losing the point
My friends will bear testimony that I am very fond of children. But I was bitter because, aged 39, I had no partner, no prospect of a partner and, more significantly, no prospect of motherhood. Maybe the party felt harder to cope with that day because my hopes had just taken a severe knock. I had been told by an unsentimental doctor’s receptionist that I was peri-menopausal (ie approaching the menopause) and the possibility of my bearing children was lodged somewhere between zero and infinitesimal.
The “what is the point?” conversation is the one for friends and family to look out for as a first clue to depression. This is not the “what is the point?” response of a child to doing homework or cleaning a bedroom; it is, rather, “what is the point of my being alive?” For depressives the feeling is often heightened when the reasons for depression are not obvious to themselves or, more importantly, to others. This leads to the cajoling (or worse, hectoring) question: “What have you got to be depressed about – you have a great job/partner/house/body?”
I come from a small, loving, middle-class family. I was not brought up to follow a particular religion, although as a child my grandmothers took me, and my only sister Amanda, to Sunday services at the local church in the Surrey town where we spent all our youth. What my parents did adhere to with near religious fervour was the observation of good manners. A framework of politeness in all situations was my firmest mould. Now, grown up, approaching a milestone of middle age, it was safe to say on paper I had more than most: a well-paid, challenging job in the media, to which I was virtually married, a lovely house without an enormous mortgage, often exciting relationships, great friends and I remained close to my stable family. And yet by August 2000 my predominant talent was for crying.
A fabulous article, thanks for the signpost. Sent it to my mum just so she could see some of what I went through myself about 18 months ago. Looking back now I’m amazed that I didn’t actually kill myself, like the author I didn’t realise how bad it had got until it was too late.
I feel like I’m on the other side of that major grieving but thought the article was another nice encapsulation of what it feels like to go through it.
I do struggle a bit still with meaning and purpose, however. It’s just on a milder level now.
Glad to know it spoke to you as well.
I have been thinking about you and sincerely hope you had a nice Thanksgiving. On your recommendation I (binge) watched Enlightenment- loved it! The episodes Sandy, About Helen, All I ever wanted were just so heartbreakingly real and great. Overall I found the show uplifting- besides the characters and storyline, I found it comforting to think- wow -Laura Dern can relate to all this!! I mean she has a sort of fantasy life and here she is co-creating and really getting deep into protrayal of a very unperfect and unHollywood character. Made me think I am not so alone in my thoughts. That even those were seemingly great lives can feel at times so alone and at time.
On another note, have you seen the movie Frances Ha? The first half I enjoyed so much- but the second half just depressed me. The main character is 27/28 and I feel like at 42, she and I are are the same place in life. Constantly having to recreate myself, feeling poor and being hurt over fragile friendships (although my life on the outside does not appear at all the way her life does in the movie– maybe this is the same about Laura Dern’s life?!?)
Also- I can only admit this anonymously– Frances Ha made me so mad at my husband. He is a good guy, but is struggling career wise– just made me wish I had sold out (and had been aware enough to) in my 20s for a high earner. I know this is awful but watch the movie and maybe you will see what I mean. Or maybe I am just warped? Not going to say more in case you havent seen it. It’s on Netflix!
Thanks for ranting and so glad you enjoyed Enlightened. Those were my three favorite episodes as well!
I’ve been taking a short break from writing the blog this week. Lots going on with the job search…plan to write more soon. My Thanksgiving has been with family, so a bit draining. Hope yours was a good one.
I kinda wanted to see Frances Ha but never got around to it. Based on your recommendation I’ll see if I can locate a copy.