Friday, March 21, 2014

To Laugh while Crying

Somewhere I read that it's easy to mistake the social media with the therapist' office. Let's make clear I am not seeking for my friends to give me therapy. I don't want them to convince me I'm "normal", whatever that means. I am what I am, and at every moment I'm the best I can be. That's all that matters really. Where is that on people's standards? I couldn't care less. The purpose of this post is just sharing some thoughts about depression. I could have posted it for the IWSG but it will be much longer than 300 words. If you don't suffer of depression (Congratulations!) you may want to skip it. If you do at some point, then you may find this useful and worth the time spent. 
Depression is like the seasons to me. I live it periodically. I've always had. It can get so bad in my case it might be labeled as suicidal. Centuries ago, I sought death actively. Until one day I vowed to myself I would not, under any circumstance end with my life. I gave my word of honor and dragons do not give their word lightly. Nevertheless, I still think of death. Sometimes I find myself wishing badly for it. I come to feel so tired of this endless war that I long for death with heart and mind and soul. Can't help it.

Through the centuries I also learned one doesn't need to put a gun in one's mouth, (or in this dragon's case, a bazooka) or eat the poison, or jump off a cliff, or something radical like that to end with one's life. I learned that one can also commit suicide by getting oneself ill. Bad diet, bad lifestyle, unhealthy habits, all those things that shorten the life span and are deliberately done, even if slow, that's also committing suicide. It's just not so frowned upon and condemned as taking radical measures but in blunt honestly, it's suicide all the same.

Ever since I promised I would not kill myself, but learn to control whatever wrong is in my head, and make the best of life and make my best to be the best I can be, the Higher Powers have crossed my path with Masters of Life. Once I was told I had schizophrenic tendencies.
Another time I was told I had sociopath tendencies. But there was one Master of Life who saw potential in me and gave me the choice of the blue pill and the red pill (The Matrix reference). One pill would drug me and make a world for me to live "comfortable" (and enslaved to it and its side-effects.) The other is the raw truth, but if I was strong enough, if I believed in myself, I would find out I was stronger than I ever imagined. I would learn who I truly were and what's my mission here, and I would be truly free.

I am one of those who laugh the hardest when I'm the saddest. The one that hugs everybody when I am in the greatest need of hugging myself but can't ask for it. I'm one of those who stays silent when everything is yelling in rage inside or that seeks to comfort people when I'm praying to get some comfort myself. As a suicidal, I feel the wish to die but I don't act upon it. On the contrary, I actively seek for the healthiest habits.  As a dragon, I sometimes feel murderous anger but I don't act upon it. As an anti-social person, it is sometimes a triumph in itself that I have not closed this blog, my FB and Twitter accounts, let alone post often or visit others' blogs.

Individually, I can deal with people, but in crowds they unnerve me. One of the biggest reasons why I will never again participate in an A to Z Challenge. I can't stand the pressure of visiting all those who visited me. I even wished no one would visit me or to disable the comments. I like friends, I just don't like to feel forced into anything. One to one, you give what you can give, and I give what I can give. Maybe you give more and give less, if measured by others' standards, but know this. The fact that someone doesn't love you the way you want, doesn't mean he doesn't love you with all he's got. You can bet all the dragon gives (even if just a smile sometimes) is the VERY BEST he can give.

You may read the words "sociopath" and "schizophrenic"  and think you're dealing here with a potential murderer (regardless the context). An hypocrite that fakes smiles and laughter because as a matter of fact he suffers from cyclic depression. One who tells others to be strong and positive when he has confessed he wishes for death. One who gives advice but keeps none for himself. I thought that too, once. I identified myself with a certain poem called To Laugh Crying -Reir Llorando- by Juan de Dios Peza (Find it at the bottom). It speaks of an incredible successful comedian who could make anyone laugh and forget their sorrows. Yet he was the most miserable, saddest man on England. Very often, people around me cannot fathom I can -and actually suffer- any kind of serious sorrow.

The truth is I might be one of the most honorable beings on this planet, but you know, not all honorable beings are flawless, perfect, beautiful and free-of-all-demons characters. I would indeed be an hypocrite if I would be like the Garrick from the poem. If I would encourage people to be brave but my acts would not prove my words to be true. Yes, I laugh loud when I am crying bad inside,  but I don't use laughter as a mask, the carpet under which you hide the trash. I laugh with the honest intent to feel better, to remind myself life is still worth living. I encourage people when I feel like shit because the answer to my problems is nowhere but within me, and by listening to myself, my thoughts and answers become clearer.

