Depression Comix by Clay: Childhood Depression

Clay seems to know my life…hey, maybe I’m not alone!

Depression Comix


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Driving the hour-and-a-half into Asheville for my weekly therapy appointment, I pulled into my favorite coffee spot.  Looked around for the backpack that serves as my purse.  Not where it normally is.  Searched the car.  No backpack.  No wallet, no driver’s license, no cash, no credit card, and worst of all, NO COFFEE!  And no shopping for Shabbat dinner, no Thai food, no nothing that I usually do on Thursdays.

A rush of emotions fluttered by.  I thought about factors that might have contributed to this grave omission.

Oh, it could be that if I had my “stuff” then at the time I would be heading home, a tree would have fallen on top of my car and I would be instantly killed, so the Deity made my pack temporarily invisible so I would have to come home early, thus avoiding the tree.  I saw that happen once.  The tree fell on this woman’s car, crushing it and killing her immediately.

To be honest, that doesn’t sound half bad to me, and I found myself once more angry at G-d for keeping me here.  That is a recurring them in my life and always has been, no matter what kind of wonderful person I am and no matter who fervently wishes I would stay.  Passive suicidality, I would call it.

On the other hand, it could simply be exhaustion.  My brain is thoroughly addled by, oh, just everything.  Dad, Mom, war, growing anti-Semitism everywhere, you name it–I am exhausted and overwhelmed by it all.

I am grateful that nobody is lobbing bombs at my barn (did I mention the “living in a barn with no bathroom” part?).  I feel sorry for the Arabs whose houses are rubble, and once again I’m mystified that the common person cannot look at a picture of a demolished mosque, dome intact, and realize that if it had been bombed from above, the dome would have been destroyed.  Ballistics 101.  Not hard to figure out that the building IMPLODED, meaning that it was sitting on a cache of explosives.  Not hard to see, but people don’t often look at things with a critical eye.

I apologize to people who have sent me manuscripts and interviews, and I have not done anything with them yet.  That goes for emails, too.  I know I’ll get back on my feet pretty soon, but for now….I’m knackered, done in, overwhelmed, and exhausted.  I’m going to bed.

Blessings to all, and to all a Good Night.

Through A Glass Darkly

Dear blogging friends, I am going to publish something that may upset you.  Please believe me, I am not a person who judges others according to their race, religion, national origin, or beliefs….as long as those beliefs do not include racism, religious intolerance, espousal of genocide, hatred, murder, or the worship of martyrdom.

Unfortunately, the Jewish People have been on the receiving end of all of the negative things I’ve listed above.  The mere fact that we still exist is a miracle.

According the the Pew Research Religion and Public Life Project, the world religion landscape looks like this:

Christians 31.5%

Muslims 23.2%

Unaffiliated 16.3%

Hindus 15%

Buddhists 7.1%

Folk Religionists 5.9%

Other Religions 0.8%

Jews 0.2%

That’s right, folks, Jews make up 0.2% of world religions!  Yet not one day goes by that the Jews are not in the news.  Jews in the News!

Jews make up 22% of Nobel Laureates, even though we make up 0.2% of the world’s religious affiliation.

It is my opinion that the overwhelming success of the Jewish People in education, business, academics, medicine, and survival of the endless persecutions we have endured, have made us even more hated by those who would wipe us off the face of the earth.

Now, Israel.

First of all I must make a few remarks about the recent (i.e., not Biblical) history of the connection of the Land of Israel and the Jewish People.

In the year 70 of the Common Era, the very same Romans who killed not only Jesus, but hundreds of other Jewish martyrs–in the year 70 of the Common Era (Jews reckon time differently), the Romans sacked Jerusalem and drove the Jews into the hills.  In the year 640 C.E., the Moslem Conquest replaced the Romans, and the Jews were faced with forced conversion, death, or eviction from The Land.

Most fled, many chose forced conversion rather than leave the beloved Land, and some disappeared into crevices and caves.  They never left.  They are still there, but now live openly in their Land.

The Land then underwent a period of serial conquests by Christians and various Caliphates, finally settling into the Ottoman Empire, ceding to the British Empire, and finally becoming the Jewish State in 1948.

Even though the State of Israel began with a vicious war and has been at war ever since, Jews from other Middle Eastern countries such as Morocco, Egypt, Algiers, Iraq, Iran, Syria, etc. etc. made their way back home–some voluntarily, and many because of forced evictions from their home countries, which became one by one Islamized and forced the Jews out violently.  In fact, some 900,000 Middle Eastern Jews were evicted starting in the late 1800s and continuing until now, when the few staunch holdouts are finally being forced out or outright killed.

