Another year is over!

Onlangs kitaar hoogI have really neglected this blog during 2013. But I have not forgotten my readers. And I have certainly not forgotten what Bruce has done and still is doing for me.

The dream of an e-book about handling depression with the help of Springsteen music has brought me to the point where I had the courage to announce it to kindred souls worldwide and to start the Facebook page Fighting depression with the music of Bruce Springsteen. This has brought me into contact with lots of wonderful people. It is precious when you share your pain and your victories with me.

Of course the greatest joy of my year was the announcement on 1 November that Bruce is coming to South Africa. I cannot describe my joy. I am extremely grateful that I can (more or less!) afford to attend each and every one of the four shows. Of course I am totally scared about handling four shows in GA in a week. I had a knee operation during the year struggles to get fit again. Another problem is that only for one show I will be among real fans. For the three Cape Town shows I will be with three different people, only one of the being a bit of a fan. The other two will be there because they love me. I am grateful for that, but also quite stressed. I laugh a little at myself, but I am very apprehensive that South Africans will not really know his work well enough to understand and appreciate the shows. If I catch one soul complaining about the length of the shows, I am certainly going to do something to him!

Thank you for popping in here. Thank you to everybody with whom I can share the depths of my struggle with depression, as well as the joy and strength I get from the music of Bruce Springsteen. I feel privileged and humbled by the contact with Bruce fans and depression fighters from all over the world.

And as always: Thank you, Bruce!

Fighting depression: The value of lasting relationships

FriendshipTo me this picture symbolizes the lasting friendship among these eight people. There must have been occasions when things did not go that well. There must be some personalities that do not gel that well with certain others. But over the years they managed to not only keep in touch, but to maintain that special something which make them so special as the ESB.

I am sure the band members had lots of negative feelings when Bruce basically sacked them to work on his marriage with Patti and building a family. I have only read of Clarence who said something in the press about it and even then it was without malice. Recently I have read about Bruce saying he was just no good to them at that stage. I am sure as time went by they realized that and respected him for his decision.

The way they all came back when the time was right never seizes to amaze me. Surely the time apart gave each one the opportunity to build his own life, find other ways of earning money and expressing himself, to work on their own families. The wonderful thing among wonderful things is that all of them survived in the big world outside the ESB, all of them were there when it was the right time for the reunion.

Healthy relations are crucial to human beings. We need to work on that and not take it for granted. Without people to really connect to, we are more susceptible to all kinds of dangers, among which is certainly depression.

We need to work on surrounding us with people who add value to our lives and try to avoid the negative ones who only take value away. Of course it is not always possible, but at least we can try.

I always like the image of Bruce personally calling each band member when he had to tell them he wants to go forward on his own. It must have been very difficult for him, but he did not send Jon in to do it of let them read about it in the press.

Communication is vital to healthy relationships, we all know that. Unfortunately most of us also knows how difficult real communication is.

Let’s keep the band’s example in mind and work hard to follow their example of investing in the important relationships in our lives.

Diary of a depression fighter

Originally posted on 3 March 2011.Balanced

This idea has been haunting me for some time now. (If you are not yet aware of the link between my personal fight against depression and my love for Bruce’s music, do read about my journey at https://marilebetterdays.wordpress.com/these-are-better-days/ and https://marilebetterdays.wordpress.com/2011/01/31/out-of-the-badlands-into-the-promised-land/). I have started a diary about depression on my personal blog. (in Afrikaans my home language) afther having some success with my diary of a romance writer.

My first post has created so much reaction that I decided to give it a try in English, too. So I hope the Springsteen fans who have no interest in depression will forgive me for using this platform to reach those of us who are familiar with the havoc this terrible thing can run in a person’s life. (If nothing else, it can be a good excercise to hone my translation skills!) Hopefully my readers will not see it as let me show you how it must be done, but as travelling a road together and learning from one another. In this way it can be of great value for both writer and reader. I have been battling with the insistant feeling that I must do something for people fighting depression for some time .