When I am beyond talking and laughing, there's always a hug. I also think if I were not me, but one of my dear friends, what would I tell them to make them feel better, to give them hope, to make them see they are strong enough to live through this. Remind them that the darkest hour only lasts 60 minutes and no night is eternal. Whatever would come to my mind then will do the job for me, because whatever I say I truly believe in it, no matter if it's for my friend or for myself.

"Hold your guts, put them back in place and take a step forward. Just one step at the time. Don't think on fear, don't think on pain, don't think on how long is the journey or try to understand the reason why you have to go through this. Don't think about how lonely you feel or how thick the darkness that surrounds you. Just think on one step forward. One step, one inch, one push, one deep breath more. There is no greater victory or truest honor than that of the one who keeps in the right path, in spite of all odds."

So don't content yourself with just faking the smile to save face. Make the laughter worth it. Give it purpose.

To Laugh Crying

Watching Garrick – an actor from England -
the people would say applauding:
“You are the funniest one on earth
and the happiest one…”
And the comedian would laugh.
Victims of melancholy, the highest lords,
during their darkest and heaviest nights
would go see the king of actors
and change their melancholy into roars of laughter.
Once, before a famous doctor,
came a man with eyes so somber:
“I suffer – he said -, an illness so horrible
as this paleness of my face”
“Nothing holds any enchantment or attractiveness;
I don’t care about my name or my fate
I die living an eternal melancholy
and my only hope is that of death”.
- Travel and distract yourself
- I’ve traveled so much!
- Search for readings
- I’ve read so much!
- Have a woman love you
- But I am loved
- Get a title
- I was born a noble
- Might you be poor?
- I have wealth
- Do you like compliments?
- I hear so many!
- What do you have as a family?
- My sadness
- Do you go to the cemeteries?
- Often, very often.
- Of your current life, do you have witnesses?
- Yes, but I don’t let them impose their burdens;
I call the dead my friends;
I call the living my executioners.
- It leaves me – added the doctor – perplexed
your illness and I must not scare you;
Take today this advise as a prescription
only watching Garrick you can be cured.
-Yes, Garrick… The most indolent
and austere society anxiously seeks him;
everyone who sees him, dies of laughter;
he has an amazing artistic grace.
- And me? Will he make me laugh?
-Ah, yes, I swear it;
he and no one but him; but… what disturbs you?
-So  – said the patient – I won’t be cured;
I am Garrick! Change my prescription.
How many are there who, tired of life,
ill with pain, dead with tedium,
make others laugh as the suicidal actor,
without finding a remedy for their illness!
Alas! How often we laugh when we cry!
Nobody trust the merriment of laughter,
because in those beings devoured by pain,
the soul groans when the face laughs!
If faith dies, if calm flees,
if our feet only step on thistles,
the tempest of the soul hurls to the face,
a sad lighting: a smile.
The carnival of the world is such a trickster,
that life is but a short masquerade;
here we learn to laugh with tears
and also to cry with laughter.
-Juan de Dios Peza (Reir Llorando)


  1. Faking it is not an option.
    You laugh well when it's needed and when you need it. That's what matters.
    Glad you are still with us, my dragon friend. Won't ask you to suffer the Challenge again.
    And I will not fake the challenges of my life right now.

    1. You're my good friend and I'm glad we have the chance to laugh together truthfully. :)

  2. My good friend,

    As one who lives with rather than suffers from my mental illness, you will be given a powerful gift by me. That gift is the gift of empathy. Beyond the sadness, the laughter you exude is not a fake response. It is a noble trait that displays that you care. And you know that we care about you.

    As for the A to Z, your concerns have been my concern. I have worked discreetly in the background with those who have struggled with it. No need for pressure, you must be true to yourself.

    I'm honoured to be your friend. Motivation and momentum towards that contentment you seek.

    In kindness, hope and goodwill,

    Your friend,


    1. Empathy is the greatest gift indeed. I know we understand each other well. Your friendship honors me as well, Gary. Dragon Hug.

  3. Hugs.
    I also battle with depression - my own and my partners. And find people frequently confronting. Particularly en masse.
    So yes, this post sang to me - and for me. Thank you. Be as good to yourself as you can.

    1. Dragon hug back at you! Thank YOU. The point of all this is to give our best, yes? :)

  4. "...the darkest hour only lasts 60 minutes." I have never heard that, but LOVE it. Funny how something so simple, so obvious could remain hidden so long.

    I've come to view depression as the silent killer. Even when it doesn't kill the life, it can kill the living of it and living without "living" is merely existence. Depression can come in many forms, for many reasons and in many degrees.

