A Discourse on Depression


Vincent (July 27th 1890)
Vincent (July 27th 1890)

(This was supposed to be a descriptive poem about the subject, but it was driven out of control by a deluge of        information.)


D is the fourth letter of the alphabet.
In China, four, would be an unlucky bet.
The glyph for four – and death – are almost the same,
and so that numeral has a bad name.
In Greek mythology Discordia was goddess of discord and strife.
She made sure there was dissension and disharmony in everyone’s life.
She was also sister to Panic, Terror, Trembling and Fear.
Does this kind of family sound in any way familiar?
In ancient Greece your inner spirit was a daemon.
in later times it became corrupted to – a demon.
Melancholia, was what we call – depression.
In some cultures it was handled by a shaman.
Two features noticed by Hippocrates,
were – “all fears and despondencies.”
It was a disease called – huzn – by Arab physicians.
Avicenna described a mood disorder with phobia and suspicions.
The play – Hamlet – was a study of depressive behaviour.
Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy was a 17th century saviour.
Some societies saw mental illness as a divine test,
to be treated with kindness, protection, and rest.
But medieval Europe did not see them as blessed.
The mentally ill were condemned as – possessed.
There was drastic and dreadful treatment in the Middle Ages.
Depressives and others confined to asylums in cages.
Locked up and tortured in dank dark cells.
It was said they were controlled by devils.
The sword of Damocles held by a single hair of thread,
is strategically placed above a depressive’s head.
Gradually programs for the mentally ill were enhanced.
Understanding and research, by Pinel, in France.
Today, with scans, we can actually see
where the brain behaves depressively.
It could be a chemical overload or imbalance,
electronic mis-firings, or a brain loop stance.
With counselling, the right drugs, and therapy,
those with depression may behave normally.


There is something about the letter – d.
When you look at it in the dictionary –
many words to describe depression you will see.

My days are ones of hours diminished.
I drag my feet until they are finished.
I have some mood pills to improve my day.
I take them until I feel okay.
Mental illness is a deep desolate well,
with a custom depression for a private hell.
Draped with a sign – don’t disturb me –
I drink my daily daiquiri.
After several, I don’t know my name,
and look like a bedraggled dame.
The alcohol rises behind the dam,
and drink destroys who I am.
Depressives delight in booze, it’s a carefree crutch,
but descent into alcoholism won’t help very much.
Driven to injecting heroin again
with a drastic drug dose to deaden the pain.
But the release that is given by that high
can also cause the body to die.
Damned and doomed to the addiction dance,
with the degradations, I’ll take my chance.
How many dances do I need to be disqualified?
To explain, to my liver, that at least I tried.
My subcolossal cingulate is over active.
It’s a driven action I cannot forgive.
A double dose of that kind of pain,
has isolated me, not caring to explain.
Despondent, disconnected, and distraught,
my internal agony is stretched taut.
I disappear into a dispassionate state,
unable to cope with this disease I hate.
This dysfunction can make me angry and defiant.
It also forces me to become self-reliant.
Drawn into this damaged area of my mind,
I am driven to leave my normal self behind.
Some degeneration of function I cannot see,
has managed to derange and dehumanize me.
Dejected and disheartened I cry a desolate sound,
of internal distress that I cannot be found.
Depression spells for me complete devastation.
Then my words are drivel, of mind deprivation.
Decelerate and diminish my manic velocity.
I need drastic help, not diffident pity.
Signposts in the right direction can stop the anxious descent.
Retrieve and rescue me, and discontinue my torment.
I need deliverance from drowning, with some hope.
Don’t throw me both ends of the rescue rope.
Decipher the daring daredevil’s dangerous dive.
That action could be bipolar’s manic overdrive.
If you notice a deranged or despondent look on my face –
I am detached and disoriented in a desultory place.
My reason drained and my senses distorted,
not just negative attitudes, as has been reported.
Motivation is deflated and destroyed in this condition.
I deteriorate and am detained within the brain’s prison.
My mind has been detonated by a chemical blast
with debris and detritus spreading fast.
Decontaminate the dust before it spreads.
It can magnify small events within your head.
Disproportionate reactions will then ensue
as the fallout aftermath overtakes you.
It is facile to say – don’t let it overwhelm, too.
With depression’s deluge, not so easy to do.
I long for those gloomy overcast days,
they reflect my mind in so many ways.
I favour the featureless faded landscape
within its drab borders I can escape.
If the dreary low cloud will lift again,
maybe there’s a chance for my draped brain.?
Depressives are not a delight to be around.
Many hide their defaults and go underground.
They use deception, deceit, and duplicity to survive,
until they become buried by being alive.
At those dangerous depths where they drown,
while drifting and struggling on their own.
Deciding that fate’s default has dealt them no luck,
they realize they are wasting bullets on a dead duck.
Is anyone ever really ready for their own death?
Yes, the clinically depressed will seek that last breath.
They see their death mask in the morgue of self-execution.
A deceased smile at least, telling of some retribution.