The problem is that I really do not know where I will find the time. (But I also know that being busy can be very stimulating and invigorating – and that the busy person is usually the best one to ask to do something!) I would have loved to develop a course and present it for small groups. But that could be a completely new career. After much thought I have realised that there is no way in which I can do this AND still stay focused on my writing. (I am a writer of romantic fiction in my home language.)

Eventually my thoughts led me to the idea of an online course. But two months of 2011 have passed – and I still have no idea where to start! Which makes it time for serious action, because I do not want to be stuck with some unresolved resolutions – I have found that not achieving a goal (however small) is a sure way to pull yourself down into the mud …

Thus – my goal: To add a thought/chapter/idea to this diary-to-be each week. Let’s see how it goes. (And yes, I already suspect that I will learn more than the readers.)

In the two years since I wrote the above I have established  a readership about depression in my home language and started an e-book on the topic. My original idea was to translate this in English, but eventually the idea of using Bruce’s work grew on me. There are just so many songs as well as so many aspects of his life which are relevant to a depression fighter’s situation.

Thanks to the unknown artist!

Not quite sure yet how I will go about it. But hopefully something positive will come out of this. Like something positive always comes out of listening to Springsteen music.

Quick review: Bruce by Peter Ames Carlin

BruceSo much has been written about this book, and by more knowledgeable fans and musical fundi’s than myself, that I am not going to try and construct a detailed review here. I will leave you with just a few thoughts:

  • The book is an easy and pleasurable read. Not overly flowery, but written in beautiful English.
  • But, with due respect to the author, the most beautiful English is that spoken by The Boss himself. The direct quotations are mostly little gems that show us why Bruce Springsteen’s work still has so much impact – the man has a wonderful way to say even the most basic things.
  • Lots and lots of research was done and carefully used, an immense task.
  • Some of the detail of the processes in the various studios became a bit tedious to me, but for fans who are technically minded it may be very interesting.
  • I was a bit surprised to find so much input from the ever quiet Garry Tallent. And quite a lot of it came over as a bit negative. We are so used to him, always there, always in his place, that it comes as a surprise that he may not always have been too happy in that spot.
  • On the other hand, the total absence of Continue reading

Once again: Thank you, Bruce!

AgteroorThis article sums up beautifully the gift from Springsteen to all depression fighters – the gift of not hiding it any more:

Bruce Springsteen’s decision to take antidepressants was coloured by the fact that his father didn’t or wouldn’t. But it took a lot of psychotherapy for him to reach that point.

That is the stark admission we get from Bruce, the recent biography by Peter Ames Carlin. While the book wasn’t authorised per se, Springsteen gave Carlin countless interview hours, facilitated meetings with family and friends, and opened up his personal scrapbook to the author.

The fact that Springsteen has spoken openly about his chronic depression and other issues, and his use of medication to deal with those problems, has been welcomed by some in the fields of medicine and psychology as a breakthrough, given his popularity as a performer. It’s been quite a Continue reading

A special gift!

BruceNo, I am not talking about the book as such, although it is one of the best presents I have ever given myself.

But even better are the few paragraphs on pages 454 and 455, where Bruce speaks about his struggle with dark moods and depression. By speaking about it, he acknowledges the ongoing battle of so many depression fighters. So many of us are still ashamed of it and find it very hard to admit that we struggle. But here is this brilliant, rich and famous man – and he admits to being in therapy for many years, to being on antidepressants, to being unable to stay completely out of the claws of depression. Then surely the rest of us can do it, too?

“You go through periods of being good, then something Continue reading

Diary of a depression fighter: Missing the music

On this wonderful trip through Ireland and Scotland – on my way to my first ever Springsteen shows – I have encountered depression quite unexpectedly.

One of the reasons for this has to do with the lack of opportunity to really immerse myself in the music, as I have become used to.

