Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Sondheim’


The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression

In depression, the meaninglessness of every enterprise and every emotion, the meaninglessness of life itself, becomes self-evident.  The only feeling left in this loveless state is insignificance.”  “The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression,” by Andrew Solomon 


It’s hard enough to make changes in your life when you’re motivated.  But what if you’re not?  What if life has lost all of its color and the future all of its promise?  

This mania thing is VERY confusing.  First of all, my mind is flooded with ideas.  They come faster than I can write them down.  Each one a gem.  Each one a brilliant, fascinating project sure to enlighten and engage. 

And then reality (or rather depression) sets in, and my furious notes for novels, short stories, classes, websites……all of these notes (dreams) seem like a waste of time and ink.  Just so much hubris.  

But the question remains, which one is the reality?  Which state, mania or depression, is the least delusional?  And is there a middle ground where most individuals live their lives, where both states are tempered with rational thought? 

It is the most disturbing thing of all to feel so passionately about something one minute only to feel ambivalent about it the next.  Or worse, feel that it was ludicrous, foolish, infantile. 

The problem is, when I am not manic or depressed (and I am usually some degree of either, or at the very least, attempting to resist the pull of one of those extremes,) I am acutely aware of what a waste of time anything is.  The very office in which I sit typing these words is a shrine to failed projects.  My own personal Lucille Ball Hall of Shame. 

And yet it’s hard to give anything up.  It’s hard to admit that “X” was a waste of time, that “Y” was a pipe dream, that “Z” is better left up to someone with the capacity to see something to fruition. 

Depression is passion’s absence.” “Against Depression,” by Peter D. Kramer 

When you are bipolar you have no perspective.  You are usually “functioning” (and I use the term loosely) in an altered state, so that it is difficult to judge the merit of anything.  Difficult to choose from one of a thousand ideas.  Difficult in general, to commit.


Company, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Blow out the candles…and make a wish.  Want something!  Want something!”  “Company,” music & lyrics by Stephen Sondheim 


But that’s just how I’m feeling today.  Check back next week and I just might have a different story to tell. 


A question for all of you rapid cyclers out there:  How do you deal with the cornucopia of ideas rushing at you?  And how do you get yourself to commit to finishing those that you do? 

As for myself, I know, in theory, that I can go the distance (having recently completed a MFA (master of fine art) program.)  But sitting here right now, it’s agony writing this post.   It seems so futile.  I am not passionate about it.  No, I am depressed.  So nothing has any meaning.  I feel like Dickens, scratching away, spewing out words merely to keep myself out of debtor’s prison.  

But perhaps that’s the beauty, the symmetry of it.  A post on apathy written apathetically.

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