Afterthoughts Vol. 2: Depression


As far back as I can remember I’ve been sad.

And sad… is such an understatement. It’s such a small word for the totality of what I feel on a regular basis.

It’s more like

empty

an empty that is too exhausting to think about

the bleakest most emptastically fucking empty emptiness you’ve ever…

a rolled up tube of toothpaste with nary a squeeze to be had

a deflated beachball
lying on the sand
devoid of purpose
whilst dolphins laugh in the glistening waves
permanently out of reach
and
unable to join their happiness

it’s an exhaustion

all consuming

sucking even the air from your lungs kinda tired

your fucking eyeballs are exhausted

and there’s a simmering anger that darkens the already empty darkness

an anger born of a righteous frustration that you know deep down you shouldn’t have to feel this way

but you do

and it sucks and it’s not fair

but you’re too fucking exhausted to do anything about it

and so then the guilt shows up for feeling all these crappy things while being unable to do anything about it

and guilt is a bastard
because it justifies
all the reasons
you already hated yourself

it is possible to feel other feelings and have other moments of joy and happiness and bliss and ecstasy while you are also depressed

your brain craves any sort of chemical that doesn’t suck in these moments

it’s why we eat junk food and self medicate with booze and drugs

it’s easier than getting a therapist– cheaper too.

i’ve always felt this way
since i was a little kid
i couldn’t stop contemplating the awful

i never felt comfort in the church
the idea that we’re born awful sinners
in this FallenWorld™

this idea terrified me

i’m a sinner and i don’t want to be

the idea that i could never be good enough

that is not something good to teach a kid with obsessive compulsive disorder

and depression

or was it the teaching of me these concepts and ideas that made me depressed and obsessive compulsive

?™

is it the harsh punishment regiment taught to parents who raise their kids in this system

does that cause depression and obsessive behavior and thinking patterns

?™

is it learned or genetic or environmental or sin or bad luck or tough shit or you think you have it bad youhavenoideawhatsufferingis

i am a funny fucker and i can’t find anything funny about depression

it is the black hole of comedy

black hole of every emotion

you can’t even feel sad
it’s too shallow of a feeling
to qualify
it gets destroyed
in the singularity of the black hole
too

you can be depressed and never be suicidal

which is a clever as fuck trick i never figured out how to do

for some people it’s mild

and some it’s brutaltastic

some people only have it for a brief period of their life

for others it is a grotesque 3rd limb emerging from your spine continually slapping the shit out of you and pulling your hair and gouging your eyes 24 hours a day for every day of your life

it is annoying to the people around you

because jesus fuck it’s annoying as fuck

it’s whiny and self obsessed

it’s dark because your head is up your ass

of course everything is miserable when you think miserable things

WHY CAN’T YOU THINK POSITIVE THOUGHTS DUMBASS

the world does not give a shit
if
you
are
de
pressed

when you are depressed your religious community will not understand

they won’t even pretend to try to understand

they think you are a sinner

this is not actually helpful

in case you were wondering

as i was pushed into MentalHealthScienceLand™

i was at odds with Churchtopia™

one group says i’ve got a fucked up brain

the other group says i have a fucked up soul

the other group can’t find my soul in the bloodwork or scans

the one group says i don’t need pills if i have jesus

but i was pretty sure i already had jesus and somehow it never counts because they say i wouldn’t be sad if i had jesus

pretty sure i asked him in like you all said

hello

anybody there

?™

the beauty of being a Fucking Evangelical™ who is depressed and has one foot in ScienceLand™ and one foot in Churchtopia™ is that they play off each other, like how the ScienceLand™ is overmedicating me and so I’m more and more suicidal which proving to Churchtopia™ that this is a spiritual battle WITH DEMONS and I need to run away from ScienceLand™ and just PraytheGrayAway™.

And so the worse i feel the more i am called a sinner

which makes me feel pretty damned shitty as far as sinners go

being chronically depressed

remember way back up top how exhausting and empty and angry and guilty

fuck

now I’m a sinner too

?!?™

it is impossible to recover from an illness if the people in your faith family do not believe it is real

and

it is impossible to remain in a faith that denies the obvious reality of your illness if you want to recover

you will have to choose

ScienceLand™
vs
Churchtopia™

a battle for the soul of our hero

*eats popcorn*


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10 responses to “Afterthoughts Vol. 2: Depression”

  1. Amy Avatar
    Amy

    Ouch.