At home Bruce’s music has become integrated into my whole life. I usually go to bed with either The Promise or 18 Tracks, I work on The Rising, BTR, Darkness, The River. For some reason I often have Backstreets on repeat while I am hurriedly preparing to go out. I daily work out on any of the live concert DVD’s.

For others this looks like obsession. For me it has become a way to help me handle life.

My family – although I love them dearly – are not fans. On the trip there has been only opportunity for short indulgences into Springsteen music. There was no privacy and no me time.

After two weeks I have realized that the music is loosing its power for me, because I do not absorb enough of it. I even started to find it difficult to remember why I REALLY am on this trip.

The tour is over and we are stationed in Edinburgh at the moment. Today’s Bruce Brunch on The Hawk helped a lot to make me feel part of the Springsteen community again.

The dream is alive again. And Sunderland is drawing near. 🙂

The

Missing the Boss

While I am enjoying a great trip through Ireland with my family, I sorely miss my home routine, which includes a lot of Springsteen when nobody is around to complain about the volume.

This just makes me realize again what a great role his work has come to play in my day to day life.

All of it in a positive way.

Springsteen time is me time.

It is time to lift the spirit.

It is time to exercise.

It is time to dance. (I am no great dancer.)

It is time to fight depression by doing the above.

It is time to dream impossible dreams.

And to believe they can come true.

Luckily my little MP3 player is with me, although it is not the same.

And Sunderland and Manchester are drawing near … 🙂

 

 

Looking back: Where it all started for me …

This post was written about two years ago. Nothing has changed since then. Except my growing respect for the man.  And my continuous gratitude for what he is doing for me.

I have alwyas had a pretty nice life, full of good things and fun. I have a beautiful family, I live in one of the safest places in my troubled country. But for the last twenty of more years I have struggled with depression. There were many good times, but the darkness was always hovering on the edge of town. And often it invaded the town, it ruined its buildings, it hurt its citizens.
Recently a few things came together in my head. I did a course in life coaching, which gave me wonderful Continue reading

Why I admire Bruce Springsteen (11) – A man who can take mistakes in his stride

When Bruce made the mistake to call out the wrong city during the WOAD tour in 2009, I had just recently come on board as a Springsteen fan. At the time I did not think much about it. It was a little mistake of no consequence, wasn’t it?

Of course, in the world of show biz no mistake is a little mistake. Even the smallest slip gets picked up by the media and the social media and spread around the world in no time at all. This is surely enough to scare most people out of ever trying to do anything new, especially in front of an audience.

Now, we all know if you never try something new, you will never make a mistake. But you will hardly Continue reading

Wrecking ball lyrics: This depression

This seems to be one of the saddest songs I have ever heard Bruce sing. But also a hopeful (Now the morning sun, the morning sun is breaking) and brave song. Brave because here is somebody in deep anguish, but who knows what he needs. If all of us could consciously reach out for love and connection when we are in trouble (any kind of trouble), the world probably would have been a better place. But instead we are all too inclined to cut ourselves off from the human touch Continue reading

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 10,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Feel the fear …

I read somewhere that Max once said “Bruce makes you do things you never thought you could do.” Well, for me this certainly is true.
Firstly, I have never before admired any entertainer (and no, I don’t think this word even begins to describe what Bruce does) so much and made such a study of his work.  I have never Continue reading

Fight depression – and win (4): Understanding depression

This link can change your life forever. It can be the start to discovering there are certain, definitive things you can DO to conquer depression. Yes, we are not hopeless victims anymore – we can take charge and fight this beast! In Springsteen language: You can take the first steps out of the badlands of depression into the Continue reading

Fight depression – and win (3): Teenage depression

Things from this article that caught my attention, are (among others) the following:
1. Teenage depression is escalating.
2. The same goes for teenage suicide.
3. Depressed teens feel they are not beautiful, rich or famous enough.
4. This happens because their self-esteem is strongly influenced by the image of the ideal life portrayed by the media.
5. Teens don’t have the insight to that know what you are and what you do are more Continue reading

OK, let’s see …

… how long I will be able to stand this theme, without my beloved images from the BTR album at the top! But the rays of the sun (well, that’s what it looks like to me) above kind of fits with the idea of Better Days, is’n it? Although it is not seen as one of the great songs, and comes from the time when Bruce worked without the ESB, Better Days became a strong symbol in my life. Together with Badlands and The Promised Land, of course.

