Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Nature of the Beast

Coming out of a depression is like waking up from a coma you weren't even aware you were in. Suddenly, you just open your eyes and things are there for you again.Instead of looking at everyone through a foggy window, there are contrasts in color and expression. People's smiles don't hurt your heart or make you jealous, wondering where that happiness comes from. You don't wish anymore that you could be them for just one night.

You become aware you've been schlepping around in drab colors (gray, tan and black) and that mostly you've preferred comfortable clothing (in other words, a step up from pajamas) and you didn't care how you looked anyway because you hid behind your hair and scuffed your feet, wishing for invisibility and anonimity because every "hello" from a stranger is too painful to respond to.

You eat, and food has texture and taste. And you actually care about what you're having for dinner. You put some effort into the preparations instead of working on auto-pilot. You realize that now you've started enjoying eating again, you've lost 40 pounds so it's time to hit the gym hard and make sure it stays off. It's not the way you were meant to lose it, but hey, it's gone and let's not get it back, okay?

Instead of working on minute by minute, you start thinking about what comes next, and later, and tomorrow, and next week. Other people's problems don't hurt you anymore. Like when you found out about Steve Irwin dying, and it was like a personal friend just died and you couldn't believe it or get over it. Or when you were watching Chronicles of Narnia with your kids and within 15 minutes you were bawling on your bed over the moms and kids separating, and you have a hard time returning to the movie.

Every THING that happens to every ONE doesn't directly impact your emotional status. Depression is like being underwater. Moving around sluggishly, dragging yourself around, forcibly, some test of will managing your encumbered limbs' leaden weights. Gravity sucks you down into this whirlpool of darkness. It's hard to see, let alone open your ears to listen or your mouth to speak. You are a burden to yourself, and surely everyone else around you, too.

There is no "self". There is just movement from Point A to Point B with a long drawn out pause in between. And you get there because you simply have no choice. Depression talks to you. It tells you, you are worthless. You mean nothing. You have no future. You have no hope for the future. You are expendable, frail, ugly, invaluable, hopeless, useless, and stupid beyond all compare. You become a stranger in your own body, wanting to jump out of it like you're in a costume.

You know intellectually that this isn't you, but emotionally, you've been hijacked by a bunch of misfiring neurons, and there's nothing you can do about it. If you let it, depression will eventually tell you that someone can fill the spot you leave behind, like a line in a queue. You vacate, and another moves in to the void you leave behind, and you start to believe it because you're too exhausted to fight it anymore.Depression chases you, like a rabid beast in an empty field that never ends. It has no mercy, and it never lets up.

Depression can run forever, it is inexhaustable. Eventually, you trip on that rock in the ground as you're looking over your shoulder. Not giving into it is the greatest struggle of all as depression closes in on you.You finally pick up your fried self and get on with life. You have to. If you stayed lying down, you wouldn't ever get up. You get up because you have to. Because inside that dense brain packed full of misfiring neurons, there is a voice that tells you to wake up, and the faces of the people who love you shine like beacons of light in the darkness.All you have to do is turn towards them, leaving the beast behind you.



Ingrid said...

This was quite eloquent, and a very accurate description of what living with depression is like.

Dragonfly said...

Thank you so much for sharing that!
Heres hoping and praying the black dog stays away for you.

The 1 & Only QueenBee said...