    Or, more like, OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCH!!!!!!!

    I’ve said it before, and I know I’m just a random stranger on the internet, but I’m glad you’re still here. I’m glad to have this opportunity to know your story. Thank you for continuing to share it.

    1. dave Avatar

      Your words are a gift that I’ve been enjoying all day. Thank you internet stranger!

      May each of us continue to write things that better the other’s experience!

      ❤️

  2. Kate P Avatar
    Kate P

    Ah, yes. I was told to pray about my depression, too. It never really worked, though, considering a particular theological question was one cause of my depression back then. Now, I’ve got a bunch more questions and a lower level of depression hanging around, decades later.

    I can excuse the people who told me that. They weren’t in any authority over me, and they didn’t know any better. I tried my best to help them understand.

    I wouldn’t wish depression on anyone—yet, I wish everyone could experience it just so they’d know how illogical it is and how little control a person has over it. So they’d understand.

    I suppose I still have this lingering belief that if I could just get things where they should be with God, it would go away. But then I feel blocked by those questions. I still do feel that I have a relationship with God, but it’s just not what it could be, I guess. I’m trying to figure out how to be OK with what it IS, questions and all.

    1. dave Avatar

      What was your particular theological question, ooc?

      I had so many. Drove my elders and mentors nuts. I often wonder how much the religion caused/exacerbated/contributed/influenced the feelings I had.

      It’s not exactly a positive religion, imo.

      It’s funny for years I’d say I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemies. But then all my friends and family were dicks to me about it and… yeah… I wish everyone would live with this for a year. Try it on for size and see if it doesn’t grow your empathy.

      Which is precisely why I’m writing this stuff. I figure, if I can create a project where I can walk someone through it– if possible– then maybe just maybe I can trigger some empathy in people to affect their behavior towards people like me?

      That’s the theory I’m working under at least. Hope it works *crosses fingers and toes and forked tongue*

      I think figuring out god in the midst of mental health issues is an extra tough assignment. I have twisted my noggin about it daily every day of my life. And… I think I have found some answers for my situation.

      I know:

      1. I have an illness
      2. god may/may not exist
      3. if god does exist, god has not stopped this illness; see #1
      4. if god does not exist see #1

      And so, I got tired of chasing something that had the exact same effect on my illness whether it existed or not.

      God has always felt like a far off emotionally distant father that never comes around or seemed to ever have much interest in me. Tired of pining for something that doesn’t notice me.

      Appreciate your thoughts

      1. Kate P Avatar
        Kate P

        I wondered why God made all of us in the first place. I was taught that he knew for certain what would happen in the future—so knowing that, why not just…not create us? Would have saved us the trouble of the whole hell concept.

        Now I have tons more questions, though some have more to do with the version of Christianity I was taught vs other versions. It’s scary going outside the boundaries, though.

        I think my biggest questions now (aside from.that old question that hasn’t gone away) is how to reconcile the image of the OT God with the NT Jesus and how to reconcile the NT Jesus with the (inspired) writings of Paul. I put inspired in parentheses because I’m learning that people have different definitions of what that means.

        1. dave Avatar

          Yes, why DID GodAlmighty™ go through all the trouble to make us and then fuck up the recipe?

          My particular focus was the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil. Why would a god make such a thing knowing that we would screw up?

          As I’ve drifted away from literalism and started viewing the texts from a more academic understanding of modern scholarship I came to realize these texts were never meant to be taken literally. It was all art. It’s literally political propaganda– gonna take me awhile to get to that part of the blogject.

          The stories were never about our actual relationship with god is much as it was about creating a national identity that ancient worshippers of a particular tribe could utilize to further their empirical dreams of statehood.

          Why create humans if we’re so awful we have to be punished forever in hell UNLESS WE BELIEVE….

          It seems so absurdly human to create a system like that. That doesn’t seem like a godly system. Only one group of people are God’sChosenPeople™? Is that a religious concept? Or a political/national identity concept to justify genocide?

          It’s very scary going outside the boundaries of what we were taught because– Lordy, where do you start? And how on earth do we know which direction to take our questions in and which people to take them to? AND WHAT IF WE’RE WRONG AND WE’VE FUCKED UP OUR CHANCE FOR SALVATION???

