First off, Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert is an amazing book. If you haven’t read it I recommend it with my whole heart!
Did I mention I’m only a hundred pages in?
I have changed just by reading those 100 pages, if only just to know that someone else has felt how I’ve felt. For those of you that haven’t read the book (or seen the movie) it is divided into three sections about the three places Elizabeth visits Italy, India, and Indonesia. Each place holds a different meaning to her, each place changes her in a miraculous way.
I don’t want to ruin the book for you but there are two excerpts so far that have touched me on a very deep level.
The following excerpt is about her addiction to love and being in love.
When reading it I thought: “Wow. That is totally me.”
“I was suffering the easily foreseeable consequences. Addiction is the hallmark of every infatuation-based love story. It all begins when the object of your adoration bestows upon you a heady, hallucinogenic dose of something you never dared to admit you wanted-an emotional speedball, perhaps, of thunderous love and roiling excitement.
Soon you start craving that intense attention, with a hungry obsession of any junkie. When the drug is witheld, you promptly turn sick, crazy, and depleted (not to mention resentful of the dealer who encouraged this addiction in the first place but now refuses to pony up the good stuff anymore– despite the fact that you know he has it hidden somewhere, goddamn it, because he used to give it to you for free). Next stage finds you skinny and shaking in a corner, certain only that you would sell your soul or rob your neighbors just to have ‘that thing’ even one more time.
Meanwhile, the object of your adoration has now become repulsed by you. He looks at you like you’re someone he’s never met before, much less someone he once loved with high passion. The irony is, you can hardly blame him. I mean, check yourself out. You’re a pathetic mess, unrecognizable even to your own eyes.
So that’s it. You have now reached infatuation’s final destination– the complete and merciless devaluation of self.” page 20 – Eat, Pray, Love
I’ve been there and, oh my goodness, does she have it right.
I’ve always had problems with that thing called “love”. Growing up I never felt like I had enough of it. I was starved for it. I never knew my biological dad, all I really had was my Mom, and as a single, working, mother of three – feeling loved, and feeling like I had her undivided attention, didn’t happen for me a lot. So I grew up, I got older, and then I felt love for the first time and I never wanted to let it go. It made me miserable but I couldn’t give it up.
In the end, I turned into this person I couldn’t even look in the mirror.
Thankfully that was many years ago, I’m still not sure I’ve gotten over my addiction in general though. Which leads me to the next excerpt about depression…
“I took on my depression like it was the fight of my life, which, of course, it was. I became a student of my own depressed experience, trying to unthread its causes. What was the root of all this despair? Was it psychological? (Mom and Dad’s fault?) Was it just temporal, a “bad time” in my life? (When the divorce ends, will the depression end with it?) Was it genetic? (Melancholy, called by many names, has run through my family for generations, along with its sad bride, Alcoholism.) Was it cultural? (Is this just the fallout of a postfeminist American career girl trying to find balance in an increasingly stressful and alienating urban world?) Was it astrological? (Am I so sad because I’m a thin-skinned Cancer whose major signs are all ruled by an unstable Gemini?)
Was it artistic? (Don’t creative people always suffer from depression because we’re so supersensitive and special?) Was it evolutionary? (Do I carry in me the residual panic that comes afre millenia of my species’ attempting to survive in a brutal world?) Was it karmic? (Are all these spasms of grief just the consequences of bad behavior in previous lifetimes, the last obstacles before liberation?) Was it hormonal? Dietary? Philosophical? Seasonal? Environmental? Was I tapping into a uiversal yearning for God? Did I have a chemical imbalance? Or did I just need to get laid?”
page 49 – Eat, Pray, Love
I’ve been depressed off and on for as long as I can remember.
I’ve been suicidal, called suicide hotlines, spent days in bed unmotivated to move, had panic attacks, spent so many hours crying that I thought my head would explode and I’ve attempted to attempt suicide.
I have been there and I’ve asked myself WHY? Is there something wrong with my brain? Am I being stubborn by not going on meds? Would that be putting a big ol’ bandaid on something a bandaid isn’t going to fix?
Honestly, I do not know. I haven’t tried medication and I don’t believe I will. I’m not anti-anti-depressants though. If it helps you, if it makes you feel better, then I am so happy for you.
Looking at my depression over the last seven years, I am blown away by the progress of my journey.
It hasn’t been easy, it has taken a lot of different methods, many forms of growth, and lots of hard work. I’ve tried herbal supplements, diet and exercise, self-help books, meditation, yoga, surrounding myself with happy things, diving so hard into my spirituality/religion that it was all I cared to think about. I think I’ve finally found out what works for me and all that stuff helped me reach this path. I see my depression as “situational” depression. There’s always a situation or an event that begins that spiral downward.
What I have to do is change the situation or change how I react to it. If I can do one of these things then I’m going to be okay. It sounds simple and in many ways it is but it also is not. I know everyone’s path to wellness is different and that is simply what is working for me at this point in time.
So all my ramblings aside, buy the book, it’s awesome and enlightening and will make you think! That’s what a book is for right? Wonderfully trashy romance novels aside of course, ;D