The Joy(s) of Depression

Categories: Performance,Poetry

September 15, 2019


… living in the Presence of Grace while not necessarily knowing you are being Blessed …

The joy of depression involves …

… falling down. falling down hard. falling down hard and hurting yourself …

The joy of depression involves …

… experiencing light as a form of darkness … 

The joy of depression involves …

… a silent descent into places your body seems to know well yet does not recognize.  The language it lives in is strangely familiar but maddeningly disorienting—crazy one could say …

The joy of depression involves …

… clutching at broken branches on the family tree …

The joy of depression involves …

… mental gymnastics that intellectualize love …

The joy of depression involves …

… prayers offered up in silence to no god in particular …

The joy of depression involves …

… feelings that lie prairie-field flat—the pale sun a heavy stone with no intention of scratching even the surface of the thin line that stretches out to the horizon …

The joy of depression involves …

… music with no notes—a dull thrum maybe …

* * *

You may recognize yourself here in The Waiting Place.

Waiting without knowing

you are                waiting.

Asking no questions. Expecting no answers. Trying to remember

how to spell        Hope …

You can read all about

yourself in books too heavy to lift from shelves

too high to reach.  The words come

in 5-point font and form run-on sentences

that despise punctuation and mean less

and less                        and less.

On your hands and knees now. Your body bent in the shape

of a broken question mark    torn and twisted.

And then            the last page turns

out to be a prayer written on the body

in invisible ink: blood and breath

and bone.

The dark tunnel is actually made of light.

Turning      you see yourself seeing yourself

seeing. How beautiful it is to let     go.

A surrender that has nothing

to do with white           flags.

So this is Love: letting go and lifting off.

And this is why              clichés ring true:

It’s a Divine Madness: crazy

some might                  say.

Poetry finds you here. Smacks you right

in the heart.  More clichés follow:

Time Stands Still. Slows. You can see

Everything.  Weightless and grounded.

Gratitude beyond measure fills the space.

Original Blessing.  God and Buddha.

Jesus and Muhammad.  Jack and Jill.

There’s room for Everyone  

here.  Everyone

smiling. Laughter, too. The question

‘Why’ no longer           in the lexicon.

Go now.  Right now. And tell Everyone:

how much                    you love

them.  Tell them how

much you love    love.

Here. Now. In this

Moment. The moment that is

all moments.  Tell them you know

that they know that you know:

Love is All. Love is


* * *

And so marks my re-turn to the blog on my website.  As the poem you have now read indicates, my absence—a two-year hiatus—was in large part due to a trip into The Unknown.  We have various euphemisms for talking about our mental health—our struggles, our demons, the darkness. 

What do we call this trip? This descent? To use pathological-speak: perhaps I had a psychotic break.  A mental breakdown of sorts. A trip into the dark(er) woods that sometimes threaten to swallow us up. The path got smaller and smaller and soon disappeared.  Just a tangle of underbrush.

Brené Brown, author, researcher, Ted Talk guru, in her book, Rising Strong, says,

I’ve come to believe that we all want to show up and be seen in our lives. This means we will all struggle and fall; we will know what it means to be both brave and brokenhearted.

Brené goes on to say that being brave and allowing ourselves to be broken requires us to be vulnerable in the world.  And further,

… this vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.

My own story is not all that important in the overall scheme of things. I fell down. I couldn’t get up.  I stayed down for quite a while.  But all this while, I was being held by friends and family—by loved ones. I surrendered and let myself fall only to find that I was held in love. I was able to get up again. And walk in the world with love and gratitude that defies both measurement and description.

And now I find myself born again— without the religious connotations. I am blessed. I am turning to the Light. Reveling in renewal. Love keeps calling my name. I am doing my best to answer the call.

I’m making music again.  Writing songs and poems. Loving love. And I’m excited and grateful to be on the path once again.  I have a new recording underway.  It’s a solo album, a collection of songs that celebrate the light and the dark, love and letting go. Songs that celebrate family and friends.

The new record is called Polishing Stone.  I’ll be telling you more about it in the next blog.  For now, I wish you all well and send you my love until it’s time to share the next unfolding.

With love


6 Responses to "The Joy(s) of Depression"

  1. Scott Hughes Posted on October 1, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    I am so, so glad that you are making music, writing poetry, finding your way along the path, and loving and learning everyday, Gary. The world is a better place because of you. Xx

    • Gary Rasberry Posted on October 3, 2019 at 11:18 am

      Dearest (I don’t really want to be a) Professor Hughes

      You are a kind soul. And my friend:

      what a combo …

  2. RODNEY E FROST Posted on October 1, 2019 at 8:17 pm

    Welcome back Gary.

    • Gary Rasberry Posted on October 3, 2019 at 11:16 am

      Thank you very kindly Rodney. Very nice to hear from you

  3. Fiona Posted on October 3, 2019 at 3:11 am

    I see you and hear you. Welcome into the light. It’s all love along the path. And it is indeed filled with darkness too. The planet is so wonderful and beautiful. I hope you get out in nature to see it’s beauty often.

    • Gary Rasberry Posted on October 3, 2019 at 11:17 am

      Thank you for your kind and beautiful words Fiona …

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