Sunday, November 23, 2008

Funk, and Not the George Clinton/James Brown Kind...

Alright, I don't talk about this stuff with people. My wife, a couple close friends, that's it. So, either the anonymous quality of blogging, OR the fact that I feel some kind of responsibility to explain my absence to the people I have grown fond of while motivating me to write this.

I's got the funk. No, not the "Tear the Roof Off the Sucker" funk, the "clinically they call it depression" funk. I've had it since I was a kid. Not everyday, not a general sadness, or "down", nope...for me it was always a three/four times a year thing. I just couldn't get out of bed, or off the couch.

In the old days it could last for up to a week...for 4,5,6 days, I just didn't care about anything or anyone. I would either sleep for 20/22 hours a day, or I couldn't sleep at all. I wouldn't eat anything, and when I DID get hungry it was always for pure sugar...chocolate, washed-down with soda. It sucked.

These days, the funk doesn't come as often...the Swede and I were trying to remember the last one before this week...maybe a year, year and a half ago. It doesn't last as long...this one was 3-4 days, and the can kids break-through. I don't want to participate in anything, but I can get it together for them, to play or cuddle.

Thus my disappearance this week. As James Brown would say, "I got the funk!"

As I was thinking about writing this post, I thought some about why I don't share this people. "What's a matter, afraid you won't look macho anymore?", is what one friend asked me. I laughed.
I've shared this with some of you before. Whenever I hear someone say something like, "Real men don't ______ (cry, eat quiche, hold hands in public, etc.)" I always respond the same way.

"Real men" do whatever the fuck they want.
Growing into a "real man", in my opinion, requires this realization. Macho or "self actualized", soldier or shrink, becoming a man means you have to make decisions based on the values you decide are important in your life. Making decisions based on others' opinions of your actions, that's not "manhood", that's being a teenager...

So, why my hesitancy to share this aspect of my life with even those close to me? For me, I think it's vulnerability.
I wrote before about my dog, Miko. She was a sweet dog, never aggressive towards people or other animals, but she WAS a Pit-bull mix, and it was damn near impossible to tell when she was hurt. A vet once told me, that because of the breeds fighting background, Pit-bulls hide injury to mask vulnerability to possible opponents.
That's what I do. Given my childhood (I debate writing about it all the time, you'll be the first to know if I do.), and past profession, I share the same inherent trait with my late dog. I don't think "the funk" makes me less of a man, but it DOES make me vulnerable at times. So I hide it. Work thinks I'm sick, friends too, unless I "half-reveal" what's going on and tell them it's "family issues".

Like a Pit-bull that's not a fighter, I still don't know how to let people know I am "hurt". Then again, very few dogs have blogs...


DCD said...

Aw, sweetie. Sorry for the funk.

But - you at least have the right idea about the whole "man" thing. And I like the way you put it.

You are who you are - for good and funk. No one has the right to judge how much, or how little you choose to share. I'm glad to know you are coming out of it and hope the next one is a long way away.

Jen W said...

Thanks for sharing that. It wasn't until I had post-partum depression that I was able to relate to depression in general, and how debilitating it can be.

I used to be one of those people who would tell my depressed friend to "just snap out of it". But I know it's not that easy and I'm glad you have been able to get back on track. Like DCD, I hope your next time is far off in the future.

Possibly Moving Mom said...

I'm glad you're back -- I was worried about you.

Depression has been part of who I am for most of my life. I don't tell many people, and it's funny how there's a stigma attached, even for women (what I mean, is that it is definitely worse for men).

Several years ago I accidentally let it slip to one of my very best friends, and she was all embarrassed to ask me about it, and she has dealt with it, too.
The irony -- as a teenager she was a drug addict, a runaway and an "exotic dancer." We've discussed this more than once, but we had a hard time with depression.

I think it is harder for guys. My dad had it, never has admitted it, and is a retired opera singer (way less "macho" than your careers).

Anyway take care, and glad you are feeling better.

cIII said...

I hate the Funk.

My father had the Funk.

cIII said...

He didn't like to talk about it either. He mostly just ignored us.

Vodka Mom said...

I'm sorry about the funky stuff. We all have it, to some degree. However, I LOVED your last line. As I read your post (very well written, I might add) I was feeling so sad for you, and then BAM! the last line made me chuckle.

thanks. and thinking of you, lord funkiness.

AC said...

real men (and women) are brave enough to blog about it all.

imo almost everybody's got some kind of issue if you look closely enough. i think you're absolutely right about why this is hard for you to share. glad you did, and
very glad to have you back, miko.

rowan said...

In my world, "I'm fine" is code for "I am so NOT fine."

Funnily enough, when I got brave enough to actually say it outloud to friends, they weren't surprised. Guess I wasn't as sneaky as I thought. They figured it out long before I did.

No, you can't snap out of it, or suck it up but sometimes you can Blog It Out! When in doubt, leave it in draft.

Laggin said...

My personal experience with The Void was situational...not chronic...but it's awful. Like your own personal black cloud.

And it saddens me to no end to see it erupting in Eldest.

As Rowan says, blog it out. That's what's great about these virtual friendships, we are here, with little judgment and much support.

Here's to blue skies.

oneheavenlyheart said...

What's so funny when we get in our head is that we suddenly think we know what everyone else is thinking.

I think, I can't let them see me cry, they'll think I'm weak. I can't let them see me be unsure, they'll think I'm stupid. I can't let them know I"m in a funk, they'll think... or know... or figure out... or whatever.

Funny part is - whether you brave the ridicule and admit it or someone roots it out of you, what normally happens is they relate... THEY UNDERSTAND!

Anyone who is even moderately aware of themselves and their life will most likely admit that WE ALL have demons we struggle with, character flaws, genetic predispositions, or just a plain messed up life story.

I find the virtual world to be exceptionally cathartic - just a straight outpouring of my soul to the universe. Then I feel like it's off my shoulders and I can move on.

Thanks for sharing :)

Ms Picket To You said...

sometimes i think just saying it OUT LOUD helps. the whole thing is such a pit of isolation that having the balls and the energy to write it -- probably the best thing you could do. good for all the rest of us too who might need to know we're not alone.

Jamie said...

I, too, have the funk (that sounds sort of nasty, huh?)
Anyway, I have those times when it takes every bit of everything I have to just be. I can still find joy in things and I know how lucky I am for what I have BUT it's like living in a fog and I often wonder how wonderful life would be if the fog was lifted.

Carolyn...Online said...

My funk involves crawling into my head and living there quietly while lying in bed and reading. I'm very unpleasant to be around when I'm living in my head. I think the best thing you can do is just know that you do it - it makes it easier to make yourself get up, shower, put the book down, fake the happy until the happy comes back.

rowan said...

Time for you to show yourself again. Surely something happened this week for you to report...

Laggin said...

Dude. You are worrying me.

anymommy said...

That sucks. Sometimes being a little vulnerable can really help. Hope it helped you. I'm sorry you're having a rough time and that it cycles for you. I'm so glad your family is there to break through the haze for you.

PS I know a little something about pepsi addiction. Yuck.