This is the word my grandmother would use for what essentially we call depression. However for her and her generation it was much more encompassing and often much less weighty a matter than maybe it should have been. To them it was a passing fancy something you shook off with some activity or a mental pulling up of the bootstraps. She had a brother who suffered from it and back then it was a particularly damning disease for a man. For women, the softer sex, it was an ok thing to be down occasionally but certainly not to wallow in it. Thank goodness, times have changed.
I’m thinking about this and writing on it because I’m in a state of the blues. By no means is this depression but I do feel a sadness from time to time and often I feel it after the new year. All the hoopla of the holidays hides the dull march of time continuing along the same path it always has. It’s not until we break across to a new year and the dust settles that the monotony and unremarkable-ness of it all shines through. In short, it bums me out.
I wrote about depression in Falling Slowly, one of my YA attempts. I really like that book but my guess is most parents would not be ok with their (even older) high school kids reading it. It’s written for them as burgeoning adults and doesn’t dumb them down to some insipid and acceptable parental format. I’ve had friends who truly suffer the disease and it is hands down shocking how terrifying it can be to encounter when just about nothing can be done to pull them out of it. It’s not like a cold where some NyQuil can get you back on your feet.
Melancholia has been around from the dawn of time. The Greeks and Romans studied it, named it. Unfortunately, as long as we’re thinking, sentient beings it’s not going anywhere. There will always be those who think and feel at such a deep level that they struggle to find peace in their minds. I may write on it again but I never want to put anything to paper that causes harm. As a writer though, sometimes you have to be brave enough to face the difficult ideas and treat them genuinely.
We’ll see. But I do know if you struggle with it, find help, talk to someone, don’t go it alone. We, humans, were never meant to be a solitary as we’ve become.