Author Archives: Ryan Mellino

About Ryan Mellino

Stop stop talking bout who's to blame, When all that counts is how to change.

Star Drop

Star drop, take a ride,
On the plane where spirits glide,
See myself become aware.
Stars burn in a fire,
The universe is a funeral pyre,
Feel myself become aware.

Star drop, glowing still,
Body rushing with the thrill,
Maybe someday I will turn.
Skies are opened wide,
With the changing in my eye,
Feel like I am in a turn.

Star drop, evening’s fire,
I’m awake, I am not tired,
Tuned in and ready to go.
Light flash in the sky,
The thunder rings a lullaby,
Tuned in and ready to know.

Star drop, breaking through,
The darkened sky to come to you,
Wake up and open my eyes.
Daybreak, dawn at last,
The future no more than the past,
Wake up and open my eyes.

Depression as a Way of Life

Trying to explain depression to someone who has not experienced it is perhaps a bit like trying to explain love to someone who has never experienced it. It is not something that you can understand through books or pictures, or by watching people you know experience it. You have to live it.
Nevertheless in my never-ending quest to bridge the chasm between my life and the lives of those around me, I would like to spend a little time trying to explicate the conundrums of depression for those who have been blessed with a stable and happy mind.
There is a great deal of difference between someone who has grown up depressed versus someone who has their depression precipitated later in life. Someone who becomes depressed midway through life because, for example, a loved one died, has a whole host of life experiences that do not have the shadow of depression ever looming in the background. Their mind has experienced life without depression, and this bodes extremely well for their ability to recover and move on.
Contrast the person who becomes depressed in their 30s with one whose formative years were lived in the thrall of depression. Here can I speak from experience. One of the most common arguments against suicide is ‘but they had so much to live for.’ This is an argument that rings hollow to one who has never felt they had much to live for; what exactly do these people think there is to live for except to have positive experiences in life? You know, the exact things that someone depressed does not experience.
This is where the length of time and the age of onset of depression becomes very important. For someone whose depression onsets midway through life, their depression will be seen as a contrast to their previous life. This contrast, no doubt, is exquisitely painful, as one can come to feel they are no longer capable of feeling joy or happiness like they once did. This person has come to feel, perhaps, they do not have much to live for anymore; but this is in contrast to how they once felt, in contrast to a state of mind they have experience with.
Someone who has grown up in a state of depression does not have this contrast to look at. Perhaps they have some idyllic view of early childhood, when the fears and pains of life expressed more as occasional volleys as opposed to a sustained barrage of negative thoughts. Regardless, from the time you start becoming you (I generally believe that self-actualization largely begins with the onset of puberty and the feeling of needing to separate and differentiate oneself from their parents), you have been in a state of depression.
Every child is born with hope. For some children, the path to adulthood seems intent on wiping out that hope. Depression is not something that one can just snap out of, especially when one’s brain does not know another way of thinking; a mind that has always been depressed has nothing else to snap into. ‘Just think positively;’ another favorite line of all depressed people. Depression is more than just a way of thinking; a person’s thoughts should always be considered as subordinate to their emotional state. I can think that everyone really does care about me and wants me to be happy all I want; if I cannot feel that care, if I go among those who supposedly care for me and feel empty, my thoughts will inevitably seem folly, and one grows to feel less and less in control of their mental state.
As someone growing up with depression (and lots of anxiety to boot), every experience I had on the road to adulthood was colored by and seen through the lens of my depression. Going to school seemed a daily punishment that I could not escape from; social interactions were just a step away from embarrassment or ridicule; every day was just another long trudge until finally sleep could take me. When one grows up in constant dread of the next day, of the new experiences their life might offer them, one does not perceive themselves as having a lot to live for. One does not think of a bad day as something out of the norm; one thinks of a good day as out of the norm. This has the effect of marginalizing all positive experiences as transient; happiness seems to always be fleeting, a cruel break from the normal monotony of depression that only intensifies the feelings of loneliness and isolation as soon as it is over.
Life is, in many ways, a long series of self-fulfilling prophecies. When you grow up without the expectation of happiness or contentedness, it is very unlikely these things will just find you. There aren’t many social groups where the depressed and the optimistic exist in harmony; the philosophies and perceptions of life are as dichotomous between depressed and happy people as they are between the far-right and far-left. Thus, the depressed person very likely ends up in a social group surrounded by other depressed people. Especially as a youth, there is a great urge to be right, which can lead to the depressed self-validating their own feelings when discussing said feelings with others who understand. At this point the depressed often feel a need to ‘other’ the non-depressed, to believe that in fact there is something wrong with anyone who isn’t depressed. This starts one down the path of believing that it is correct to be depressed.
This point is one I feel anyone who has not experienced depression will find themselves puzzled by, but it is essential to understanding the growth of depression in a depressed person. What one believes to be right or correct is what one feels, much more than what one thinks; a person who grows up depressed does not think ‘oh, depression is definitely the right way to experience the world,’ they simply experience the world depressed and come think, in response to those feelings, ‘being depressed is the correct lens through which to view the world.’ At this point depression is now an ego problem as well. For the depressed person to acknowledge the way they viewed the world and the perceptions they gathered through a depressed lens may be entirely the result of depression, and not in fact the result of a correct perception of the world, is basically to acknowledge that everything you thought and believed might be wrong.
Taken together, the above two points give us a picture looking something like this: depressed people will generally come to associate with other depressed people; these people, as with any group of people with similar views, will start validating their own perceptions as correct and perceiving those who hold different views as wrong; in this way depression comes to appear, to the depressed person, as the right way to live; at this point it is very hard to see anyway out of depression, because you’ve managed to twist depression around into something viewed almost favorably. I think depressed people often can feel a sense of superiority to happy people, which makes it very hard to admit that maybe the happy people aren’t just idiots who are oblivious to the struggles and hardships of life, but perhaps are people who have found a better and healthier way of managing their way through life.
This leads us to one of the most important facets of depression: anger and self-pity. For someone who is already depressed, it is just about the most natural feeling in the world to look at someone who is happy and think ‘oh woe is me,’ and simultaneously to feel the undeniable injustice that renders some people happy and some people miserable. At the point where one believes they are on the wrong side of some sort of cosmic injustice, it is very hard not to become increasingly angry at everything. One can easily grow to believe that they have been cursed, that they are uniquely unhappy, and that the only possible escape from this is death.
At this point I want to wrap things back around to the argument against suicide: ‘but they had so much to live for.’ I hope at this point it is a little clearer as to why someone with depression might find this a rather empty argument. And this, perhaps, is a central issue in dealing with depression in our society. One cannot argue against depression anymore than one can argue against love. These are states of mind that do not necessarily have any connection to ‘logical’ or ‘rational’ trains of thought, such as might be responsive to a reasoned argument. Rather, they are states that arise out of feelings, and only arguments on that level stand a chance of success.

