Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Interesting "Gift"

So this big but thinnish box was delivered not too long ago from Didn't think too much about it because we've ordered from them before and we each figured it was probably something the other had done or maybe one of the kids had sent it. Besides we had a few problems like the ice storm and no electricity and stuff like that.

So Christmas morning we finally figured out we needed to investigate. So we opened it and inside this bubble wrap is a painting on canvas. We can tell it is an image of a couple of nude ladies but it is hard to see through the bubble wrap. We finally decided we had not ordered the thing and we didn't want to unwrap it.

We proceeded to hunt the painting on site. We searched for every term we could conceive. We found nothing. So finally I had to peel some of the wrap back and then I looked like I was on CSI. I had my flashlight and would have had my magnifying glass except I couldn't find it. I finally was able to read part of a name of the artist.

Here's the painting:

Turns out it is a reproduction of a painting by Franchois Boucher of Diana Resting After Her Bath (or one of several similar titles).

It was quite expensive so we figured someone was supposed to get this for Christmas. It definitely wasn't us.

This was the only Christmas happiness I really felt. Otherwise Christmas was a total depressing nightmare as far as I am concerned and I am glad it is gone.

I have not been so depressed in a very long while. I entered the dark place the day before and I'm pretty much still there except that I can sense the light is coming. I can't really see it yet but I can just barely feel it. So I know it is not long and I will be back outside.

I talk about it as a place. It seems like a place to me. It is black and I cannot see. I can't find anyone to help me. I have some room so I can move but not very much and soon I touch the surfaces that confine me. They are there but otherwise they do not feel like anything. They are not cold nor or they hot. They are not sharp nor or they dull. They are just there and beyond them I cannot go. If a happy thought arises then it is quenched violently and suddenly. There is no color. There is guilt and failure and fear and absurdity and repetitive trying over and over again. Yet, it is not particularly painful in here. It is more nothing than anything else. A place with no hope and no escape and no future. Sleep is a good thing to do when I'm in here except that there are dreams. It is an isolated place. I can sense others out there but I cannot reach them and they cannot reach me. That's what it is like on the inside.

On the outside I think I still look like myself. But I must look sad. Because I was asked if I were sad. I didn't want to answer but I told the truth. And then people want to try to do something to make you feel better and all that does is make you feel worse. Because if I could snap out of it I would. Food is apparently a remedy in many minds because they want to feed you. They want to know why you are sad. And I don't know why. And I don't want to talk about it.

Today, the day after, people ask "Did you have a good Christmas?" and I am honest for a while. But then I finally give up and just lie. "Oh yeah it was a great Christmas." It is a bit of a damper if you say I was depressed to beat hell.

Therapists say you should express your feelings. But you do it and you find out no one really wants that. People prefer the happy, have-it-all-together, optimistic, courageous, can-do person over the frail, failing, pessimistic, barely-holding-on person. There are two persons with whom one may honestly share thoughts. Some would say three: me, myself, and I. But there are two and me is one. The other is Jesus.

I feel like I don't have a family of my own anymore. I remember dad saying this and how it hurt my feelings at the time. I will not say that to my children or my brother or my wife because of that memory. But I know the feeling. It is a sad feeling.

It doesn't really help to listen to other people talk about Christmases past and who did this and who did that and you have no idea who any of these people are. And different dishes only serve to recall others no longer cooked and no longer remembered.

I know I am emerging from the shadows or should I say into them because I can write about the experience now. When I am at the bottom of the well of despair I cannot write or talk or do anything. So I must be emerging or I could not be writing.

I have wondered before if the dark place is actually a safe place. It doesn't seem safe when I'm there. But when I think more about it then I think it may be a safe place in fact. Like a circuit breaker maybe. The emotion becomes so strong that the breaker throws just like with electricity. Isolation goes both ways. It protects as much as it hurts.

There will be fence mending when I am back outside. I hope there is forgiveness.


~Betsy said...

Terry - you have such a wonderful way with words. Your description of the dark place is absolutely perfect for describing my own feelings. You're right - there are no painful, sharp feelings; only nothingness.

