Garbage In, Garbage Out

Image courtesy of Stockvault.

A couple years back, I deleted a bunch of my posts. I was in the middle of a really bad depressive episode, and I let it get the better of me. Since then, my posts have gotten more infrequent and more pessimistic. It’s a change I’ve been aware of, but not constantly wanting to face. Writing here feels like I’m always delivering bad news. That fact weighs on me.

I’ve always struggled with self-censorship. It’s there in the posts that I’ve made private and the ones I’ve deleted, as well as the ones where I’m bitching about what I’m not doing now. The lack of writing has hurt me in more ways than I’d like to put down here. Worse, I’m spending more time avoiding people than I am trying to just get my head on straight.

All of this is a function of my perspective. My mind still isn’t strong enough to fully deal with negative, irrational input. The garbage comes in, and then I put garbage out. Healing is what I’m supposed to be doing here, but I get frustrated that this isn’t what I’m accomplishing. Perspective turns the mess in my synapses into a narrative that’s abysmal.

Of course this is something I’ve lived with my entire life. It’s a symptom of my depression. There’s no help for it; it just is how my mind works. The problem has to be dealt with in a way that reorients my mind. Right now I’m writing this (again) because I need that reminder if I’m ever going to survive as a person.

Thinking of that terrifies me. It reminds me also of the life and death struggle I’m constantly in. My worry is that I won’t survive it. My fear is that it will end me, and despite all that I’ve written here, nobody will actually have an idea of the person I am. I don’t even know who that person is sometimes.

Okay, so that’s the negative part.
For those with depression who might be reading this, you probably know as well as I do that the simplest affirmations can be the hardest to come by. Depression is ultimately a denial of any light in the human condition, something that blinds a person to the point of being hurt and hopeless. It’s not an easy struggle. It’s also more real than other people can see.

Perspective is what matters. If I look only upon the garbage in my life, it will be the only thing I can give to others. In that regard, the decision is simple: find something that isn’t garbage.

Right now, I’m watching a spider climb the wall above my desk. There was a time when spiders disquieted me, where I might have felt the need to get rid of it. Nowadays, I recognize that they do some important things. They kill insects, many of which can do bad things to people. It has its own life to worry about, and it needs no interference from me.

No, it’s not a profound epiphany or giant leap forward for humanity. Personally, I think it is progress on my own account. I want that spider to do its thing, and I hope in return it will let me do my thing. Although, if I do keep seeing it without any food, I might be tempted to transplant it next to the lemon trees I’m growing in pots. More food is there, which might help me bring in a nice lemon harvest in the coming years.

4 thoughts on “Garbage In, Garbage Out

  1. Unfortunately, human nature includes an addition to framing. So, re “I’ve always struggled with self-censorship.” That may be so, but deleting previous posts may or may not be acts if self-censorship. There is an editorial dictum to “kill your darlings.” Your darlings being those elements in something you’ve written that you are enamored of. This is basically a statement that claims your darlings aren’t as cute as you think and if you eliminate them and replace them with something better, your writing will be better received.
    Of course, if you frame yourself as being always in the right or always positive, you are making another mistake. One of the things I learned from playing the board game Go, was that there are two valid ways of looking at things. One is primarily western in that we try to expunge our pasts, reframe our mistakes, and hide our failings. In more eastern traditions, one accepts what one has done in the past and then tries to build upon it, living with the uncomfortable. Of course, there are entire cultures supporting these viewpoints. I suspect that in tradition eastern cultures Internet trolls wouldn’t exist. Hurtful comments don’t get made (Manners, please!) and so there is less to expunge.

    So, if you look back on previous posts and find them awful, deleting them is not a bad idea. But another editor’s tip is before you take drastic action, put the thing in a desk drawer for a week and take it out again and see if your opinion was still valid, or rather a whim or bit of negativity that you were feeling at the time. So, make a list of posts you want to delete, the next time (also write a reason). Put the list away and come back to it and see if you feel the same way. (This is also a way of auditing your own feelings.)

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