Saturday Evening Post

Normally, the SEP is a break from the action for news and commentary from the week. Not this Saturday. Grab a cuppa. The strong stuff is on the table. Snuggle into a rocker. You might even want a blanket. Let’s talk.

The posts so far in the heart vs. mind series appeared to have little in common except “heart-vs-mind” in their URLs. While I did not intentionally lead you astray, I needed to make a few points before we got here, rounding the bases, if you will.

The first was If Only to Throw a Rock. The crux was the heart’s desire for change and the mind’s unwillingness to be party. We all know change is inevitable, as ironic as it may seem in our day-to-day drudgery where we proclaim things all stay the same.

Take a moment to imagine:

The change the heart wants is to be happy.

The second post was When. (This includes Pause in the Programming, which was to further clarify.) I blathered on about asking for help from those I knew should help me, those who claimed help on offer and even unlikely sources when I could find no help. I simply wanted to know at what point should I give up.

The second step in the progression is more difficult to imagine:

No one is willing to help you find happiness.

The third was Just. Misconceptions are everyone. All of the simple things others would do which you apparently missed in the instructions are dismissive of the trials you took to get here.

The third step is the most difficult to imagine:

The last person you ask says, “If you had just…”


The internal struggle of the mind explaining to the heart why happiness is beyond its grasp is as gut-wrenching as it is frightening. Every single day people the world over are convinced happiness is illogical, impossible and the seeking is impudent.

When the heart summons the courage to ask a different mind, namely one who should care, the answer is still no.

When the last person the heart asks, Will you help me? says no, it is by far unjust.

Warner Brothers The Wizard of Oz

Copyright: Warner Bros. (1967) From The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Pulling Back the Curtain

Perhaps, I have gotten too predictable. Perhaps, I complain about the same thing too often. Nothing you have read has been about my children being denied anything to which they are entitled.

This series has been about me. It comes now in light of a number of events in the last few weeks. The silence has to end.

I am one of many. We are diverse in ethnicity, background, economic standing, education, ability and demeanor, yet we share a common plight. All of our stories differ, yet they are all the same. The roads which led us here are multitudinous, yet the destination is the same. We all want to leave here. None of us can without help.

Help which often is not forthcoming. It accepts no cajoling of money, barter, sacrifice or groveling… even when a clearly posted sign states a price. Professionals and lay persons alike, and others in the mix, have “just” too little information to give directions elsewhere.

Where are we? Depression. Where do we want to go? Happiness. Not the brief respites which come when we laugh. Not the fading joy of the momentous occasions which bring everyone else infinite joy. All day, every day peace and tranquility which is present only when we are not depressed.

Behind the Curtain

Army of OneIt is not a hobbit-like old man. It is your neighbor. It is your cousin. It is I. It may even be you. The projection is not the great and powerful entity you see every day. Instead, it is the man who goes to work five days a week supporting his family. It is the woman who is president of the PTA, again this year. It is the class clown. It is the nurse patting your hand telling you everything will be fine, and being truthful as she does it.

All the money in the world will not make the man happy. Being president of the country would not bring the woman closer to other people. All the laughs never cheer the clown. You will be fine, but the nurse goes home to a house full of nothingness.

Depression is anger turned inward. It is the cruel surrender to the death of the heart’s desire. It is an emptiness in which pleas for happiness echo. It is a pair of concrete shoes making walking the plank painfully slow.

Hidden behind pleasantries, volunteer hours and an endless parade of service to others is a dead soul trapped in a body unwilling to change the circumstances or find a grave to end the suffering. The frigidity of the heart is not warmed by the love of others. The mind dismisses such love as fleeting, misguided or malicious.

When the last drop of love bleeds from the heart, it is lost. The power it had to love registers as unrequited because the void never fills. The hollow refrain of no is the only sound breaking the silence.



Nearly 15 million Americans suffer with major depressive disorder. This stands outside the statistics for those with depression as a result of PTSD, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, persistent depressive disorder and post-partum depression. Depression is the leading disability of our time.

When someone comes to you for help, you will have no idea how many times that person has heard no before getting to you. Please take the time to listen to the whole problem. Ask questions before you give answers. In that single interaction, you could save a life.


