Dear Dirty America


Chronic Depression Solved With Vitamin B & Tagore

June 27
19:10 2012
Denver, Colorado


There’s little worse in life than chronic depression. David Foster Wallace described it as the feeling of every single cell in one’s body aching. At least I think he said that, but I don’t have the necessary resources to look up the quote because I’ve marooned myself in a coffee shop in Denver. Am I downtown, or uptown? I don’t even know. But I wound up at Fluid Coffee Bar. The coffee is made well, and Raymond Chandler would be proud. It’s dark, black, brewed right to let the subtle flavors ripple along the tongue and pleasantly smart in the back of the mouth.

This isn’t a coffee shop review, although I have done them. But I loathe it. Every time I try to get creative with a review, the publication turns it down because it doesn’t read like ‘normal’ reviews. I’d even created a very complex 5-star rating system that only I understood. It was heavily weighted on how much I liked the coffee. The atmosphere, service, and overall prices of the shop didn’t dictate so strongly the level of awarded stars.

I started out with depression. Back to it, man! So many people are in the dumps. We’re a disenchanted, soul-sick nation, and we don’t know how to fix it. I don’t either, but I get depressed a lot. I used to take the advice of my favorite cult leader, OSHO, who said to indulge in a bout of depression. Really sink into it. Ride the horrible waves of self-doubt, melancholy, and physical dis-ease.

Most people in this society don’t have time to wallow in their sadness and heartache for two weeks, like OSHO suggests, so then I tried Jiddu Krishnamurti’s suggestion. He said (paraphrasing), If you’re depressed, throw it off at once!

I then dumped OSHO’s ways, and at the first feeling of self-doubt, or that familiar deep ache that builds and creeps upward along the spine and snakes its way into the ears and fills up the cranium, I pictured that depression like a blanket and imagined throwing it off and leaving it behind.

For awhile, it worked. But what happens when that blanket of depression, which feels like it’s draped over your head, starts instead feeling like it’s your skin. Try throwing that off! Impossible. The dull ache and soulful woe prevails.

Just before I left North Dakota to embark on this journey back to my true motherland, Los Angeles, I discovered another way to combat depression. Some of my melancholy had been stemming from dietary issues. I’m a vegetarian. Some days I could qualify as vegan. I wasn’t getting all the B vitamins I should have been. Usually they are absorbed by eating meat.

That dietary dearth was, at first, draining physically and giving me dizzy spells and long bouts of drowsiness. I found a very cheap bottle of all the B vitamins in liquid form for only $4.88. I’m not writing this to do a product review! But this works, if you’re not eating meat. Or, if you are feeling lousy, check with a nutritionist or do your own research. It may very well be a dietary issue. It seems silly and simple. How could I have not thought about what I was eating?

Another short term solution to my depression was reading Gitanjali, written by Rabindranath Tagore. Words don’t often soothe me, unless I’m the one who wrote them, but Tagore had me smiling. From section twelve:

The traveler has to knock at every alien door to come to his own, and one has to wonder through all the outer worlds to reach the innermost shrine at the end.

My eyes strayed far and wide before I shut them and said, “Here art thou!”

The question and the cry, “Oh, where?” melt into the tears of a thousand streams and deluge the world with the flood of the assurance, “I am!”

I’ve never read a more astute, succinct observation that so adequately sums up that all is eternal and within. Tagore doesn’t say the traveler wanders far and wide to find his innermost shrine. He says the innermost shrine, which speaks to only one innermost. A solid core. When we travel deeply enough inward, we almost comically burst back into infinity.

Which seems antithetical to the notion of individuality and impressive American bootstraps. Once the individual takes his/her individuality far enough, and explores thoroughly enough, the connection to all else begins to reveal itself.

At least that’s been my experience. But could I ever write it or conceive it like Tagore? Not in this lifetime. To wind up this pathetic blog post and get back to life for awhile, I would like to again mention OSHO (if you haven’t looked him up yet, do so. You won’t be disappointed. Google. YouTube.) OSHO talked a lot of each person satisfying his own desires and experiences as a way to calm the inner turmoil and longing. To some, that seems selfish, but only when a person is satisfied and has served his or herself, can they then genuinely love and assist others in a meaningful way.

Maybe everybody already knows this. Or maybe I’m full of shit. Or I’m possibly misinterpreting a very nuanced message. Tell me what you think. I dare you. There’s a comments section. For people who want to disagree.

What does this post have to do with the Car Wreck Series? I’m not sure yet, but it’ll probably hit me while I drive through Utah.


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