Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Poetic Aside November Challenge Day 13 prompt "write and answer a question"

What is the Point of it All?

Once, when discussing at length
The origins of yet another crippling
Depression – and finding no source
A doctor I had come to respect told
Me with real wonder in his voice but
Tinged with sadness I thought—and came
To learn it was closer to real grief—
That ‘endogenous’ depressions – those
That come from nowhere, of no known
Origin or cause, and that he, and later I,
came to think of as ‘existential despair’
were probably the worst type to treat

For how do you tell someone who cannot
See the point to anything, the reason
For living, for getting up, for going to sleep
That it will get better by and by?
It’s not like they’ve suffered the loss
Of a loved one, or the death of a marriage
Or any of the normal things that trigger
The usual clinical depressions – no, it’s
Just the eking away of the pleasure in
Living that they are aware they once had
But have no longer; not only do they not
Have it, they have instead immeasurable
Pain and inexplicable confusion about why
They must stay alive at all; it makes little sense

Sylvia Plath suffered from such depressions
Exacerbated by the usual clinical type
As many endogenous depressives are, and
She ultimately could not see her way clear
To fight the demons off, to live past the inane
Pain of pointlessness that in the end stole
The rest of whatever remained of her life
Doctors are wiser now and often drug
Those of us with this weird combination
Of disorders until the mood passes, knowing
As they do, and as the patient sometimes
Grows to believe also, that, yes – it will pass

So – for that twilight time – if one is lucky
They are put out of their misery for the pointless
Period, until equilibrium is restored and the question
Retires to some portion of the mind to lay dormant
Until the next phase when it will rise and the battle
Will again be on and hopefully, won again.

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