Tastes Like Heaven

The waves crash and crash and crash,
Upon my lips, and your sweet brine,
It tastes like heaven, tastes divine,
Oh my.

I’ll travel across every peak and valley,
And trace a map with my fingers.
Find the X and find the treasure,
And maybe for a while linger.
While I dig deeper and deeper,
The dream of every pirate king,
I don’t need gold, I don’t need diamonds,
I’m already drowning in everything.

The waves crash and crash and crash,
Upon my lips, and your sweet brine,
It tastes like heaven, tastes divine,
Oh my.

Just as long as we’re together,
We will never need protection,
Well our love is our shield,
And death is just rejection.
But we’ll never, never die,
I’ll climb on you, you climb on me.
And we will scale the mountain high.
And climb further than we believe,

Out past the stars and sun,
Far away from solid ground,
Where the waves are wet and roiling,
And I’ve just started going down.

The waves crash and crash and crash,
Upon my lips, and your sweet brine,
It tastes like heaven, tastes divine,
Oh my.

Scars of Worth

The scars you carry on your skin
Bely the pain held deep within,
While lashing out in moments mad,
You cut yourself because of dad,
But this was not your sin.

His shadow lurking in your brain,
Each day another cut of pain
You wanted just to disappear
Away from all the hurt and fear,
But you were not to blame.

I gazed into your azure eyes,
The girl who says she never cries.
I laid my hands across your chest,
Tonight we both will soundly rest,
And dream of the sunrise.

I saw your scars, I think we share
A pain that others could not bear,
Though I don’t have the marks to show
It’s only cause I didn’t know
That anyone would care.

A dream I had that became real,
A way I never thought I’d feel:
That I belonged with anyone
Or anything under the sun,
But now my heart can heal.

The scars you have, perhaps they’ll last,
Reminders of a solemn past.
To me they show a strength of mind,
To suffer – still – to stay alive
Is beauty unsurpassed.

Out from the darkness of our birth,
We stumble cross this holy earth,
So long I thought I’d naught to give,
But you showed me why I should live;
In your eyes I have worth.

Stasis

With bare feet I slip across the frozen days,
The stasis of my life; day after day
I trip and go from high to low
In an instant, and in an instant
Time stretches on with the grace of
Infinity sweeping out from my vision
And consuming the dark world entire.

Day after day I poison myself;
My poison is an antidote to the banality of life,
That truest of horrors, that which kills
Unseen and unknown, but never unfelt;
I want to feel joy while I live,
And in ecstasis to plunge towards death,
Submitting to the vanity of time.

I wake up anew, and by the day’s end
Have stumbled and fallen into the same traps;
My mind ensnares itself, coils around and around
And lashes out at me like a snake that,
Unknowingly trodden over, bites without
Knowledge, following only instinct;
My instincts are but the wishes of Satan.

I get so worked up over my programming;
I rattle and quake, and find no solace
That I was born this way;
There are some who are born and in the course of life
They find that the world is for the meek to inherit,
But they are strong, and so they must be broken,
Until, crippled, they submit to callous death.