Disable the dendrites, strangle the synapses, detach the loop.
Dignify my efforts to redirect a disorder’s swoop.
Can I decode this decomposition
by talking to others in this position?
I don’t want those sly sideways looks of – sorry.
This is more than your average bout of – worry.
I don’t want your – wounded animal – type of sympathy.
What is required is real understanding and empathy.
I try to disperse and de-escalate my volition.
I deny and defame it in my rendition.
Devitalize those diabolic places.
Destroy the voices and multiple faces.
Deal with the extreme danger of harm’s domain.
Struggle to dominate the destructive pain.
Desperately attempt not to fall behind.
Seek medical help and what it can find.
What cruel mechanism has dashed my neurons?
Have the synapses misfired in their marathons?
When you detect the symptoms of this chemical stew,
seek immediate help, don’t let them brew.
This direction seems too simple to ask…
distract your brain with a difficult task.
Go out for a walk, or socialize,
talk to some friends, the brainstorm disguise.
It’s as if a diversion from this sudden despair,
gives the mind some time to do a repair.
But it’s a delicate strategy to divert a synapse,
and there’s no guarantee that it won’t relapse.
Try not to put a damper on happy events,
although designated joy makes no sense.
Welcome to the – glass half empty – happy hour,
because negative people themselves empower.
These upbeat positive people, contentment evolve.
How do they progress with no problems to solve?
The ditzy, gushy and breathless show
is a character I don’t want to know,
smiling at everything – too abundant,
makes that expression somewhat redundant.
The debridement of a wound you will find,
removes foreign matter from the mind.
If I am resurrected to live another day,
would I make a change in my DNA?


I declaim that in many areas of creativity,
some form of depression seems almost obligatory.
There is a statement that is not very forgiving –
“the unexamined life is not worth living.”[1]
There is an opinion that must be expressed –
many icons of history were often depressed.
The creative do not let this inward detention deter them.
They develop a deviation from their problem.
They devise a plan against its devious goal
to touch the universe and explore their own soul.
Avoid the superficial and develop a dialogue with life.
Those who fail to engage their inner selves, are rife.
Depressives do not diffuse experience, but design communication.
They have detoured from disaster to sublime stimulation.
They have delightfully digressed from their dilapidation.
They have produced emotional delicacies for our effication.
The enigmatic malfunctioned matter of the intellect,
is an illumination of genius, I do suspect.
Artists have long enjoyed the creative energy of disorder,
the divergent mind that seeks to cross the border.
They find a fertile clutter in chaos,
and no originality in the order of cosmos.
Total chaos would push the artist into confusion.
They give chaos some order to express their illusion.
The artist has clicked into the present determining the future.
Writers and poets learn to link the dynamics of detour.
Depressives often perceive, grasp, and realize.
They learn to see, solve and recognize.
Comedians who make us laugh at ourselves and life
often have their own deep internal strife.
It is as if their own depressive mode
is a revealing factor for comedy’s code.

