My Story, My Art
chains of depression
'I want to die.
I have no reason for continuing with this miserable existence.
I am worse than ever.
I hurt in my head and stomach but most of all in my being.
I need help. I can't do this on my own.
But where do I find that help?
Nothing makes sense.
Everything is confused.
There are only bits everywhere that don't add up.
It is time to leave but I am too cowardly to kill myself.
If only there was some purpose or meaning to it all I wouldn't go.
I have ruined this life.
I so much wanted to make a go of it but now I don't have any strength left.
The pain is extreme.
I thought I had seen all the pain I could ever see but apparently not.
I thought I had been as anxious as I could ever be but apparently not.
Perhaps death will be a relief.
I want relief. I want an answer. I want a way out that is bigger than all of this.
I can't fight any more.
My little world of lovely precious things no longer equals out the pain.
... I want to go ... '
Journal entry - 1988
If you have lived or are living these words, then this web site is for you. If you are trying to help someone who is living these words, then this web site is also for you.
How old was I when I wrote these words? I was twenty-eight. But I could just as well have been twenty-four, thirty-five, forty … They tell my story more truly than any other words I could write here ... and so perhaps they also tell yours.
I have often come to these points of utter despair.
I so much wanted to find a way to live in this world ...
Marianne Broug ... brief bio ...
I was born in Sydney. I was a professional musician and music teacher, and am now a writer. I completed a Bachelor of Music at Sydney University and performed extensively throughout Australia in all arenas of music. In 1985 I moved to Adelaide to work with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. In 2003 I had a music book for children - 'Flute with a Twist' - published by Bushfire Press. I have also sold numerous art works, several of which are distributed through this site. My book 'Seventeen Voices: Life and wisdom from inside "mental illness"' is available from Wakefield Press. See Seventeen Voices page of this site for further details. My book on my journey out of suffering and to the peace of lived awakening, is currently in pre-publication.
comment on my art ...
I have been painting and drawing for many years. At first I merely copied other people's ideas and work. I was very good at painting 'in the style of someone else'. As with my words and my life, I only felt that the work of someone else was good enough. But slowly I started to experiment - my meticulous pencil drawings gradually became messier. The edges started to blur. I began to enjoy the satisfaction (and the relief) of the hard scratching of my pencil on cardboard. Some of my messiest momentary expressions were in actuality my greatest personal triumphs. The act of drawing or painting became a journey in itself. Then I started to experiment. My paintings got bigger and bigger. The edges became loud and bold and the colours grew in intensity. Through my art I gradually got in touch with a freedom that I did not allow myself in any other setting. I was painting from 'felt sense', from that sense of meaning or spirit that comes before words or symbols. Only once that came through in my art did I start to allow myself that freedom in writing and in the living of my life.
My story ...
For over twenty years I suffered from episodes of depression and anxiety. And for over twenty years I sought healing. I felt that any path to wholeness must make sense of both my everyday self and my spiritual self. So while trying to find answers from psychiatry, psychology, psychoanalysis, psychotherapy and bodywork, I also explored Buddhism, Hinduism, meditation, and The New Age.
And although some of these therapies, techniques and spiritual pursuits had much to offer, their answers seemed only partial. Although I steadily acquired more knowledge and information about the world, my childhood, spirituality and everyday life, on a fundamental level something was missing. I could make some progress but it inevitably took only one more personal crisis or one more painful remembrance to catapult me back into misery. I couldn't understand why as a reasonably intelligent, astute and sensitive person, with so many avenues of healing available to me, I was not able to live my life with contentment and happiness. It seemed there was always one more thing I was doing wrong, one more thing that needed to be fixed or one more aspect of my past that I needed to delve into and confront.
I had not been able to find the answers I was looking for in sciences and techniques because they were only looking at the physical reality and outer appearances of the world. They could only ever answer the age old questions like “Who am I?”, “Why am I here?”, “How do I live my life in a meaningful way?” with the reply “This is how you do things”. They could only tell me what to do or what not to do. They could only propose that life be lived as a methodology or as a machine (a broken one), but such a life was ultimately a life without deeper meaning or purpose - a life which precluded any notion of depth and spirituality.
