I greet you from the other side

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I greet you from the other side

Post by bruna » Mon Jun 06, 2005 10:23 am

Of sorrow and despair..."

I know it is ridiculous to speak about myself, but I am feeling exactly this way now and it brought me to the questions:
"Spleen (or chandra in Russian) - 1) How often do you have this feeling?
2) Do you think there are cultural and national differences in this matter?"

(I have often heard that Slavs have it in genes, Jews got it due to holocaust, nothern people have it thanks to the lack of sunshine and southern nations are considered not to have it at all...)

I am really interested in this theme theoretically and personally too.
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Post by linda_lakeside » Mon Jun 06, 2005 10:51 am

I'm sorry, bruna. My mind must be back at that game with the little bouncing balls, but I'm not entirely sure what you mean. Spleen? is an organ somewhere below the heart and left of the liver - you mean like the saying 'venting one's spleen'? Which translates to anger or do you mean you feel 'sorrow and despair'?


PS: It is not ridiculous to speak about yourself.
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Post by jurica » Mon Jun 06, 2005 12:21 pm

for better understanding of the term spleen, check out Spleen of Paris by Chales Baudleaire.

anyway - he himself was neither a Slavic nor a notherner nor a Jew (i think). probably the most depresive poet in history of art, Giacomo Leopardi, was Italian. pretty, sunny Italy!

the genes, sun, lifestyle may have something to do with it, but feeling bad is hardly unfamiliar feeling to southern people.
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Post by bruna » Mon Jun 06, 2005 1:35 pm

Thanks to Linda and Jurica.
I found out that I didn´t understand the term spleen well. I thought of sorrow and despair.
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Post by linda_lakeside » Mon Jun 06, 2005 1:53 pm

And I found out I should read Baudelaire instead of ...

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Re: I greet you from the other side

Post by Steven » Mon Jun 06, 2005 7:47 pm

Hi Bruna,

It's always a good idea to connect with supportive people when
feeling despair. There is a certain very challenging yoga practice
that I have been participating in. During a recent class, the instructor
said something to the effect of "pain is unavoidable, but suffering
is optional." Suffering (despair, being a form of suffering) can be
alleviated, if people choose this for themselves. There are cultural,
genetic, historical reasons that may contribute to despair. Despite these,
people can and do move above despair. Anyone experiencing
unmanageable feelings, should reach out for assistance to local
resources. By the way, Bruna, your speaking about yourself is
not "ridiculous." :)
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Post by Tri-me » Tue Jun 07, 2005 3:15 am

I agree with you Steve. I have learnt over the past few years how important it is to reach out. My old pattern was to bottle up and isolate myself from the world, my social skills suffered, now I force myself to get out and have been rewarded with great caring loving friends who feel the same way I do. “I am a rock I am an island” was miserable.

Sorrow and despair does it have something to do with where you live? Very interesting. I have lived in the Northwest Territories where the winters are long and dark. During the winter people get out and do things so they don’t get cabin fever.

Cabin Fever is a condition to describe restlessness and irritability caused from being in a confined space. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabin_Fever

I live in New Brunswick now and people seem to stay at home more in the winter months and burst out during the warmer months. People are more miserable during the winter, especially those who refuse to adjust to the cold. They stay indoors, go to their cars, then inside again. They want to wear fashionable clothes (boots, coats) which are not practicle for walking in the cold. Many say they hate winter, poor winter. Many people get SAD Seasonal Affective Disorder

SAD is a mood disorder associated with depression episodes and related to seasonal variations of light.

I wonder if people who live in warmer climates have different experiences.
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Post by Tchocolatl » Tue Jun 07, 2005 4:02 am

Bruna I don't think this is ridiculous either.

1) I used to have the blues all the time, or almost all the time, until I decided to get rid of it. First, it was an act of will, I had to decide it, then the rest follow, I find more and more "tricks", work at it, alone and with other people, and now I rarely have the blues. I still cry when I am sad or hurt or etc. but having the blues the spleen if you prefer, the chandra, no. Not anymore. I get rid of the compulsion of smoking cigarettes in the same way. It works good for me, "taking the decision" (blindly), though it takes time and it goes by steps and the evolution is in spiral. I think that every person finds the good thing in the appropriate moments.

2) yes. Taking also into account that inside a culture, let say of a country, there is also sub-cultures, i.e. social classes, and regional customs.

3)?? :wink: It could be both genetic and/or social.

