Closed for stocktaking

I have been languishing in a pit of depression over the past few days. Not real depression, you understand, but rather the sort of self-indulgent melancholy that creeps up on me every so often. It’s kind of like the psychological equivalent of when people claim to have ‘flu when they actually have a cold. Anyone who has had genuine ‘flu knows that it feels like a raging hangover that lasts for weeks, so a sniffle and a cough do not equate to influenza by any stretch of the imagination. Nevertheless, it is one of those harmless fictions that most people subscribe to and by the same token, most people do understand that ‘depressed’ is code for ‘I feel a bit sorry for myself’.

I am reminded of the scene in ‘Shall We Dance’ where Richard Gere’s character tried to explain to his wife how he felt ashamed to be dissatisfied with life, because he had no real reason to be unhappy (feel free to insert a snide remark about Richard Gere and/or Susan Sarandon here – I just couldn’t be bothered at the moment).

Consequently, I find myself asking, “What the hell do I have to be depressed about?” It’s true that life is seldom perfect and I certainly have plenty to bitch about, but we’re talking about pretty minor blips on the great radar screen of life here. Emotions have their own chaotic internal logic, so there isn’t always a cause and effect relationship between what happens and how I feel about it. Nevertheless, I am vaguely embarrassed with myself, because it seems so inappropriate to feel this way. It’s a bit like being trapped in a cheesy country music song (except that I don’t have a truck and a dog out of choice, rather than because I’ve managed to lose them).


28 thoughts on “Closed for stocktaking

  1. Hi

    I know EXACTLY what you mean. Things are really not going well in my life and everybody tells me I have enough reason to be sad and hurting. But I get so frustrated at feeling this way, whether or not I have a reason. I annoyed with myself for being down and fight with myself to not be such a sadsack. Lol. It’s weird!

    Liddie (Making the best of my only shot)
    MWEB Blogspace


  2. Oh, wow! I’ve just posted something self-pitying to my own site and I’m also so embarrassed about it that I’m wondering if I shouldn’t take it down before someone actually reads it! Is this worrying about complaining too much/at all instead of toughing it out on one’s own a uniquely South African affliction, do you think?

    Very well put, Kyknoord! Glad I found your site (via your comment at Serenity Dawn’s).

    Hope you feel less blah soon!

    Groetnis from Baltimore, USA


  3. Hang in there boet! Don’t let those blips get you down. (Damn I sound like one of those self-help books).
    Anyway, I think you get the drift – you could walk into a glass door and hopefully suffer from temp amnesia as I do. Hehe…


  4. liddie: True. It will not ‘ever be thus’ (to quote Olivia from 12th Night) and all things eventually run their course. The waiting can be a bit of a bummer, though. [pulls out harmonica] Ohhh, I got the nuthin’ in partic-u-lar bu-loo-hoos…

    boertjie: Gemoedsbekakking? Sublime! It’s words like these that make me realise that English will never quite measure up to Afrikaans in terms of poetic expression.

    redsaid: Nooooo! Don’t you dare delete, or I’ll get my buddy Thabo to send his goons around to sort you out! I don’t think the ‘cowboys don’t cry’ attitude is unique to Saffas, but we do seem to be predisposed towards it.

    chittychittybangthud: Well, what do you know? It worked! I seem to have transferred my affliction on the office maintenance guy (he’s all depressed now that the glass door has a giant crack in it).


  5. I am bipolar and I find that it helps when I feel a bit low to occupy myself with something and a bit of physical exertation helps too. Never forget that talking was Freud’s method. 🙂


  6. Ja, it’s kak to feel depressed. Hopefully it won’t last too long. See if coffee & chocolate & shooting something make you feel better – it might just be PMS 😉


  7. “Gemoedsbekakking” just made my day. I would use it if I knew how to pronounce it! Don’t forget that it’s winter there and this slump could also be blamed on the season/weather gods. However, being a Canadian, I *would* think that as we have actual dark winters here. :o) My recommendation is to indulge yourself this weekend on whatever does the trick and then tell us about it next week!
    PS I also recommend coffee and chocolate but then I actually *do* have PMS.


  8. When i say i’ve got flu it actually means i’ve probably got Typhoid fever, really bad migraines coupled by a sever case of dysentry.

    So if i say i’m depressed… ya better find a size 10 straightjacket.


  9. I recently heard something about an affliction called “Affluenza” Basically when your life is going well, you are comfortable, but your still sad for no apparent reason. Maybe that’s not it, but I thought I would share anyway. The last bit of your post reminded me of a cheesy country song. One that goes like this….

