Make it stop, please

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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Kafkahead
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Make it stop, please

Postby Kafkahead » Mon Feb 21, 2011 7:23 am

Dear Webderlanders

I can't take this anymore. It's been too long since I've written or read anything of value. I feel like my head is being bashed inside with a hammer and is about to burst, and that someone dropped lead weights to the bottom of my lungs. Every time I sit down to write in front of a computer, I end up writing only a godforsaken paragraph or less. Reading has become a burden to me and I barely have anyone near me to discuss this: my mother has gone to the hospital today for an operation to remove a mass that may develop into a cancer (and this is not what's worrying me, which is but another thing that bothers me: it's my mother we're talking about here! I should be thinking about the outcome of her operation, not my damn writer's block! I don't know if it's a lack of empathy or something other, but I just can't feel it, but I want to.), my father is busy and barely cares about it, same thing goes with my sister and of the few friends I can count by the fingers of my hands, either they are also busy or just don't know what to say.

Please, help me out here. I know it sounds like I'm dramatizing everything and that my life is now the Hindenburg, but I honestly don't know what to do. I want this suffering to stop. I want to be able to think again, to imagine again coherently without having huge, blank moments when there is only fatigue and white noise in my head. Anything at all, please.

K.

Mark Tiedemann
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Re: Make it stop, please

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:04 pm

Kafkahead,

As I understand it, you're young. For all I know this is the first time in your life you've been faced with major crap like this. In which case, I have good news and bad news.

The bad news it, you can't just stop it. This is life. The blankness or lack of empathy you think you're experiencing is likely just your unconscious defending you from overwhelming fear and grief. It's called shock and can often seem like coldness, ambivalence. That wears off and the tears come. Let them. You will go through this again. The only advice that makes any longterm sense is---pay attention. Remember.

Which leads to the good news. This is life. Your mind will come back on line at some point. You will cope. You have to. Facing it head on---and I know this will sound a bit trite and cliche---is what makes us human, makes us better, makes us more. The blankness will pass and the tears will come. Let them. Every time this happens, let them. Pay attention. This is the stuff of good art. In the long run you will be putting this down on paper, making your characters real with experienced pain---and joy.

But there's no stopping it---not without sacrificing a piece of your psyche and, for lack of a better word, your soul. If nothing else, write about it. You may write crap now but later, not so much.

Hope this helps. If not, sorry.

Gwyneth M905
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Re: Make it stop, please

Postby Gwyneth M905 » Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:52 pm

Dearest Kafkahead,

Your Rosinante, unfaithful due to illness, is back. Please listen to the post above. It is wise. Let the tears come. Let go of control and know that it *will* return to you. You are going through university, your mother's illness, writer's block -- this is a hell of a lot for ANYONE, let alone someone young, being hit by them like a 12 foot wave at Ocean Beach, SF, CA for the first time.

Allow yourself to be submerged. But take showers. Eat regularly. Take walks in whatever sunshine the weather gives you. I know this seems like poor advice and facile. But I know from dealing with BP that oftentimes it is the small routines of life that can give it meaning when everything seems crashing down around you.

We are here for you, my friend. I have to go and pick up medications and then MD visit, otherwise I'd say Skype me. I will be back in touch. Stay here and keep posting. Be strong, brave heart.

Gwyneth
I want to learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi Knight, the same as my Father.
STAR WARS (1977)

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FrankChurch
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Re: Make it stop, please

Postby FrankChurch » Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:24 pm

What they said, young man. You're at a sensitive state right now. Take the breeze as the breeze takes you.

Darkness and light do a murderous dance. The only thing you can do is know which steps to take.

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Steve Evil
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Re: Make it stop, please

Postby Steve Evil » Mon Feb 21, 2011 3:47 pm

You want my advice?

I'd say go travelling.

I'm absolutely serious.

It doesn't have to be far. Just someplace you've never been before. It should be more than one day; a week at least. Wander, experience, see. Fill the mind with wonder. Seriously. The mind cannot create if it's not filled with the raw material of creation. Experience. Curiosity. Memory Borrow the money or steal it or sell something, but just get out the door and go.

Take no more than one backpack. Take one empty notebook, one light reading book (preferably comedic), and one thought provoking book (fiction or non). For the first half of your trip, think nothing of narrative. Write down what you see, but no more. The synapses need rest. The tanks need refueling, the engines need re-tooling, the wheels need grease. The sight of the unfamiliar and the plight of the uncertain (be sure to get good and lost at least once) will necessitate speculation, which is the forebear of imagination.

At the very least. . .it'll give you something to talk about.

There is nothing worse for the creative process than the state of mind I call "ruttage", the state of being in a rut. If the mind ceases to produce it is because the mind requires new input, new data, a new set of challenges. It's what I've noticed anyway.

Best I can suggest.

Gwyneth M905
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Re: Make it stop, please

Postby Gwyneth M905 » Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:30 pm

Steve Evil wrote:You want my advice?

I'd say go travelling.

I'm absolutely serious.

It doesn't have to be far. Just someplace you've never been before. It should be more than one day; a week at least. Wander, experience, see. Fill the mind with wonder. Seriously.