I pray you will find your way out of this deep well and begin to live again. There are no easy answers and no magic potion. There is just time marching on. Hopefully it is a healing march.

I have talked about a book I am reading in my blog entry today, "The Long Goodbye" by Patti Davis. I found one passage where the author struck a cord with me. On page 14, Ms. Davis talks about a conversation she had with her mother, Nancy Reagan:

"My mother said that when her mother died, she realized she was nobody's little girl anymore. The protective arms that had made the world a safer place were gone. She was standing exposed....
I listen carefully now to friends who have lost one or both of their parents. There are common threads running through their experiences. It was more wrenching, more of a jolt, for them to get to what my mother saw immediately. They first had to retrieve their childhoods, embrace the idea that they had always been their parents' child; only then came the sad realization that they were nobody's child anymore."

God bless, Terry. Please know I am here for you. I understand.

nancy said...


thank you for being so brutally honest in describing your feelings. you truly have a way with words. i could relate to a lot of what you were describing. the black feelingless space you described i have felt often these past 3 months.

i glad you can see yourself coming out of it as well. i wish you peace. i thought a lot about my blogger friends yesterday, especailly lori, betsy and you as my candle was lit.

blessings to you my friend.

Annie said...

"At the end of the tunnel, you can see a light, and if that ain't a train, you made it through the night," from "It's a New Day" NGDB

Thinking of you.

flintysooner said...

Thanks my friends. I appreciate you all. I am surprised at my depression because I was doing so well.

steflovesnonna said...


I feel like you just described the same place I go and have been stuck in for so long now. Its awful feeling so alone and scared in the dark not knowing what to do or who to trust. Everything seems so dull and muted. My friends are not the same and neither is my family but really its not them but myself. Thanks for sharing your feelings with us and I like everyone else in your life wishes I could help. Maybe at least the next time you find yourself in this dark place you can think of the dorky college kid from NY sitting next to you, maybe even holding your hand. Then neither of us have to be so alone anymore.

Joanne D. Kiggins said...

Terry, Your words made me feel as if I were in that dark place with you. I hope you find yourself coming into better days and brighter places. ((hugs))to you and all.

nancy said...

as an afterthought i got to thinking, will you keep the picture or try to track down the rightful owner?

SKYGIRL said...

Hi Terry, as I said, brutal honesty. I was thinking allot about You, and Nancy, & Betsy, especially around these Holidays, and thought "Oh, it will be so much easier for them, because they are not...alone?" And then I read enough of your posts, all of your posts, to realize that feeling alone is definately a 'state' of mind?

I am more alone than anyone I have ever know? No kids, no husband, no boyfriend, and very few, to no friends, since I moved here 7 1/2 year ago? (Not for lack of trying, though!) But, I rarely 'feel' alone? Isn't that weird? But loneliness is an awful feeling, and I think it is a feeling of seperateness, from other People, and from.....God. And that is why it feels so awful. We were not meant to 'be' or 'feel' alone.

I'm sure you will come out of your Cacoon, soon my friend. You are just licking your emotional wounds, totally normal, I think.

Lori1955 said...

Oh Terry, you describe that dark place so well. It is a place I visit often. For me it is a place filled with lonliness and fear. The fear however is not of the dark place but rather of coming out of the darkness. I'm so glad you were able to write about it. That truly is a step out. Now if we could all just figure how to stay out of there.

flintysooner said...

Took it over to UPS store and sent it back. I paid for it and insured it since it was worth $300+. Hopefully the business will decide to reimburse me.

Kind of thought about teasing someone with it as a fake gift just to see their reaction. Diana and other Greek gods and goddesses aren't really that popular here for hanging in living rooms and such.

dave said...

Thanks for your words, Terry.
Seems like you describe a place I have visited.
We were alone christmas and it was fine, except for a few minutes of panic from time to time.
I am afraid we are all more alike than we might have thought.
Thanks again.

*(¯`·¸*Chris*¸·´¯)* said...

Terry, I have visited that place often. When I think of hell on earth, I think of that place.

I understand...and am sending hugs across the miles to you.

cornbread hell said...

i too know that place. all too well. thank you for articulating it. somehow it helps.