Here, I have an interesting link for you, this is the only one I find in English (wow, this is rare) there are many more much interesting but they are not in English. Could you try in Russian? :


I found some others :


http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/label_fra ... /page.html

Aside with "classic" trauma, I think there are many unclassified yet. But this is not because they are not recognized by science that they are not existing - and hard to get over.
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Post by tomsakic » Tue Jun 07, 2005 9:50 am

They said it has something to do with serotonin or something like that in our brain cells... whether you're from north or south. I agree with Tchoco, it's all in your determination how to live (a thousand kisses deep), because I see that most of depression comes from social / economic / emotional condition, but some people live thru that (let's say, they fight the circumstances), and some get into depressive mood - so, maybe it is, after all, genetical disorder, inherited by some ancestor. Maybe it is in some people... They said that all Leonard Cohen fans have it... I don't know, but I know that you can make it smaller while listening to Leonard's CDs (I prefer Ten New Songs)... You start feel closer to essence of life and somehow calmed down... It doesn't dissapear; it's just there but it doesn't hurt anymore; it's the way the life is, and you feel reunited with yourself again. OK, maybe it's Zen. But they say that this feeling is the drive of the art... (Freud's work on melancholia; Julia Kristeva's book Black Sun about melancholia as source of art, with exemplums like Dostoevski or Marguerite Duras).

Spleen is very good word for that feeling, and longing, and depression, and melancholia, and saudade (in fado), and duende (in Garcia Lorca & Spanish folk songs), and dert (in Bosnian sevdah and Ivo Andric's novels), and sorrow, and despair etc. Now I know another term: chandra :) Everybody has it.

From Kristeva's book, first painting of the thing: "Melancholia" (Melencolia), by Alfred Duerer.


For those who are racked by melancholia, writing about it would have meaning only if writing sprang out of that very melancholia. I am trying to address an abyss of sorrow, a noncommunicable grief that at times, and often on a long-term basis, lays claim upon us to the extent of having us lose all interest in words, actions, and even life itself. Such despair is not a revulsion that would imply my being capable of desire and creativity, negative indeed but present. Within depression, if my existence is on the verge of collapsing, its lack of meaning is not tragic - it appears obvious to me, glaring and inescapable.

Where does this black sun come from? Out of what eerie galaxy do its invisible, lethargic rays reach me, pinning me down to the ground, to my bed, compelling me to silence, to renunciation?

The wound I have just suffered, some setback or other in my love life or my profession, some sorrow or bereavement affecting my relationship with close relatives - such are often the easily spotted triggers of my despair. A betrayal, a fatal illness, some accident or handicap that abruptly wrests me away from what seemed to me the normal category of normal people or else falls on a loved one with the same radical effect, or yet ... What more could I mention? An infinite number of misfortunes weigh us down every day ... All this suddenly gives me another life. A life that is unlivable, heavy with daily sorrows, tears held back or shed, a total despair, scorching at times, then wan and empty. In short, a devitalized existence that, although occasionally fired by the effort I make to prolong it, is ready at any moment for a plunge into death. An avenging death or a liberating death, it is henceforth the inner threshold of my despondency, the impossible meaning of a life whose burden constantly seems unbearable, save for those moments when I pull myself together and face up to the disaster. I live a living death, my flesh is wounded, bleeding, cadaverized, my rhythm slowed down or interrupted, time has been erased or bloated, absorbed into sorrow ... Absent from other people's meaning, alien, accidental with respect to naive happiness, I owe a supreme, metaphysical lucidity to my depression. On the feeling of being witness to the meaninglessness of Being, of revealing the absurdity of bonds and beings.

My pain is the hidden side of my philosophy, its mute sister. In the same way, Montaigne's statement "To philosophize is to learn how to die" is inconceivable without the melancholy combination of sorrow and hatred - which came to a head in Heidegger's care and the disclosure of our "being-for-death." Without a bent for melancholia there is no psyche, only a transition to action or play.

Nevertheless, the power of the events that create my depression is often out of proportion to the disaster that suddenly overwhelms me. What is more, the disenchantment that I experience here and now, cruel as it may be, appears, under scrutiny, to awaken echoes of old traumas, to which I realize I have never been able to resign myself. I can thus discover antecedents to my current breakdown in a loss, death, or grief over someone or something that I once loved. The disappearance of thta essential being continues to deprive me of what is most worthwhile in me; I live it as a wound or deprivation, discovering just the same that my grief is but the deferment of the hatred or desire for ascendancy that I nurture with respect to the one who betrayed or abandoned me. My depression points to my not knowing how to lose - I have perhaps been unable to find a valid compensation fort he loss? It follows that any loss entails the loss of my being - and of Being itself. The depressed person is a radical, sullen atheist.
- Julia Kristeva, Black Sun
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Post by Insanitor » Tue Jun 07, 2005 10:42 am

Depression, despair...ah my old friends, welcome...