I am going to …

… treat myself on a few days’ writing time in a quiet spot. In the meanwhile: If you are a depression fighter – keep up the fight! If you are a Bruce fan – keep up the listening! If you are both – make sure that you listen to Badlands and The Promised Land every day!

Fight depression – and win (2): Causes of depression

This short article deals with a few possible causes of depression. The most notable (and shocking!) statement these experts make is that they do NOT consider depression to be an illness. Yes, I was also shocked and indignant at first, because it took my doctor years to get me to believe that it is an illness and that I cannot help having it. But this is really where my trouble started, because believing it is an illness turns you into a helpless victim. When I moved away from this status of victim, I could start to take control (during the good times) and concentrate on the things I can DO to reduce Continue reading

Fight depression – and win (1): Signs of depression

Here is the first of a series of links that changed my whole life. This first one gives a short list of possible (but not all) signs of depression. It is a short and easy article to read, even if you are a bit low on energy.
http://www.clinical-depression.co.uk/dlp/depression-information/signs-of-depression/
Maybe it could do the same for you!
And while you are working on it, immersing yourself in  Springsteen’s lyrics Continue reading

Diary of a depression fighter: Things that promote depression – perfectionism

In this country the children of my generation were raised to work hard and always do their best. Most of our parents came out of relative poverty by sheer perseverance and hard work. Even today our workers are sought after in many countries, because of their strong work ethics. Unfortunately the desire to do your work PERFECTLY Continue reading

Looking back: Salute, Big Man!

One thing I have learned in life is that death usually catches us on the wrong foot. It does not matter if it comes swiftly and unexpectedly or after a warning. We do not understand it and we never will. We try to talk our way around it, there are lots of well-worn platitudes that try to make those who have been left behind feel better. Usually they only succeed in making it worse.
Here in South Africa it is Fathers’ Day today. It is a cold and dreary day where we live. Usually I love winter, I love the rain, as I grew up in a dry part of the country and also because my husband works in agriculcure. But today the windows are crying tears for a man I have never seen, never Continue reading

Diary of a depression fighter: To tell or not to tell

For many years I clung to my secret. My husband and my mother knew that I did nog always cope, and that was all. And only because it was impossible to keep it from them. I remember trying to explain to my husband. I will forever be thankful for his sincere efforts to understand. Years later he uttered these unforgettable words: “I believe in depression as I believe in God – I cannot see it, but I know it is there.” This shows me a man who really tries to Continue reading

Diary of a depression fighter: The value of therapy

For years I reluctantly took expensive medication  and tried my best to cope with life. And this while I actually was quite aware of how valuable theraphy can be in a situation like mine. But while I hated taking the pills, the idea of being in therapy was worse for me. That was a good twenty years ago. I have come a long way since then. But I still suspect that people (in my country at least) still find it easier to take medication than to go for counselling. We live in a society where there is a pill for every pain, and we have been conditioned to expect Continue reading

Diary of a depression fighter: Medication

Right from the start I had a love/hate relationship with antidepressants. I knew it was necessary, but I hated to use it. Still do, but not as badly. Deep inside I still want to conquer this thing on my own. Rather strange that on the one hand I so badly wanted to do it on my own, while on the other hand I did not really understand how much I could DO about my Continue reading

Diary of a depression fighter … The paradigm shift

The day when my doctor convinced me that depression really is a disease and not merely my own inability to cope, was an important event for me. I have a strong suspision that it is not only me who have often wondered if my depression was not merely a fault in my personality, a lack of selfdiscipline, unthankfulness or the lack of faith of a pathetic Christian.  The diagnosis of depression as a real illness sets you free from (most of!) these stupid Continue reading