Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘depression’

I had forgotten about the depression i had felt in this zone – the memory of its intensity slipped away and now it has come crushing back, holding on deep. I remember the way I often felt here before, not only the deep spiraled down weeks, but how low my base mood often was. As i write this i know that it is not only here that i have felt this way, but the grey and the chill hang onto me and i wonder if this region was really any good for me. I know i have come back time and time again, but i have also left just as many times as i had arrived.

There are so many thoughts and emotions caught up in this place, feelings that i had forgotten about. The details are still blank to me, but this deep feeling has returned. when i got to harbin about a month ago i know people said my face had changed, and now i feel it changing again, and i do not like what i see.

And that is part of the problem; i do not like what i see. But how much of it is the place, and how much is it me. Seattle has never been my favorite place, i down right disliked for a long while. Slowly i warmed up to it, but those were the last two times where i only planned to pass on through. And that is what i am doing this time.

I ’m no longer sure why I came up here, except as a stepping off point. Port Townsend and Alaska had both been in my mind, and i head off to the former tomorrow a destination planned long before i arrived.

I didn’t come back up to Seattle per se, and I’m not sure why I stay here so long. Part of it always is with what I wish to avoid. And it’s funny that i find myself in exactly the element i did not want to return to in San Francisco in the downtown hostel and i am now many miles away. I am in a hostel, one that i liked before, but in the centre of town with the noise and buzz. The hostel too, is somewhat depressing, but there is more interaction here, i have chatted with a few of my dorm mates, a long conversation yesterday, and with some at dinner the other night. But i have met more in the smoking room, the underbelly of this place for it is dark in there, not only with cigarette smoke but with alcohol and drugs and people who seem to be wasting their lives. And maybe that is why i find myself there, and why i pull away – so many fascinating stories of lives and dreams, some similar to my own. And so many seemingly broken down. I am not as lonely here, but i don’t always like who i see in the mirror. I imagine i am on a ship in my bed, with its curtains around. The vibrations of the city get to me.

Part of me came on the way to Port Townsend, the place where i will go tomorrow. It has called back and forth over the years, so i cannot judge this process until i see what happens there. It has been a place of dreams, a nice small town that seems to work, with arts and culture and nature too, but a place i never felt i could stay.

And i also thought of Alaska, that mysterious inside passage up the coast which I’m certain is in a world of its own. But the more i see Alaska is not where to go, but with the amount of energy invested in it, it is still a place that i might end up. Several are here in the hostel on their ways up there, poor uneducated southerners going to work on the fish processing boats, 14-16 hours a day, 7 days a week, for cents more an hour than minimum wage. The overtime and living on the ship is how they can take their earnings home with them. And when i think of Alaska i think of selling poison at the convenience store and living in my tent in the rain and blow drying socks and shoes in the public bathroom. It too has beauty, and at times i was alive, but i know that summer, something in me died. i learned many lessons i still value and hang on to a few casual friends, but i do not believe it is something i want to experience again

On my way up here, and as i was writing before, i realized that the north is where i have more often gone when i have felt the need to run and hide and given up on other dreams. And come to think of it, this area in general is where i gave up on many dreams, and ran back to when i did not know where to go. Its beauty seductive in a nurturing way, but it is also a place that closed on in and a place where i spent much time wandering lost. And maybe that is why this depression comes on, an emotion i have felt here so many times before, and while I am not conscious of it when i plan to come, buried inside it is the most profound memory.

And that voice comes back, just give up on your dreams, who were you to imagine that you ever could. Tears run down my face and snot drips onto the keyboard, and i can’t help feeling that maybe they were right. I have died inside so many times, and i have survived all right, but the body is more worn and all is ragged, and do i just give up the fight, for that is how it has felt so much of my life, a fight to preserve the integrity of that light inside.

i now remember saying i was a survivor as i sat doing phone surveys in Vancouver so many years ago, my university diploma and dreams set aside, and i walking in the rain with teary vacant eyes. i remember sitting looking at the want ads and trying so desperately to find something that called to me, and doing temp office jobs oh so badly. And i think of Victoria, going back there, finally working for minimum wage, the roommate who told me not to dream, and going into that employment office day after day staring blankly at the screen.

And i think of all those broken dreams and i wonder what brought me back here again. is it because my situation is so desperate, that it is time to give up on the dream, but i see all those empty and cracked shells of people on the street and i can let it go again. For i am empty now, and though this is self indulgent crap, for the moment it is all that i have. Is it the throwing away the dream time after time, or is the clinging on to what thin threads that remained, that has brought me to this place once again. And i feel the sadness and i feel the tears, and the heaviness and emptiness i carried with me all these years. I said that my memories of these places were gone, but as i write they come up again. And can i write them through.

Am i like one of those who passed through this place on the way to the gold rush trail? I say to myself my dreams are not of gold, but they are of somehow doing something in the world. but the truth be told, the way i have lived, i would have never made it up there. I would have been one of the many who turned back disappointed and broke. And is it false gold that i chase, and why do i have to venture so far o fail to find what i am looking for and to find that the true gold is contained within.