I too always heard rumours about Slavs (esp the Russians) being predisposed to melancholia. Bruna I was thinking about your post/question last night, and remembered growing up in a very isolated Slavic family in a very non-Slavic country.

I remember as teenager lots of comments about "dark humour" and "melancholic people" and "just listen to Tchajkovsky" blah blah. If that wasn't enough to fill a teen with despair...well...

When I finally visited the home country I felt very much at home, not because everyone was depressed, but because i felt that the social psyche was one I could relate to. Maybe it was genetic, maybe social, I don't know.

Depression, sadness, despair are normal. Being ashamed or judging these as wrong, can make them a lot worse than they otherwise would be.

They say that people who like autumn (fall) the best of all seasons are more likely to be melancholy in nature.
Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.

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Post by tomsakic » Tue Jun 07, 2005 1:21 pm

"My mother, she came from Russia, you know" - Leonard Cohen about his sadness.
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Post by annaedith » Tue Jun 07, 2005 1:30 pm

from what i have learnt in my studies and from books:
you've got to distinguish between two types of depression/melancholia/feeling unhappy:
- the clinical depression which is an absolute terrible feeling of being caught in this situation, completely helpless and hopeless. this always is conected with an imbalance of neurotransmitters (substances in the brain transmitting information between cells); the main reasons are a lack of norepinephrine and serotonine. this is very likely to be caused by genes and brougt to the surface by externe events like illness, loss of a loved person, loss of work, social isolation. there are medications to improve this situation; though they have side effects and don't change the background below the depression, they are often necessary to prevent suicide and to accompany other therapies.
- a somewhat unhappy, uneasy feeling, but less than a clinical depression. this may be less in the genes, but more caused by experiences. this state is tolerable and may be good for inspiration and for starting a change (as discussed in another thread). it may come from bad weather, lack of exercise (as said above), bad performance at work/family/among friends etc. i think the reason it is said that p.ex. slaws are more likely to get this mood is that in those countries it is a common view that one has to tolerate such states. many people in western countries would run to a psychiatrist, eat tons of medication,... whereas somebody in russia would just say "i know that life is hard. it is like this and i can't change it". generally, i think that this less heavy version of depresion is not a negatve thing. it opens the mind to deeper feelings which go beyond the short pleasure of common people. and i do believe that lc's songs help to understand the beauty of this state.
*********** beauté est partout**********
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Post by Tchocolatl » Tue Jun 07, 2005 3:05 pm

Tom, I don't know if this is true, this, (all depressive fans), 'cause everybody get the blues or is sad from time to time. But to me, the beautiful thing about me being fan of Cohen is that I truly discovered him through TNS at the very same time I had get rid for good of my chandra, so I had the strong feeling this "singer was talking about me". :wink: more seriously, about something I really really knows. Of course I was smitten by the poetic stuff and originality (also.)

I hope I did not give the idea that spleen is something I consider wrong "at large" when I directly answered the direct personal question number 1. At large, I think that it must have as many spleens as there is people. For me it was such a burden, that was taking the majority of my energy to carry, so this is why I feel the need to get rid of it in order to can do something else. It was not a luxury. I never take pills. (I learned about the biological theories too, but the medication could not resolve all human problems, and besides, changing your way of living is changing how your neurotransmitters react, and the whole body with them - this is a delicate "machine" the human body well balanced - for example a 20-minute meditation have a great influence). I just learned new ways of dealing with my feelings and thoughts. I learned new theories (the easy part) and I materialized the new knowledge in my every day life (more difficult :lol: ), among others : Oriental phylosophies helped a lot. But also :


and the emotivo-rational, I had the chance to assist to a conference of this great man, a real good man, if there is one on this Earth, peace to his soul :

http://www.centre-de-la-pensee-realiste ... ommage.htm

in English : emotivo-rational psy : http://www.rebt.org/

In short the emotivo-rational theory says that the way we are thinking about the event in our life makes how we feel about them.

I stop now.

I think that deep people knows well about blues. I think that it helps to explore the "inner countries", and being a deep indiviual. I noticed that when somebody is happy, he is extrovert and vice versa.
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