George CostanzaWhen depressed, and I mean clinically depressed, which means melancholy for no reason, numbness that few know, I get my best thinking done about creativity and nothing else. Judgment otherwise impaired allows me to see the darkness of what needs to fade away. In this sense a sort of insanity does provide a certain advantage, in that I am savagely self-critical and able to employ the shit detector. I write a lot of shit, so this comes in handy. Of course, if I weren’t able to write large amounts of prose when both manic or less so, I would have nothing to pick through when done. Less so is invariably better in quality, if less fluent in process. Depression is the difference between a well-edited piece and a self-indulgent one. As narcissistic as I am self-indulgence is my plague. Nothing stalks me more closely, the breath of my beloved double somehow behind me even as I watch both of our reflections. I can feel my own breath on the back of my neck and it chills me. Of course, self-knowledge can become self-hatred without my noticing, until I have taken down something beautiful and overworked it until it is less so. I dislike everything and make nothing out of something. Just as getting too high makes me think too much of too little, so does getting down do the opposite. Yet if I could be cured of the up and down cycle that bounces me about, I would decline the eradication of this illness. That is not to say I would reject treatment. I only mean that I am sure I would not be myself without my darkness and my stupefying flashes of its opposite. So as I slouch into the cradle of the fetal position and think about myself constantly while wondering in daftness as to why I am so miserable again, I look for the bright side of the darkness. I feel its throat grip and pretend it is a massage. When I make it out, as I always do, it will have been just that in a way. Sometimes I cannot believe the truth is anything better than depressing, but that is not what I fear most.  Worse than feeling sad is feeling nothing for anything. That I have yet to reach. That is the state of uselessness where I find nothing worth doing and delete whole novels in wrath against who I once was, who seems to be bringing me to where everything when irreparably wrong even as I am told the repair is there. The best treatment I have yet to find is the George Constanza method, known in therapeutic circles as opposite action. Meaning that, like the Seinfeld episode where the eponymous character gets a better life by doing the opposite of what feels right. This works much better than the Serenity Now method, which involves stuffing everything until fake happiness explodes into rage. So, in this blackened and blackening mood, I ask myself, What wouldn’t Costanza do, and I have a choice to be cured.

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