Is this some bizarre trade-off, or compensation prize –
an ability to feel the depths and touch the skies?
Many great artists and discoverers fall into this category,
there must be a definite link with depression’s ability.
There is also a disastrous dilemma of decision.
If you take away my disease, do I lose my vision?
Also, when severe depression has debased, you recall,
the clinically depressed just don’t function at all.
They fall into an abyss of extreme depression,
where suicide may seem to be the only salvation.
Death is being dead, enough said.


“Pull yourself together,” or, “Get over it,” they say.
Those two statements often come your way.
The unspoken illness, with whispers and avoidance.
Depression is society’s cue for an uneasy stance.
Embarrassed and uncomfortable, they do an about face.
Depression has been treated as a social disgrace.
Avoid the depressive, it’s disconcerting to explain
to social guests who find their melancholy a drain.
But if your gathering is dull, or laced with gloom,
a manic will give a lively flavour to the room.
They will be the party animal, to joke sing and shout,
but if their mood turns, just show them out.
Please don’t double-cross the downcast,
they were rejected as – dotty  – in the past.
Decry the dictums of dogmatic fools.
The dictionary will redeem with its didactic tools.
They don’t need your derision or derogatory comments.
They would ask empathy, assistance, and common sense.
Depression is a disease with many descriptions.
Don’t defile it with prejudicial definitions.
If you can deal with diseases one and all,
then why not those that are inside the skull?
Historically, people called depression – possession.
Surely we have more moved past that description?
If some in society still deride their case,
do an exchange, and put them in that place.
If they are dragged down to the black dog’s desolate den,
seek advice, assistance, or support, to help them.


Disorders of thought – schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Disorders of mood – anxiety and depression’s cruel warder.
Record delicate disruptions of brain metabolism.
Study the disorientation of personality schism.
Work to describe the dissemination of dopamine.
Track with equipment to see where it has been.
Design ways to trace deficits in neurotransmitters.
Test them to see which synapses are quitters.
Sort through the resulting debris of the mind.
See if any markers have been left behind.
Are there drugs to deter drastic suicide decisions?
We need to decide which clues need revisions.
Desperate depressives demand – dig deep within my brain –
and please excavate the diabolic pain.
There are deep electronic probes that do deter,
but a single treatment will not defer.
Dance in a deasil direction until you reach
the door of the district of hope – wherein they teach.
Draw back the drapes from the cubicle of destroyed dreams,
and reveal normality is not all that it seems.
Drag yourself to the psychotherapist’s chair,
and disarm yourself by discussion there.
Please use your therapy to deliver my mind
from the disarrangement that you will find.
Counsel the demands of delusional fault.
To which triggers is anxiety brought?
Is it a chemical spill or cell decimation?
Are there drugs or probes for my reclamation?
Are defunct dendrites diseased or dead?
Should they be siphoned out of my head?
Can you stop the bipolar seesaw with a lithium pill?
Will schizophrenic demands react with the same drill?
Maybe we need more research – I decry?
Not enough money for electrochemical stimuli?
Are the helpless, hopeless and hapless to be denied?
Or is more rehabilitation to be tried?
I don’t want cures for this disorder to be disposable and discontinued.
Swap all data and digital files so nothing is misconstrued.

Study the dynamics of biological rhythms.
Can the mathematics of chaos free despair from its prison?
Compare the chatter of electrical brain waves
to see if the depressed can be tracked by their raves.
Determinism may show – early to later patterns,
directly proportional to depression as it happens?
Find clues to anxiety and those states called panics,
by tracking inside the brain to decipher dynamics.
The electronic signals of chaos can be carrier or deceiver,
all communications need transmitter and receiver.
If you can decode how the numbers of chaos work within the brain,
we may be several steps nearer to alleviating the pain.

A decisive remedy for depression today
is medical help without delay.
Get your mood disorder identified,
and with medication and therapy be supplied.
It isn’t as easy as it sounds,
first, lift denial, if it is around.
Society must change its attitude,
and this disease, do not exclude.