Back to Israel.  Did you know that tiny Israel, the size of the state of Rhode Island (the smallest state in the United States), is surrounded by 23 Moslem countries?  Take a look at the map on the Pew Foundation map to get an idea of what that looks like.

You must understand, we are a thorn in the Moslem Middle East’s side!  What is this tiny state full of historic enemies doing right in the middle of a solid bloc of Moslem countries?

And to add insult to injury, we (Israel) have taken in several other ethnic groups that are unwelcome and have been severely persecuted in Moslem countries: Baha’i, Druze, Christians (of course!),  and although no one wants to admit it, the Bedouin, who were at one time a migratory people with their own belief system and language, who now live in Israel (not without their own set of problems, but they have the same rights as anyone else in Israel).

Now we come to the Palestinian People and the awful conflicts we have.

Everyone who does not understand the fundamental differences between the Palestinians and the Jews likes to point to the 0.2% and shout, “Why can’t you just get along?”

This is why.

Le’Chayim!  To Life!  We will live and not die, even if we must fight and fight to keep on living.  Le’Chayim!

Talking Shop

I don’t know whether you’ve noticed, but I’ve noticed, that I haven’t been posting.

Lord knows I’ve wanted to.

Blogging serves many purposes for me, as I’m sure it does for you: catharsis, self-expression, connection, community, dialogue, intellectual challenge, exercise and sharpening of one’s writers’ craft teeth, etc.

But: things around here have been less than peachy.

Dad had another stroke a week ago, was in a coma for a couple of days.  Then he began his struggle back into This World.  He’s not quite as “with it” as he was before–and he wasn’t too “with it” then either–but sometimes he knows where he is.  Thankfully he still knows who I am.

While we thought he was dying or about to die, there was a certain amount of drama (really?!) on the part of my mother, who actually hugged me and wept on my shoulder for an uncomfortable while.  I do feel sorry for her, but not that sorry.  But it’s not as if I would push my mother away while she’s having a dramatic sad moment, or a sadly dramatic moment, being about to lose her husband of sixty-six years.

Life is now a patchwork of caregivers and nurses coming in and out of the house.  That’s good, because I cannot help with physical needs other than the food-related ones.  I can prepare food, and help him eat it; and if he’s too “out of it” to get his food into his mouth, I can feed him.  Some days he’s able to feed himself, and some days he’s just too exhausted.  He’s hungry, but he just can’t manage the eating part.  I never realized how complex the act of eating is, until this experience of watching Dad’s stepwise loss of the mechanical ability to manipulate food, even with his hands, let alone utensils.

Once it’s in his mouth he can usually chew it up and swallow, but sometimes he needs his food “blenderized” and sometimes he just can’t eat at all.  I know that’s part of dying.  And sometimes he absolutely refuses to eat, and that’s part of dying too.

We try to keep him hydrated, at least.  He’s on a medicine that decreases the fluid in his blood, taking some stress off his heart, which does make him feel better but causes increased urination, so getting the fluids into him is important.  I know, it seems paradoxical: on one hand, taking the fluids out, on the other, shoving them in.

The other day we were sitting alone together, watching the afternoon coming in through the brilliant greens of the forest canopy, and he said:  “You and I need to go up into the woods and talk shop.”

I know what he meant.

We have always been best buddies, even when times weren’t so good, even though he served as my own private “Flying Monkey” who tried to explain away my mother’s evil ways.  I always came back, for my dad.  Here I am!

Just about every night, starting from…when?  Maybe after I got back off the road, when I was seventeen–every night when I was visiting and would be staying over, my dad and I would sit up late drinking whiskey and “talking shop.”  We would solve the world’s problems, solve problems for worlds that were entirely theoretical at the time but in fact exist now, and dig deep into authors, poetry, philosophical genres, the nature of human existence, art (of course), artists (same), relationships of all sorts….and now and then my mother would stick her head down the stairway to ask us to please “keep it down.”

I do salute her for allowing us those times together and not throwing a monkey-wrench into things, which she is quite capable of doing.  She knew that those late-night rap sessions were sacred.

The only time my dad and I ever got into a shouting match was oh, around 3 am when we were both three sheets to the wind, and somehow or other we fell into the topic: “Does God have a sense of humor?”

He staunchly and solidly maintained that God does NOT have a sense of humor.  The Holocaust.

I equally stubbornly held that God DOES have a sense of humor, because WE exist and that is the ridiculous proof!

Neither of us would budge, and having put a good dent in a fifth of Bourbon whiskey, the volume worked its way up until we were actually shouting at each other in earnest.  Luckily my mother yelled down the stairs for us to “knock it off down there.”  We sheepishly toasted “to Life” and stumbled off to our respective beds.  We never did resolve that point.

So, we need to go up into the woods and talk shop.  Some more.  Soon.