And, no, it’s not that Death Metal is depressing. Some of it is, much of it is not. As it happens, head bangers tend to be a fairly happy, well adjusted lot, present company excepted.
Anyway, a long time ago, my beautiful, long-suffering bride and I decided to go to Beijing to study Chinese. “What does this have to do with Swedish Death Metal and a depressing revelation,” you might ask. Follow along.
One of our classmates turned out to be a head banger, and as I’m also a head banger, we hit it off pretty well. It turned out that L was into a much harder end of the metal spectrum than I, and he introduced me to a whole segment of metal that I didn’t even know existed.
One of the bands L introduced me to is Arch Enemy, and although I hadn’t even heard of Death Metal at that time (for reasons way outside the scope of this story) I loved their stuff, right from the git go.
“You’re still not connecting this to any depressing revelation, Andrew.”
Patience, Daniel San.
Fast-forward 15 years.
I’ve finally admitted out loud, to other people, including my beautiful, long-suffering bride, that I struggle with depression. Among my keys to dealing with it are quiet time and exercise.
I was out on my kayak yesterday, getting a little exercise, a little fresh air, some peace and quiet, enjoying a very nice cigar, and tormenting a few small mouth bass. I had my iPod set to random, play all songs and up popped a track from Arch Enemy’s 2017 album, Will to Power,
The track in question is A Fight I Must Win (link is to Arch Enemy’s official YouTube channel). When I realized just how big my problem with depression is, I knew I had to fight it, if not for me, then for my family.
And I’ve seen the devastating consequences of suicide; on parents, siblings, children, friends and acquaintances. Hell, I’ve suffered some of those effects. So, in this battle with depression it is, simply, a fight I must win.
Which brings us to my depressing revelation:
I can’t win.
That’s it, I can’t win this fight. No matter how often I score a victory, no matter how often I beat the monster back, it’s temporary. He always returns. Sometimes stronger, sometimes weaker, but he always comes back.
I. Can’t. Win.
At least, I can’t win absolutely and permanently. After 40 years, I finally get it, I’m not fighting for final victory, I’m fighting a holding action, drawing and holding a line, “Thus far, and no farther.”
What does it mean going forward? I don’t know.
But I’ll figure it out.