything with little fear that they will revolt.

    That’s why the corporate media constantly blather on about the power of positive thinking. They don’t want you to blame your greedy boss for firing you, or the greedy insurance company for denying your claim, or the greedy military-industrial complex for soaking up all the resources; they want you to blame yourself for feeling bad about these things, and then resolve only to either think positively about them, or not think about them at all.

  7. Happiness is a state of being. Being in touch with our higher self and knowing that regardless of Mother Nature’s game we all beautiful souls 🙂

    Love “Light” and Energy

    _Don

  8. Gerry, Idon’t believe you had me in mind when you wrote this, but it sure hit home and I have been working on my end (of loss) everyday. Only you could inspire me to find happiness in everyday things and more importantly in the people in my life. Thank you again, your friend and follower. Bill…Cheers

  9. How do we actually know that dogs are not aware of existential truth? We assume a lot of things about animals, being unable to speak their languages with much fluency. These kind of assumptions have led to official pronouncements that animals don’t feel pain, that people of different skin colors are always happy… well, a lot of pronouncements that now make us gasp at their inaccuracy and callousness. (I know that wasn’t your main point, but thought it bore addressing.)

  10. Gerry,
    You of all know that to struggle is an imperative to life. To stay sane, we must struggle against depression and unhappiness. That’s why we are able to make decisions, choices and judgements. To not struggle against depression is to accept things as they are. “Whether tis nobler to the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outraegeous fortune or to take arms against the sea of troubles and by opposing, end them…” We have the God given rights to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I say oppose. You have said oppose. Have you changed your mind, or are you advancing a melacholy rant of a fatalistic future?

  11. I, am one of the unfortunate ones, Polio, destroying many of the neurons in my brainstem has left me legitimatly with the gifts od A.D.D. and Depression. I do take meds, and minerals, but what it comes down to is “In this fight we call life, I will be knocked down to the canvas…I may stay on one kness for the eight count…..But by God, watch out….I will get back up and fight!”
    I beat polio once, and I will beat it’s damage once again!

    Jim

  12. Dogs, and man, and nature:
    Gerry you have often said, as I understand your expressions, that you have learned more from your dogs, than from all the great books, or all the great works of man, or something to that essential effect.
    I humbly submit that you are in line with Ivan, namely

    http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1904/pavlov-bio.html

    His greatest works were on the conditioned reflexes of dogs.
    Much of his work is really applicable to man(generic be it so), here today, in this cyber, rapid paced age of electronic waves.

  13. What if depression is nature’s mechanism for bringing us together?

    Perhaps this debilitating despair is supposed to make us desire human companionship, but instead of realizing this we turn to drugs, alcohol or suicide. Hey, not trying to get all preachy here, I’m going through a pretty hefty bought of the blues myself. Maybe I’m just trying to talk myself out of a downward spiral.

  14. If I were in Jackson, I think I would walk up Snow King to begin the day, but I’m here and have to settle for bike ride to the office.

  15. exactly this Depression and Mother Nature’s dirty little joke « Gerry Spence’s Blog is really nice.
    I came through one more jokesmsquote.com

  16. I was captivated while reading your book How To Argue And Win Everytime. As a unique crone, I just dyed my hair teal blue, puple, and magenta. The young people applaud, many of my peers scowl. I was one of the few disappointed in Avatar for ssimiliar reasons. I learn from dogs AND cats and others in the animal kingdom who don’t have monkey minds chattering endlessly. Most of all, I have learned I DON’T KNOW anything…spectulative hallunciations…there is no out there out there…it’s all made. Now Hawkins says there “God” isn’t necessary for the big bang to occur. Reading Jed McKenna’s triology and Bernadette Roberts No Self. Now a young friend who founded http://www.thedepressionproject.com” and “cured” herself from a diagnosis of bipolar is creating MAD WISDOM with which I am getting to play. I wonder if free will is creating out of nothing rather than memory like the movie INCEPTION portrays? I am in awe of your blog. Thank you for creating it.

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