    “She thinks my tractors sexy,
    It really turns her on,
    She keeps staring at me,
    when I’m chugging along…”

    🙂 hehe


  10. I think it is a healthy thing to have days like that. (For instance, many of mine end in ‘Y’…) How do you think all of the great writers, thinkers and artists produced such amazing works? Ok, other than hardcore drugs and booze. It was soaking in these crummy feelings, riding it out. Besides, you’d look stunning draped over a chaise lounge, drink in hand…


  11. I believe that if you don’t feel a little sorry for yourself every now and again, it’s hard to recognize when to feel happy for yourself.

    That’s my theory, anyway.

    I so know the feeling. Hang in there.


  12. Paul, Terri, Andrea & Juliana: Let’s see now… Physical activity, shooting something, coffee and chocolate. Combine them all and I think we have the makings of a bizarre form of culinary paintball. The perfect cure for Affluenza!

    LiVEwiRe: Love that image. I can so picture myself as a Great Writer. I just need to contract tuberculosis or syphilis and I’ll be all set.

    Anduin: I’m on it! I already have a game of mocha paintball lined up, after which I will be attempting to catch syphilis.

    ZG: Oh absolutely. Stoicism is for ninnies who aren’t willing to commit either way.


  13. Ja, I sometimes have days like that. But I think its all quite normal, I mean lets be honest here – life is not THAT great all the time. I always wonder if those permanently happy, permanently skippy people aren’t a bit doff, kwim?

    Feel better soon. Drink. It always makes me feel better.


  14. Jeez. I have a thoery that most bloggers are of the “melancholic” personality type (rather than, for example, phlegmatic
    or sanguine), or basically, that we are predisposed to being “down”. Not that we don’t feel up – we just have mood swings.

    What’s with that?

    PS more on personality types (and how they link to body types(?) here.

    Chin up.


  15. Hope you feel better soon because you see, when you tell us to make a snide remark about Richard Gere, I dare not, and so many are begging to be made right now.
    And I don’t even mind Richard Gere.
    So please, if you don’t want to feel better for yourself, do it for me, yes? 😉


  16. Tertia: I tend to agree with your assessment of permanently happy people. Wilful ignorance helps a lot, too.

    IITQ: You could be on to something there. On the other hand, one of the main reasons that a lot of people blog is to vent or offload and they do say that confession is good for the soul. Of course, a lot of bloggers strive to make their posts interesting, so entries with ‘feeling’ often make for good reading. “Ate cheeseburger. Scratched arse.” may be accurate, it isn’t going to win any literary awards.

    Anne: For you – of course. How could I ever refuse?


  17. Omigosh there is just so much insight here it’s making my head spin!
    OK I know that sounds terribly sarcastic but actually it’s true. I’ve felt happy & peaceful all week & haven’t been able to scrape together a single creative or witty post. Bring on the mania!


  18. We go through 3 major life stages, as teenagers we struggle through those years of angst. Just when we begin to grow up, bam! The quarter life crisis hits us at about 25. We stumble around for a few years, finally mellow out…then the mid-life crisis has us at the Harley Davidson dealership. Most of us are hovering between stages, trying to do our thing. We don’t have to have had anything go really wrong to feel the blues. Dr. Seauss calls it A Slump, I call it bad bio-rythyms.


  19. terri: I hope your muse stops skiving off and gets back to work soon.

    rox: I’m quite looking forward to the Harley stage. Soon. Soon.

    anne: The problem with being a sarcastic smartass is that everyone thinks you’re a sarcastic smartass, even when you aren’t being a sarcastic smartass. Sigh.

    debi: Yup. Time does the trick every – um – time.


  20. Shame KN – it’s ok – think it’s a Cape Town thang as my life is pretty ok. No REAL problems but yet I also feel melancholy every now and then for no good reason. Let’s pretend it’s ‘cos we’re more intelligent than most. Ok yes, I like that, let’s go with that. Hehe


  21. as kak as being depressed is, you’re aware of your feelings and are aware that life isn’t only about feeling shit. it’s normal to feel “sad” sometimes. The trick is not to get stuck in the pit.

    now, stop looking for sympathy and ranting like a mavis; that’s my job! 🙂


  22. That “flu” hits me every few months or so and I’m only greatful it ebbs and flows… but then comes the “cold” which consists of beating yourself up for having the “flu.”

    Huh? 🙂


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