(For Elyn Saks and Kay Redfield Jamison) They have indicated that depression is the kind of pain that is not easily put into words. Well, I tried.



daemon – daimon daffy daft damage damn damnable damnation damper danger dangerous dare daring daredevil dark darker darkest dart dashed deactivate dead deal death dearth debacle debase debate debauch debilitate debit debridement debris debt debug decadence decadent decamp decant decapitate decay deceased deceit decelerate deception decide decimate decipher decision declaim declare declaration decline decode decommission decomposition decontaminate decoy declassify decontrol de-escalate decrease decrepit decry decumbent dedicate deduce deed deem deep deface defamatory defame default defeat defeatism defect defective defector defence defend defence defense defensive deference defiance deficiency deficit defile definite definition deform deformity defraud defray defunct defy degeneracy degenerate degrade degree dehumanize dehydrate deign deject delay delete deleterious deliberate delimit delinquent delirious delirium deliver delude deluge delusion demand demarcate demean dement demented demerit demise demolish demon demoniacal demonic demonstrate demonstrative demoralize demote demur dendrite denial denounce denudate denude deny depart depend dependent deplete deplorable deplore deploy deport depose deposit depository deprave deprecate depreciate depredate depressant depressed depression deprive deprivation depth deputation derailed deranged derelict deride derision derisive derogatory descend describe description descry desecrate desegregate desensitize desert deserve design designate desire desist desolate desolation despair despatch despicable despised despite despoil despond despotic destined destiny destitute destroy destruct desultory detached detail detain detect detention deter deteriorate determine deterrent detest detonate detour detract detriment detritus devalue devastate develop deviate deviation device devil devious devise devitalize devoid devolute devolve devotion devour devout dexterity diabolic diagnosed diagram dialectic dialogue diatribe dichotomy dictate dictum didactic die differ difficult diffident diffused digital dignify dignity digress dilate dilapidate dilatory dilemma diligence diligent dilute dim dimension diminish din dire direct direction dirge dirt disaster discard discern discipline discombobulate discourse discreet disgust dishevel dismal dismay dismiss dispatch dispel disperse display dispute disrupt descent dissension dissident dissociate dissipate dissolve dissonant distraught distress disturb dither dive diverge diverse divest divide divination divisible divisive divulge divorce docile doctor doctrine doleful dominant dominate doom doomsday dormant dotage dotard double doubt down downcast downhearted downtrodden doze drab drag drain drama drastic dread dream dreary dribble drill drive driven drivel drone droop dropout drown drowsy drudgery drug drug-addict drunk dubious duel dull dumbfounded dummy dump dunce dunderhead dungeon duration duplicitous dwindle dynamics dynamite.

‘dis’ words meaning – away from – that may have a relevance to depression.

Dis is the Roman god of the underworld.
Beware his domain where you could be hurled.
Here I have for you a list –
words with the prefix – dis.
They mean – away from – or – the reverse.
In some of them you may see the curse.

disable disabuse disadvantage disaffect disagree disappear disappoint disapprove disarm disarrange disarray disassociate disavow disband disbar disbelieve discard discharge disclaim disclose discolour discomfort discompose disconcert disconnect disconsolate discontent discontinue discord discount discourage discourteous discover disease disembark disembody disembowel disenchant disengage disestablish disfavour disfigure disgorge disgrace disgruntle disguise disharmony dishearten dishonest dishonourable disillusion disincline disinfect disinform disinherit disintegrate disinter disinterest disjoin disjoint disjunct dislike dislocate dislodge disloyal dismantle dismember dismiss dismount disobey disorder disorganize disorient disown disparity dispassionate dispirited displace displease disposable dispossess disproportionate disprove disqualify disquiet disregard disrepair disrespect dissatisfy dissemble disseminate disservice dissimilar disillusion dissuade distaste distort distract distrust disuse.

[1] Socrates