And maybe it is the rain that brings these memories up, and maybe it is the denseness of energy here that keeps them in place. At first i thought that it was this city itself, but now i see that it is so much more. But while my memories of this place are few,

The first time i arrived here in 1986 was on the Green Tortoise bus though there was no hostel here at the time. It was late night, after dark and we arrived in a deserted parking lot. I went to the YMCA/YWCA downtown in the office building zone. The streets were deserted beneath the closed tall buildings, only a few sleeping on the street, and i felt alone and a bit afraid, feeling that no one would be around if i needed to yell for help. It was the first time i had been in an empty core of a city, and i wanted to get out. I know i only stayed a day or two and then made my way up to Victoria or Vancouver for the first time and come to think of it, i saw the beauty and felt out of place and hurried on away from there.

I returned again in 1988, and hostelling international had opened a hostel down the steps right near here in pikes place market. I had been in Victoria after a summer in Banff and had wandered a bit on Vancouver island, in the rain in Nanaimo, and felt depressed and lost. I wanted to return to the east on the green tortoise bus, but i had my dates mixed up and found that the last bus out had left a few days before. The stairs down to the hostel were narrow and dark and i wondered who might be lurking there. Went on a tour to mount rainier, but never saw the mountain beneath the clouds. Went out and saw a film on Da Vinci in the university district, felt the neighborhoods here in the west so spread out. Made my way back up to Victoria and headed back east via prince Rupert and PEI, only to return to Vancouver several months later even sadder than before. the dreams of my university days and writing a book were long gone by then.

I did not come to this coast for years, but passed through the city on my way up to Vancouver in 2001. I was running back north after 9/11 and had a few hours after a 24-hour greyhound ride up from san Francisco on a completely full bus. i stepped outside to get a coffee and did not know where to go. I saw some people on the way to work with starbucks cups in their hands, i tried to ask where the starbucks was, but seeing the pack on my back no one would respond. i was much more clean cut then and my travel clothes were new, but i will never forget the looks of horror, contempt and fear that were directed at me that day.

I stayed here for a week or two a couple years ago. But then again by the time i arrived i had given up on my dreams, of writing, of walking a pilgrimage towards god, of finding a place where i could be. I was so lost then, that i no longer knew what they were. I had told myself the previous fall that i would go up to Alaska, which had once been a forbidden dream (another version of the story yet to be told), if i still was wandering by spring. Spring came around and up there i went, though in my time here in Seattle i discovered many museums on free days, and walked around the different neighborhoods, and found that this place was not all gloom – but it did not leave a positive impression on me.

But it is not Seattle i came back to, but this area in general. For the northwest has called me back time and time again, and each time i have found the heaviness waiting here for me. And have i clung to it, or has it clung to me, and it is time to leave the clinging behind. And it’s funny I no longer have any desire to return to Canada. Seattle is more on the BC back packer trail and leaflets and signs for hostels on Vancouver Island and the mainland abound. Though I have been to many of them, the memories have faded away. Perhaps not the memories but the clinging that held me on. For except when i sit and write, i have not felt a strong emotion towards the place, though i have visualized Vancouver in the sun, And maybe, just maybe, i have let that phase of my life go – not with anger, not with remorse, but just as something that was. For all my experiences there, the happy and the sad, the connections made and those let go, have helped make me who i am today. And if nothing else, i came to appreciate the nature around – the forests, mountains and the seas, and the powerful spirits that live there.

And did i need to come back here to tell the story that i wished to tell, and being here i tell a very different story than if i had written it from away. For often i remember the sun and forget the grey. And the grey was so real for me, and i know i cannot just push it away, but i can be like the colour no more.

I was tempted to go for a moment to Seaside on my way back up here, but did not want to bring forth the energies of that place, for they were heavy too. I hesitated and then said to myself, i do not need to relive the memories there, and I can leave them behind. But as i have sunk into this rainy zone i thought of one story that i wish to share.

I think though of a woman i met last time i was there, i was still feeling the high of harbin through i had been brought down some in Eugene. She was lonely and began to tell me her story, how she had stopped drinking a year before and then her life basically went to hell. She had an accident broke her hip, never really fixed and lost her place in the process. I let her go on and on at first, feeling that she just needed to let it out. but on and on and on it went until i could be around her no more, my energy drained away. For the story became one long constant whine and more self-pitying ever day. And for a while, that story became her life.

it got me to thinking while we need to speak out to let the energy process through, not hold it within and let it stagnate and grow (like the energy does in the northwest) and at what point does that story become itself, and feeds the negative energy within.. And in my telling of my sadness here, what process am i feeding through. And can we transmute that energy within or do we need a light to shine on us. And i think that is here on the coast, that the cycle becomes intensified, fewer places for it to sweep out. And as I write this story, I think I feed it too. For this is part of my story, and one of the lens i filter much through but i must remember it is only a part and there are other lens with which to see. And i realize the story effects what i see and helps perpetuate itself.

The last time i was here was but for a day, in late May on my way from Indralaya on Orcas Island down to Harbin in California. The gloom and rain and all so much more had brought me down up there, or maybe it was in the thickness of the air; energies returned to me and could not be shaken off and i knew i had to return down south. I had come from port townsend, a place that i love but i had to journey on. It was a hot sunny time at the end of May, and i felt the joy in this place. I had been out in the country for such a long time, and the diversity of the place sung to me, I went up to the area around capitol hill, to find groceries and a bite to eat. the sun was shining and all felt alive, sitting in a park where people and dogs played and the streets were full of life. And it is funny, because that was the main memory i had when i came back up here this time.

And i listen to the rain outside.

Read Full Post »