In my exploration of spiritual paths and the New Age I had been continually confronted by the fact that my immense suffering seemed to have no place. They talked of a world of lightness, and bliss and happiness. And although these were indeed qualities I hungered for, I also knew on some level that any view of reality had to account for ALL my experience in a way that was meaningful . I felt that the difficulties I was going through had to be just as much a part of my valid experience as the bliss! I couldn't just bypass them by trying to meditate, chant or pretend them away. I knew that any spiritual path had to encompass spirit in my everyday life and that included when I argued with my partner, played with my dogs or screamed my desperate pain.
From 1998-2000 I increasingly despaired of ever finding a way to live in the world. I lay in bed and for the first time I completely gave up. I decided I would have to live like a robot - get a job, keep busy, and then die. I decided I couldn't think too much, or feel too much. It seemed that superficiality was the only way to live in the world.
Then in the year 2000 I met a man called Andrew Paul. Like me, Andrew was passionately interested in the nature of the inner world and consciousness, and its relationship to suffering. Andrew had been greatly influenced and inspired by the thought and writing of British philosopher and psychologist, Peter Wilberg. (In 2003 I interviewed Andrew, and my interview with him appears on the articles page.)
Andrew believed that lasting change in people’s lives was only possible when they could get in touch with a deeper self - and see ALL of lived experience, the body, feelings, thoughts, and actions as one WHOLE meaningful expression of that self. He was saying 'ALL the answers are within you, none of them need to come from outside', 'don't follow my technique, my words, my person - learn to listen to your inner Self'. This was putting the person who is suffering at the top of the heap (not Jung, not Freud, Sai Baba, not anyone, not a lot of words, not a lot of symbols, not a lot of practices, not a lot of demands). The answer ... the Truth ... was within.
Andrew also believed that the role of any 'healer' was not to be a technician, 'expert' or 'guru' but rather to relate to and receive people on this fundamental level. When I thought back over the times that I had made progress I realised that they had never come about through a technique, medicine or a religious imperative. They had always come about because I had connected with myself or another person (whether that be a therapist or a friend) on a deep level.
Within this view I began to understand that depression and indeed any illness (see articles), was not a weakness or problem. Depression was as natural as a sneeze, as natural as childbirth, as natural as a fever: it was the solution. I could see that my depression was a valid and meaningful expression of life's questions and that its message was to withdraw, go inwards into depth, and connect on ever-deepening levels, with my inner nature. Depression was the indication that I was living (or have been forced to live) a life unable to listen to my True Self. The fact that I had been unable to find a lasting and all-encompassing healing was simply because there had been no path that had addressed me and my reality at its fundamental level. There was never any address made of what a human being actually is ... who I am! Spirit. True Self. (The idea that one might seek to heal something when there is no mention made of what that something actually is, seems quite bizarre to me now!)
In the past I had found that any mention of spirit or our inner world was somehow cloaked in ambiguity and imprecision. But in the early works of Peter Wilberg, he takes our inner world as our primary reality, and shows that in no way is it separate from our everyday reality. Every bit of lived experience makes sense. It is meaningful. I began to see the ups and downs of my life within a much larger context. As I moved within, and was increasingly in touch with a deeper and deeper knowing of my True Nature, I began to truly touch and be in touch with the rest of the world, whether that be another person, a sunset, a tree or a dog. Despite all the societal, religious, scientific or parental demands to the contrary I began to rely on, listen to and live from my inner reality above all else. I began to change, grow, take on more of who I am, take on more of others in ways I had not thought possible.
Then in 2008 I had a deep awakening. Identity as a separate self fell away and I dropped into Emptiness/Awareness/Consciousness as the lived Truth of what I am. Here was a deep peace and naturalness. It was the Home I had always sensed as my birthright ... as humanity's birthright. Read more in Spirit.
I hope you will wander through this web site and take in the enormous wealth contained within it. It is an appeal to your intelligence and your inner knowing that you make sense in every way. Nothing about you is wrong.
Please also read my many personal notes and comments that are spread throughout this site. Those on the Spirit or Quotes page are a good starting point. As far as articles go, my interview with Andrew Paul on the Articles page is good preliminary material, as are Peter Wilberg's articles on depression.
Reaching for Inner Self