It’s A Frustrating Mess

In 1967, Jimi Hendrix released “Manic Depression.” Three years later, I was born. So, I don’t remember if this song made an impact on American society. However, as someone who started listening to Hendrix a few years ago, this song has made an impact on me. “Manic Depression is ugly times music,” Hendrix once quipped. “It’s so ugly you can feel it.”

The song is full of cacophonic chords and dysfunctional drumming. It reminds me of “trash art,” the kind of art that is made out of the scrap metal from a ’74 Pinto found 30 years later in a junkyard. Apart, the pieces are still ugly; together, they somehow strive (and almost get there) for artistic value. I don’t know if Hendrix meant for this kind of analogy to be drawn about this song or any of his other works, but that is what it feels like to me.

In the song, Jimi says, “Manic-depression’s a frustrating mess.” Yes, it is, Jimi, yes it is. Your song may not convey the ups and downs of what is today called “bipolar disorder” (a rather sterile, scientific term, if you ask me), but your song is a “frustrating mess”, and that’s why I like it.

If you’ve never checked out any of Jimi Hendrix’s music, I would highly recommend “Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix”. He may not have led the cleanest life, but then his music is unclean, raw, and, at times, distasteful. I don’t think Mr. Hendrix cared whether or not his music left a pleasant aftertaste on anyone’s palate, however.

As for me, I can vouch for the validity of Jimi’s statement. Cognitive, mood and behavioral disorders (including schizophrenia and manic-depression) are extremely frustrating. I’ll save that topic for another post. Suffice it to say, I’ve got things I want to do, things I want to be accomplishing, and almost every time I try to do something (especially gainful employment), I fail. Like a computer virus attacking “The Great Firewall of China”, I can’t seem to break into that system. Like I said, more on that later.

For now, just know that I am doing well, that I am thoroughly enjoying the summer, and that until further notice…if you keep reading, I’ll keep writing.

Best wishes…


PS For a decent recording of “Manic Depression” by Jimi Hendrix, visit this website:

Although I could not find a video recording of this song, a well-done slideshow accompanies this particular version of the song.

7 thoughts on “It’s A Frustrating Mess

  1. Nancy Merbitz July 29, 2010 at 1:30 pm Reply

    >I'm listening to it right now – thanks for the link. I enjoy Hendrix, and I'm old enough to have heard him while he was still alive making recordings, and I relate to his vibe : >)

  2. Anonymous July 29, 2010 at 4:15 pm Reply

    >Eddie, thanks for hitting the frustrations of mental illnesses on the head yet again! Your descriptions, your struggles, your analogies… all help me understand our son better. I so appreciate your posts. Please keep writing!

  3. Anonymous July 29, 2010 at 4:17 pm Reply

    >Some of us are still reading. Keep on writin'.

  4. eb July 29, 2010 at 4:26 pm Reply

    >Hey, Nancy:I used to work with a guy who wrote on his cup (worked at a restaurant) the words "Hendrix is a god". Not sure if I agree with that, but in my opinion, he was a musical genius. Tragic ending to a truly "beautiful (or should I say 'ugly'?) mind". He truly felt his music.eb

  5. eb July 29, 2010 at 4:27 pm Reply

    >Hey, Anonymous! You are very welcome. I hope your son is doing okay. Let me know if I can be of any help, okay?Best wishes…eb

  6. eb July 29, 2010 at 4:30 pm Reply

    >PS Thanks for the encouragement! I think I might just do that.Take care…eb

  7. eb July 29, 2010 at 4:34 pm Reply

    >PSS I was getting a lot of goose eggs (zeros) on the "Comments" page, so I thought I'd lost people. Perhaps, my posts were beginning to get too academic. Anyway, I decided (needed) to take a break. I gave it some thought, and I think I'll take a different approach…mix things up (academic sometimes, personal other times). Hopefully, this keeps people's interest better.eb

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