    My prayers of peace for you, for without peace there is no joy.

    1. I know exactly what you mean. I kind of thought the same. 60 minutes, so obvious. You know what I think? Peace, like happiness, is not a permanent thing. It's like the darkest hour. How long sunrise really last? It's all moments, you know. Instants. We're not sad all the time. And there are moments of honest joy, even if fleeting. (Thinking when my little nephew makes me laugh). Recall the instant and one finds there are many. Best we can do is to grasp them and embrace them. Instants. Minutes. Lingering on the brightest instead of the darkest. Cannot harm. ;)

  5. You and I are so much alike, Al. I could completely relate to portions of this post--especially the part about social expectations, people and crowds. And the part about depression and thoughts of suicide. I haven't struggled with the suicide part lately, thank goodness, but I've been there. I care about you, my friend. If you need a cyber hug, a kind word, or just someone to listen, you know where I am.

    1. Dragon hugs, Melissa! Thanks for the friendship and support. You're corresponded. Lots and lots of dragon hugs. :D

  6. Al,

    I would like to reach through this screen and hug you. I think that anyone who has lived with chronic pain also knows depression. Those two friends walk hand in hand. So, I know this place of which you speak. However, there is this need to always make it okay for the people around us. So, we plaster on the smile and crack the jokes. This shit hurts and we don't want them to worry or suffer. Does that mean it isn't real or doesn't come from a heartfelt place? No. Absolutely no. It is the only way we know to show our love.

    I cannot remember if you read my IWSG post for this month or not, but I am going to suggest that you get the book Unlearn Your Pain by Michael Schubiner, M.D. Frankly, it is amazing. It is changing my life. He gives us the direction to uncover and deal with all of the emotional pain we have so that we can rid ourselves of the physical pain that plagues us. All of those hurts, disappointments, and maybe most importantly RAGE that we carry inside toward the people who were so unkind and hurtful in our lives... He helps us to see how all of those painful incidents correlate to a physical illness. Once we can SEE THAT and BELIEVE IT then we can go through the steps to alleviate it. Let it go. Once and for all. Sometimes that means letting that rage out and saying all of the things you didn't say to the person who hurt you (not to them, but saying those things out loud and acknowledging that what you feel is hurt, anger, betrayal, and rage). It feels so good to just let that out.

    As soon as I started to acknowledge incidents from my childhood, early adult years, middle adult years, and even now the things that I'd suppressed, I began to feel better. The migraines eased just a bit. The depression lifted just a little. The fibromyalgia that can be a blight to my system backed off. And I believe that the more I let go of each one of these things the better I feel. This book feels a gift dropped into my lap that I never imagined receiving.

    So, if you get even a fraction of the benefit that I am seeing, it is worth it. Of course, most people who understand that Thoughts Are Pain are often completely "healed." The track record of doctors who practice this have an excellent success rate in patients who think that they can get better. Our minds are powerful; if we believe that we can't get better, we can't. Simple as that. So, I am finally on this road of changing my life to something that doesn't include chronic migraines, depression, and fibromyalgia and I want to scream it from the rooftops to anyone who suffers emotional pain.... You can get better. You just need the right tools. I believe that I have finally (after many, many years of searching) found them. If they also change YOUR life, then the miracle of this blog thing and the connections it creates is priceless. Truly priceless.

    Hugs to you my friend. And I hope you get the back. Let me know if you do and the changes it makes in your life. (And, no, I am not getting paid any money to promote this book. hahahahaha)

  7. I hope you get the book. I can't believe that I am still messing up words like back and book. They both start and end with "b" and "k" respectively. Egads.

    1. I figured that much, hahaha. I understand what you're saying and I am familiar with what you're discovering. I haven't read that book in particular but I've read a similar one. I found a lot of sense in there and actually it taught me to manage many other issues in my list. (Quite a long list as centuries passed by). I shall take a look at your recommendation and let you know what I think. I'm sure it will prove useful. :) Dragon Hugs!

  8. I am sending a huge cyber hug your way my friend. I know the restorative power a simple hug can give, I have needed them frequently myself over the last year or so. I relate to all you say regarding plastering on a happy face, supporting those around when all you want to do yourself is hide away or for someone to ask how you are doing. I am not doing A-Z either as I know I would not like the daily pressure involved. Take care.

    1. Amazing magic, hugs. :) Dragon hugs back at you. Plenty of them. Give the smile purpose, dear Suzanne and take care too, my friend.

  9. It takes courage to live in this world and face the challenges constantly hurled at us. It takes huge dragon courage to live in this world with depression and face those challenges, which grow in proportion to dragon size. "For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?"