          For me… that itself is a big red flag. Why isn’t god making this just a tiny bit easier? Why do we have a 1,000 page “book” that nobody can interpret for 2 millennia? What is the point of all those writings if we still can’t agree on what any of it says?

          As we get to the NT stuff… oof.

          It’s a very different flow of info if you go in order that the books were written.

          If Paul’s stuff is written BEFORE the gospels… why were the gospels an afterthought? This is all stuff I will be tackling in the next sections as I chart my deconstruction. Because these are precisely the same questions I have had.

          The two starting points for me:

          1. Exodus did not happen– not one shred of archaeological evidence that 2 million jews were enslaved and escaped Egypt (wait til you find out who still controlled Canaan when it was alleged to have been written)
          2. The census that Caesar initiated requiring Joseph to go to Bethlehem so the christians could link Jesus of Nazareth to the messiah that would be born in Bethlehem also did. not. happen.

          One of those blows up the whole OT for me.
          And the other blows up the NT.

          Perhaps we’ve all been chasing something that we have profoundly misunderstood for way, waaaaay too long.

          What is the real purpose of these systems?

          As Napoleon said, “Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.” Divine right of kings is a helluva system to keep the proles in check for their entire lives. Promise them heaven and their abusers hell and it’s amazing what people will willingly suffer through.

          These are the conversations I REALLY wanna have on this platform.

  3. David K Johnson Avatar
    David K Johnson

    Dude that is the most vividly accurate description of depression I’ve ever read.

    1. dave Avatar

      thank you!

      *bows*

  4. franklinshepard Avatar
    franklinshepard

    Hi Dave, I just spent the last few days devouring all two years of blog entries. Someone on an AiO discord posted a link to the script for the scrapped gay episode, and I went back to the beginning and read every entry. Your story really spoke to me and broke my heart in many ways. Obviously being on an AiO discord, I’m a big fan of yours and I have been since childhood (I was gratified to learn that Someone to Watch Over Me was an episode you were most proud of – it has been my favorite episode since I was a child, remains my favorite episode to this day, and I still cry whenever I listen to it.)

    In many ways, I was lucky that I wasn’t born into an Evangelical household. Although my family were center-right Christians, they disagreed with a lot of the stuff in AiO and always encouraged me to listen critically. As I grew up, my whole family moved farther left until the election of 2016 pushed us away from the Republican party forever. This was, again, made easier for us because our faith was never connected to politics. Or at least it didn’t seem to be until my mom and brother (the only two family members in the area) left our childhood church over the pandemic when they reopened early in 2020, no masks or social distancing allowed. Obviously that pushed my family even farther away from the GOP.

    I’ve periodically relistened to AiO since I grew up, about once a decade, and the things I laughed at in 2010 as being silly, I realized in 2020 were actually insidious. I still get a lot of enjoyment and nostalgia from the show, but there are episodes that I never want my children to listen to, and Focus on the Family is a truly awful, hateful organization. (I’m ashamed to say that when I was six years old, my parents called in to Dobson’s radio program to have him wish me a happy birthday. I’m sure my mom would be incredibly embarrassed about me bringing that up now.)

    All that is just to provide some context for myself and where I’m coming from. But I also want to say how incredibly moving your story is and was to me. Thank you for sharing all of that, and I just wanted you to know that sharing your story is important. You’re reaching a lot of people, and more every day. I sent your blog off to my family members, and I am sure it will affect them as much as it did me. So much of what you described in these posts will stay with me in my heart for a long time, and I look forward to reading 3 and 4.

    Meanwhile, you mention funding – if you ever decide to start a crowdfunding campaign to continue telling your story, please let us know. You have many fans who would be happy to support your important work in writing this.

    1. dave Avatar

      Thank you so much for this beautiful message today! I’ve read it a dozen times over the course of the day and wanted to express my gratitude I felt all day.

      I appreciate you sharing pieces of your story and how you came to find the blog as well. Invaluable.

      And your final paragraph has been sitting in my brain/soul all day. I’ve been so hesitant to attempt crowdfunding or patreon because I honestly worry it wouldn’t be successful.

      But I know that lack of funding is preventing me from pushing this out as effectively (and quickly) as I’d like and you may have given me the final push needed… hmmm.

      Grateful to you today for all of these thoughts. And give your family my best! So happy to have you all along for the ride 🙂 <3

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