Red Signature

United States: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Canada: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Australia: 13 11 14

United Kingdom: 44 (0) 8457 90 90 90

If you feel like you need to harm yourself or anyone else, please call the hotline in your country.

This post was eaten by the migration and may need editing. It missed going live on time for the same reason. Its meaning should not be discounted based on these failures.

Hashtags: #suicide #depression

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  1. Dearest Red,
    I have been where you are in the darkest of depression and my life was at severe risk. In desperation I checked into a hospital. The answers there were not no, as they had been at home, but yes, and yes, and yes. It took four months in hospital to repair my heart and for me to become strong enough to face the choices I had to make at home. Depression is my middle name, though it no longer seizes my life as it once did. I am happy. I want to help you but I know you have children as I did and cannot leave them for four months to heal.
    You said this series has been painful to write. I have read the posts unable to comment.
    I am reaching out to you as I have reached out to my sons and neighbors when I thought they were full of suicidal thoughts as the solution to the pain you and they bear and bore.
    I know my love won’t penetrate your darkness, but thank you for telling me of your pain and aloneness. If I can help anyone suffering as you do, I do. If I can just hold a hand, I do. There was a time when my brother and I kept each other alive by daily phone calls about the lure of death.
    Do not listen to that voice. I believe this will end for you and the tunnel vision that is depression will lift for you to be happy in whole and true ways.
    Love from the other side,
    xoxoxox Gail
    Gail Thornton recently posted..Prose – Of Loss and LoveMy Profile

  2. Red,

    As always, when you approach such subjects, I find it to be thought provoking, and deeply moving… as well as personally relevant…

    Having experienced depression, from both sides of the coin, as victim, and as the caregiver/therapist treating it in others, I can say the PTSD at the root of my dissatisfaction and internal conflict was not the only factor in its resultant effects, only in its inception, which, in truth, could be viewed as ample cause for situational depression; when things go as badly as my world was experiencing at that time, and at points ever since, it is a perfectly normal, and justifiable reaction to feel depressed, which, of course, looks, feels, and acts the same, regardless of the root cause…. thus, I can understand what you are saying, both intellectually, and in my gut…

    In the last three and a half years or so, I have battled it solo, living alone, with, essentially, no safety net, other than knowing my kids were still around as a last resort to find help… but, as one who has been the caregiver, it is hard for me to ask for help at all, and to ask them is even harder…

    That said, my battle is both ongoing, and already won, because I do know that I WILL ask for help, if I need it… and, I know how t0 cry…. Plus, since retiring, I’ve had my blog to vent with, which has been priceless….

    In truth, I have learned that I can always justify my depression to myself, by accepting that it is actually the most logical, and sane reaction to the world as it exists, and therefore is not something I can change…. That realization, that is is beyond my personal power to alter, is one of the keys to happiness… (according to Epictetus, whom I have reason to trust….) Once I accept that, I can then proceed to change myself, the only thing I CAN alter, in reality, thus lighting the way for me to see the way back to the light…

    If I know of anyone who feels such emotions, I always listen, for that is the most valuable thing we can give to others…. just the knowledge that we are there, we care, we will listen, and do what we can to help, is very powerful…

    In my blog today, I spoke to this, at least peripherally, and included a quote from the Dalai Lama, to wit: “Our primary purpose in this life is to help others, and if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”

    Hmm… I see that again, I’ve gone beyond the brief, and on into the blustery… I’ll have to work on that….

    I hope I’ve answered any questions; I wasn’t positive if what I am saying fits what you are looking for in comments…. but, I share your feelings, and want you to know that I am always here, if you wish to vent, or talk, or just stare at each other over the Skype network, with no sound…. just a lot of empathy….

    Ned, aka, gigoid, in this case, the sincere…

    xxx + ooo = xoxoxo = ily = bags full of warm fuzzies….

    gigoid recently posted..Sans beau, there is no coup….My Profile

    • Truly, the precipitating factor is irrelevant. I have come to this place via a number of different routes and know the veracity of “all roads end at the same place”. Likewise, I cannot imagine talking to my adult children about this in any form other than listening to them.