    1. Your quote made me smile. The first thing I thought was about a beach on a sunny day. I could nearly feel the breeze. Quite relaxing. Thank you, mi dear lady! Dragon hugs!

    2. De nada and love fiery dragon hugs any time I can get them. :-)

  10. The dragon's fire burns away all pretenses.

    1. It is believed fire does have purifying properties, isn't it? :)

  11. I was born with a quiet, stable nature. I don't really have big highs or big lows. I am just continuously content (almost boring). I know what a blessing that is. My mother often suffers depression and has for all of my life. It's like sometimes her soul is trying to escape from her body she feels so distraught from this world. She too is backward in social situations and easily hurt. But she is also the most loving person I know. It's hard to counsel someone when you have no clue what their world is like, so I often find myself just ripped up by worry over how to make my mother's life happier.
    I don't agree with the diagnosis of sociopathic tendencies. I have experienced nothing but kindness and sensitivity from the dragon. And anger is often a self-medication for depression...that doesn't mean the person is truly uncaring toward others. (that's my humble opinion, totally not based in fact)

    1. I think you are lucky to not know how it is like but I understand your wish to understand and help your mom. It must be difficult being on the ohter side as well.
      As a matter of fact, my Master in Life said I should not pay much attention to what they believe I could be but to what I believed I could be and I believe I can be a good dragon. :)

  12. You are the twin of my soul. I could have written this. I read recently that creatives and mental illness are very similar in the portion of the brain used for imagination. Unlike "normal" people, creatives have that portion switched on all the time, the same as for mental illness. I found that revealing. A confirmation of the fine line we all must walk to answer our creativity. No wonder so many of us are suicidal.

    Many bolitas to you, my dragon friend with the caring heart. I need your hugs as much as you need mine. I might be holed up in my own depression but I'm always here for you, just as I know you're always here for me.

    1. You warm my heart with each bolita, you know. Yes, there is a fine line between genious and madness. I guess we are aware of that, or so the voices in our head remind us, hahaha. You got it right. We made a promise and I don't forget it. :)

  13. Sadly it seems that to be creative you must suffer and know that we your friends stand beside you all the way as do I your grandmother. Big dragon hugs Al and I hope your depression will lift and show you skies of blue

    1. Thank you Grandmother. Getting better already. I know you keep an eye on me. :) dragon hugs back at you!

  14. I may be a stranger to you, but my hug is no less sincere than those of your friends who are here supporting you. Thank you for being so open about such a difficult, personal thing. My best friend suffers from depression and I think she can gain a lot from reading this.

    This post was a powerful statement of who you are: a determined survivor who is, at every moment, the best he can be. No one can ask for more.

    1. Thank you very much for the hug and the support, Linda. It does count when it is given in honesty and empathy,regardless if it is from old friends or new ones. I do appreciate it very much. Dragon hug back at you.

  15. Hi Al - I'm always amazed at how much we learn from each other ... I don't suffer as such, but know people who do .. and am certain my father did (severely) ... but it's good to find out more and understand some of the things that eat away at others ...

    A gentle wrapping of my arms around you just to let you know I feel for you ... and hugs are always much welcomed - even fire-breathing dragon ones ...

    As for the A-Z - it is a crazy month .. I just do what I can .. I help as a minion, and through it have met some wonderful bloggers ... and many are here .. we're lucky to be in this group of blogging buddies, so many of us understand each other and appreciate our worlds ... so I'm happy with the A-Z - but understand withdrawal symptoms and hiding behind a bushel in April!

    I hope the Spring helps you and keeps your equilibrium more stable for a while .. with thoughts - Hilary

    1. Yes you are right. I have also come to learn a lot from the friends I have done here, and in a great extent it is for my friends that I make the effort to stay in contact somehow. I think it is worthy. Thank you for your words, Hillary and your thoughs. Dragon hugs.

  16. I can relate to so much of what you've written and see myself in the person who smiles and laughs when they are the saddest. I wear a pretty mask most of the time but I do it for my children. They need me to be stable and strong and that's what I'm going to be--for them, even if inside it gets a little crazy. I also understand how you feel about A-Z. I sometimes feel the same way about blogging in general, it can be so overwhelming sometimes. So don't worry about commenting back on my blog, in fact you can't--I disabled the commenting option for today ;) Just enjoy the moments of serenity and take comfort in knowing you have so many friends that understand and are here for you. Hugs to you my dragon friend. :)

    1. Understanding gives me so much serenity I am actually amazed. I didnt expect it like this. Thank you for coming and for the comfort you have just given me, Elise. Dragon hugs back at you. Be blessed.