Steve E., this is brilliant advice. :D Kafkahead, do you have your passport in order? Go to Cordoba, then to Granada and spend a day at the Alhambra. Or go to Amsterdam and ah...um...enjoy the sights and the coffee bars. (I don't imbibe, so I'm reluctant to encourage anything weirder or stronger than coffee to anyone.)

But yes, now that I've re-read your post in light of Steve E's advice, it does seem cabin feverish. Pack a small haversack and hit the road! (And stay in touch with us!) :)
I want to learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi Knight, the same as my Father.
STAR WARS (1977)

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Ezra Lb.
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Re: Make it stop, please

Postby Ezra Lb. » Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:29 pm

Excellent advice and I would simply add try to get laid at some point.
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

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Chuck Messer
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Re: Make it stop, please

Postby Chuck Messer » Mon Feb 21, 2011 10:44 pm

Joao, I think the advice given so far is so good I may try it myself, in the not too distant future.

But not for a couple of weeks. Gonna have a lot of snow. There is something to be said for "getting away from it all". That's our reset button, our chance for a little attitude adjustment. A nice weekend holiday, preferrably with some sun involved. How's the weather out that way?

Do you draw? Or have some other creative outlet? Bring that along, even if it's for a day or two. Just keep the attitude that whatever it is, your life must not depend on it. Keep those kind of things trivial.

Chuck
Some people are wedded to their ideology the way nuns are wed to God.

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FrankChurch
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Re: Make it stop, please

Postby FrankChurch » Thu Feb 24, 2011 2:33 pm

Research has been done on this but maybe daily meditation will help you. It helps the Buddists. There are studies where daily meditation can stop depression, at least for some. People even give up their medication because it works so well.

This may or may not work for you, but the East is full of wisdom.

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Lori Koonce
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Re: Make it stop, please

Postby Lori Koonce » Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:20 pm

Hey you!

take it from someone who has a medical diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder, you may want to talk to a professional to see what type of depression you have.

You are going through a lot of shit right now, you could just be feeling blue. Professionals call this situational depression. It goes away with time and a change in circumstances. But for people like me who have serious chemical imbalance you can't just use meditation to make things better.

Despite what people like your friend Frank may say, people sometimes need chemical intervention. The only people who can help you determine which type of person you are are yourself and a qualified mental health professional. Please do your best to find one who you can afford to talk to and get some help.

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Chuck Messer
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Re: Make it stop, please

Postby Chuck Messer » Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:09 am

As a member of the Prozac for Lunch Bunch, if as Lori says your depression is caused by a physical problem, then some form of medication is called for. It's no different from having a thyroid condition, for example. Of course, only a physician can know for sure. For me, finding out my feelings of depression not only had a physical cause, but an effective treatment, was empowering in itself.

I second Lori's advice to seek the opinion of a professional to be sure.

Hang in there. You've got people in your corner.

Chuck
Some people are wedded to their ideology the way nuns are wed to God.

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FrankChurch
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Re: Make it stop, please

Postby FrankChurch » Sat Feb 26, 2011 12:21 pm

Medication is not always the answer, but I do agree he should see a professional. He could also meditate.

Lori, meditation could help you as well. mmmmmmmmm

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Steve Evil
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Re: Make it stop, please

Postby Steve Evil » Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:08 pm

I know many people who swear by meditation. Personally, I prefer the presence of stimulus to its absence, and don't see the appeal of simulating the sensations of the grave before it is strictly necessary, but I do know people who swear by it and seem to have benefited. It is ultimately up to the individual.

Which brings me back to the individual in question. How are you holding up there Kafka?

Kafkahead
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Re: Make it stop, please

Postby Kafkahead » Sat Feb 26, 2011 6:34 pm

Thanks for all the advice, guys. The day after I posted this, I got a small burst of inspiration for a short story (which I consider my first Gaimanesque tale) which at least proved to me that I'm in no lame state of mind and imagination yet.

My mother is back home, and recovering slowly. She's usually a person of determination and speed and a toughness that only mothers have, but now she can only lie down and bit on to cloth or her lips when the pain straddles up from below the waist. She even has a hard time coughing: I have to pat her so gently on the back when she tries to spit some phlegm. Worst of all is the sutures: I think one of them is infected, since she showed me part of the bandage covering the area; it's stained with pus. She's going to the doctor this monday.

I honestly don't know what to feel. I feel worried for my mother, but I can't feel distress or panic or any sort of signal, any sort of sign that shows that I'm actively caring for her. That's another story, though. I'll keep updating the thread, since I'd like the best advice from all of you. Including Frank.

Love for all of you in these hard times

K.

cynic
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Re: Make it stop, please

Postby cynic » Sat Feb 26, 2011 9:10 pm

seems your doing fine considering the situation you describe.
watch the medications (antibiotics?).
sounds as thought the dressing might have been changed, if not by you due to modesty, or your mom for whatever, or doctors orders ?
some sense of detatchment might not be unhealthy or unrealistic.
your authority and responsibility are limited here, just do what you can.
follow your bliss,mike


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