“The sun hides not the ocean, which is the dark side of the earth, and which is two thirds of the earth. Therefore, any mortal man who hath more of joy than sorrow in him, that mortal man cannot be true–not true, nor undeveloped.”
That passage from Herman Melville’s Moby Dick expresses the two sides of creative personalities for many of us. We are the dreamers of dreams–and the keepers of secrets. I work in a creative field, where eccentric is normal and often celebrated, but I live in a world where eccentric is frowned upon. By definition, eccentric refers to something being “out of round.” For some of us, the out of roundness comes in the form of depression, or other mental problem, the Black Dog that Winston Churchill so famously referred to.
We tend to keep our struggles to ourselves, preferring to self-medicate or, at least, self treat our problem. Nobody wants to be seen as having mental issues, whether you’re a new mother facing postpartum depression, or an artist, diving into your own trauma as a way of both making art and attempting to relieve its traumatic burden. Perhaps part of that is believing it’s not a big deal and that we can ultimately regain control. Another part is the fear of what others will think as we struggle to regain that control.
Some injuries are visible. Some are not.
We are humans. We get cuts and scrapes growing up, perhaps break a limb or a digit as we age. Many of us will post pictures of the broken limb in a cast on Instagram or other social media outlets, because those injuries can be seen and they make for entertaining commentary. But what about the injuries that can’t be seen?
Like the surface of the ocean, hiding its real truth in the darkness below, we cannot see the disturbance that is so quietly kept inside another. Yet it is there, only sometimes breaking the surface, showing the effects of the injury in some form as “the tornadoed Atlantic of my being,” as Melville puts it.
Though I realize some people would attempt to treat themselves for a broken leg, it is unwise. It is a widely accepted–and encouraged–practice that one would go to a physician for some help with such an injury. It should be equally accepted that those suffering from some mental anomaly would also go for help. Scars are reduced when the wound is healed with proper attention.
If you are suffering, help is available to you. The recovery is worth the effort.
I have recently been editing some interviews on this subject for a documentary I’m working on. One of the interviewees said, “Sometimes, things get really tough. And sometimes, you have to talk to somebody about it.”
Sometimes. . . . you do.