  17. I envy people with a passion for life and doing stuff, going out and meeting new people with ease (looks like they're having fun), but I've never been that sort of person and never will be. Trying to force yourself to fit in with the norm is exhausting and not much fun if it isn't your thing.

    Moody Writing

    1. Century distilled wisdom, Moody. One should stop distressing about not being able to do the things that others can do. Not easy but in time we learn to find our own fun.

  18. It takes such strength to accept the bad things about yourself along with the good, to walk through difficult times and come out the other side, and to be honest instead of faking it. I think you'd be surprised how many people have the same feelings you are but hide it from others. You're not alone, and you're an inspiration to those around you.

    1. I am surprised already, Lexa, my friend. Thanks for coming and for your kind words. They mean a lot to me. Dragon hugs.

  19. I feel you, Father Dragon. I've often wondered if my writing slumps are associated with depression, and this is the best self-psychoanalyzing as a behavioral science major that I can do. It never does one any good to be false with yourself. It's posts like these that take courage beyond measure. You have an armored shoulder to lean on with me (just don't lean too--I'm not to be mistaken for a tent stake). :)

    1. You made me laugh with that picture you put in my mind, Sir David. Thanks for that and for the honest offer! :)

  20. "I am what I am," says Popeye the sailor. Roughly translated :)

    I feel you good sir. I am addicted to sharp things myself - the look, the feel, the broken prospects. The angst and romance of an appropriate end. The need to protest the inevitable fate of a life lived in doubt. And then to see the light possibility, of a new day, a new beginning, no matter how brief the illumination. Such pretties illuminate the path to destruction, so much energy to distract the hungry darkness. Do we long for the simplicity of the one true choice?

    Perhaps. Butterfly kisses, unexpected hugs, and whispered words on the winds of chaos tug at destiny's strands. Life is a delicate venture, always requiring distracted attention. Those of us bereft of eternal hope take pleasure in the small things of daily accomplishments; the sun rose in the east, one more breath was taken, the earth rotated another day. Life finds a way; love endures.

    Laugh now, Cry later. Always be real, be true to yourself.

    Love you. XXOO


    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I find a poetic touch to your words. Pain in sublime description. I like it. :) It echoes inside my chest, like a song. I shall read it several times. I know I will find new meanings. Thank you for taking the time to write it and share with me. I love you too. :D Dragon Hugs!

  21. "Final victory depends on you lighting the Beacon of Hope to destroy the Devourers."

  22. Hey Al,

    Thanks for sharing this, although we've touched on it in the past. I think I could have written much of this post myself.

    I pulled out of the A-Z (and IWSG) for exactly that reason, and I've even felt so much guilt when I post a post because I have no time to spend "following up" with all the stuff that makes it work. But right now, my life is busy and I have to go with it rather than feel like I'm constantly swimming upstream. Take care, and if you ever need, you know my email. And, if you have a chance, see what I've done with my office space. Here's the link below (it was featured on Nutschell's Wednesday Writer's Workspace).

    Check out my office remodel!

  23. Depression is a terrible disease Father Dragon Al. I know someone that struggles everyday even on medication. Just keep moving forward I guess. (That's not advice. Just good wishes). As for the challenge, while it's enjoyable it's not something I can meaningfully contribute too, so I'm bowing out too.

  24. I think you are terribly brave, courageous, and good. Lots of SHs to you.

  25. Yes, terribly brave! Kudos for your complete honesty, that is hard to do, but you seem to have found the formula for expression, compassion, and love all wrapped in Dragon Hugs! Well said, and as I read the comments, very much needed by a number of us! Sharing your Dragon heart gives so much to us your friends, thank you!

  26. You are truly brave and honourable!
    Continue just being who you are! You are loved and appreciated!
    Ubuntu-filled hugs to you dear Al!!

  27. More hugs for you. I admire your courage. You truly have the heart of a great dragon. I've had my own battles with depression and the mental and physical scars from them, but thankfully age has mellowed me.

  28. Thanks for sharing this post Al. I never realized that you have undergone so much depression. You come across as a strong person. I always know that I can depend on you. Hugs to you lovely and brave Father Dragon.

  29. I am truly blessed to have found this blog today. Your words are so poignant and really convey the disease of depression. Your inner strength just shines through your words along with your inner beauty. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. Again, I can't thank you enough for sharing this part of you.

    Many hugs my new friend,

    AJ's wHooligan in the A-Z Challenge

    and thank you so much for stopping by my blog today.