      Thank you for being there, Ned. ILY2 xxx

  3. I was looking at my blog, wherein I included the quote from the Dalai Lama, which was about animals, and their superior emotional, and ethical balance as compared to people, when I realized, possibly the simplest, most effective therapy for ANYONE who is depressed, is to merely be in the presence of a family pet, a cat, or dog, or goat, or any of the creatures we have living with us in friendship and love…. While petting a purring cat, sitting in your lap, it is nearly impossible to maintain a deep depression; the mere touch heals much of what is felt inside the one who is depressed, and is very helpful in bringing them even moments of peace….

    Interesting, eh?….

    That’s all, ffolkes….


    gigoid recently posted..Sans beau, there is no coup….My Profile

    • My dogs are very feline in their ability to sense downtrodden attitude. Especially the little one, they want to snuggle and get as close as possible. My bestie’s cat comes and announces his displeasure with my mood as well. xxx

  4. Sorry you are hurting Red.

    As I’ve said to others many times: Been there, done that. 🙁

    I tried to kill myself when I was driven to a nervous breakdown and insanity by people I was supposed to trust and can still remember being in ICU listening to my mum and stepdad laughing and joking with the staff while lying conscious but paralysed.

    Today I have none of my old friends and I have broken off contact with my mother because she was more interested in silencing me so that she didn’t have to face her failures.

    Apparently by posting my poetry on Facebook I was ‘disturbing the family’.

    When I posted links she didn’t like she phoned me and played merry hell with me because I was not keeping quiet.

    Apart from two attempts to get her claws into me via messaging on Facebook we haven’t spoken since.

    On the plus side she no longer troubles me on Facebook because my step-dad picked up a bad dose of malware surfing ‘solo’ and was most upset when I refused to help him fix his PC.


    If he’s stupid enough to go back to surfing porn after being infected four times, then that’s his problem.

    As you can probably tell I’m no longer being everyone’s doormat!!! 🙂

    We all have our battles hun and if I can climb from utter destruction to where I am today, then there is hope for you my friend! 🙂

    Know that I love you and I believe in you my friend.

    You are worth more than you know! 🙂

    Love and huge hugs!

    Prenin recently posted..Saturday – Pitbull.My Profile

  5. Don’t we always miss the signs, lost in our own thoughts, needs, wants and desires. Don’t we always miss what is before us?

    I suspect we do.

    I suspect it is nearly impossible sometimes to lean outside of ourselves completely. Once we hit adulthood, we collect luggage. Some of it big some of it small, rarely does any of it have wheels so we just heft it on our backs and fill it up with the trash of our lives and hope no one notices as our shoulders slump forward and our backs bend.

    Asking for help? I guess it is is harder to ask every single day. We fail, we fall down.

    I love you.
    Valentine Logar recently posted..Agape and All That JazzMy Profile

  6. I don’t have any real answers but we are all susceptible to depression, especially those of us who really think about things and try to find reason and purpose behind the superficialities of our lives.

    I think sometimes we fail to appreciate how important we are and how much we mean to others around us. In this day and age we know a lot of people whom we will likely never meet, yet they can be more important to us than others who are physically close. I know you’re important to a great number of your online friends, and you’re certainly important to me.
    Binky recently posted..Dollar Store PresentMy Profile

    • Thank you, Peter. I am often reminded how much the people in my virtual world represent more reality than some of the FAB people in my world. xxx

  7. This is a difficult place / situation to be. Who can really help if one cannot help oneself? I’ve been lucky to never have been so low I didn’t know where or to whom I can or should turn for help.

    I have a sibling with whom I’d spent hours every night to convince her was was a worthy human being. Most tightly wound person I have ever know. I cannot imagine what it’s like to live in her shoes.

    Nothing I said or did worked. Ever.
    Tess recently posted..100-Word Challenge for Grownups – Week #147My Profile

    • I think we often dismiss our powers of healing by looking for a cure. By that I do not convict merely the helper. Often the hurt think a person holds a potion or salve which will heal them. Sadly, they miss their own rendition of symptoms which holds the key. xxx

  8. Grant Helms

     /  September 12, 2014

    Thank you for everything.

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