And again, as it was, and again it shall be;
There is no escape from the simulation;
What was, is; what shall be, is;
And where we are now is the ceaseless echoing
Of the original; here we can but dream until
The death of energy: an eternity in stasis;
There is no escape…

The Precipice of Ecstasy

A nebulous cloud, breaking new ground
In the shattered spectrum of the jungle,
The cacophonous blues and alluring greens,
Weaving their wild, passionate melodies
Across the speckled pupils
Who begin to feel the strength of the sea,
Until, breaking beneath the waves,
My icy eyes begin to melt.

And sinking down, irresistibly cleansed,
The sapphire breaths and ruby roars
Come bursting cross the rolling hills,
The crescent peaks and verdant valleys,
The snow-capped mountains, ready to
Blow with the fount of life,
Their gentle peaks but waiting
For some warm breath to melt their snow.

The incessant hum of the forest in bloom:
Cawing mewling screeching howling;
Then breaking before the lightning’s hymn,
The rolling thunder low and deep
Comes crashing down at the crest of noon,
And the forest in awe, ashamed to look
At the roiling boiling swelling air
Where electricity crackles with the birth of life.

The snow-capped colossus, its majesty
Ever emanating, as aloof as a king yet
Undaunted by the foolish wind dancing around,
Crafting melodies in the living air,
Echoing through the hollows and crevices,
Before rising to pierce past the bronze horizon,
Hovering, like a dam about to burst,
Hanging on at the precipice of ecstasy.

Words are ever thrown off that mighty cliff,
Or perhaps just sounds, the vocalization
Of the essence of man as it writhes,
Striving upwards to penetrate the heavenly auroras –
The endless supernovae – and the blinding light
At the end of black holes where traveling,
I was ever torn and twisted until I was
At last spat back out into your arms.

Clawing Towards the Light

I can see it in your eyes,
Shimmering with false surprise.
You thought I hadn’t seen,
Maybe I thought it just a dream.
Laughing you try and play,
But you know what I will say.
Our lady gives, our lady takes,
We can’t put up a fight.
Who knows where our fortune goes,
Clawing towards the light.

I, I must give in,
I don’t care that it’s a sin.
This was not the way for you,
I am sorry for what I’ve put you through.
Together we’ll come crashing down,
The thin ice breaking all around.
Our lady gives, our lady takes,
We can’t put up a fight.
Who knows where our fortune goes,
Clawing towards the light.

Water covers our heads,
As we slumber, rotting in our beds.
Decaying from inside out,
Suffocating, we have no doubt.
The noose we tie with our own hands,
Let’s go together, this cursèd world be damned.
Our lady gives, our lady takes,
We can’t put up a fight.
Who knows where our fortune goes,
Clawing towards the light.

The Real Girl

So how can I express them true,
My feelings with respect for you?
No ideal form you wish to be,
Though that is what you are to me;
I don’t know how I can express
Myself and somehow pass the test;
You’ve set yourself low to the ground
But heaven’s raptures still surround
My vision when I look at you;
I’d better be if I were through
With cursèd art that makes my mind
Envision always the divine;
Help me – please – to start anew,
To see you as you wish me to.

The Blood Moon

If you look to the morning sun,
You can see what I have done.
Clouds, like wreathes of smoke,
They all heard the words I spoke.
Rising from heaven’s fires,
I just wanted to get higher.
Stand and pray in the evening rain,
I’ll never see the light.
Maybe I should run away,
Got no strength left to fight.

If you look to the blood moon,
You can feel the shadows of my ruin.
Stars, like glistening eyes,
They all saw the tears I cried.
Shining down from heaven’s spires,
I just wanted to get higher.
Stand and pray in the evening rain,
I’ll never see the light.
Maybe I should run away,
Got no strength left to fight.

All We Share

I’ve been running around, nobody hears no sound,
Nobody’s listening to wasters like me.
Keep getting on, keep getting on, cause getting off
That’s not for dreamers like me.
Come crying round, we’ll tread the same old ground,
The only few people who care.
Sometimes I think, but sometimes I think,
Now the tears are all we share.

Some days they roll by, my head up in the sky,
The blue expanse of endless dreams.
When the clouds roll by, then do I wonder why
I’m stuck here with this life of broken means?
You can’t understand, silver spoon in your hand,
Why isn’t everyone else like you?
Sometimes I’m trying, but you see me crying,
Like only freaks would do.

I’ll trade my memories for your empty dreams,
At least there’s some hope left to find
In chasing round but never nailing down
These dreams, they’re torturing my mind.
It’s such lovely advice, oh it must be so nice,
To live atop the cloudy sky,
But if for one day, you saw things my way,
Maybe then you’d finally learn to cry.

So don’t come around, don’t want to hear your sound,
I think it’s better to be alone.
Don’t be lying, don’t be crying all the tears,
The love you’ve never shown.
You could never find the pain inside my mind,
You wouldn’t even be able to care,
We’re worlds apart, and since you broke my heart,
I hope the tears are all we share.