“Your blog has gone kinda quiet of late” He said. “I know” I said.
So here I am, with nothing much to say but with a sense that I should say it anyway.
I write this now from a plain. You know whenever you embark on something they all say to you ‘oh you will see the mountains and you will see the plains’ So this must be the plain. I wish there was a way to write a shrug of the shoulders. You know? When someone asks you how you are or how you’re doing and you don’t speak, you just shrug your shoulders? This post is a shoulder shrug. Its a blah. Its plain.
I credit this to one thing. Depression. I am in the midst of a relapse of my depression.
This is not fun and though I know this terrain very well, it doesn’t make it any easier to walk through.
I have been here for about 2 months now. I keep walking with the faithful self-talk that tells me ‘The end is just around the next bend ” but so far I don’t see the end, though I know it waits for me.
For those who know him, depression needs no explanation. He is such a sunken, sad thing.
I hate writing from this place. If you go back through the archives you will notice I have had breaks of writing that span weeks and weeks and if there is a break it will always be due to depression.
Writing is my joy and though I may not publish all that I write, I can tell you that I write nearly every day but there is a black dog which weaves in and out of the trees, with one eye always upon me. When it chooses to take me it will take not my breath or my heart beat but it takes the thing that makes the very breath worth breathing and every heart beat worth beating.
It takes my joy.
I hate my depression. I call it my own because it is my own. The way depression stealthily tracks a person and then quietly pounces upon a person is unique to them. You learn to sense it is close even before you see it. You become familiar with the scent of it which is carried on the wind towards you even months before you see its dark hide creep over the horizon toward you.
Depression has always been and perhaps will always be my hunter.
“Because I am by nature blind, I wisely choose to walk behind; However, to avoid disgrace, I let no creature see my face. My words are few, but spoke with sense; And yet my speaking gives offence: Or if to whisper I presume, the company will fly the room…”
My depression silences me and shrouds me from the world. It makes breathing laboured and eyelids heavy.
I still see the lemons ripening on the tree and I still hear the chorus of my favourite songs but it doesn’t touch me. I want to lean down and smell the sharpness of the half ripe lemon and I want to sing the words to that song that only weeks ago bought my hands above my head and yet all I do is stand there and think ‘oh look, there is a lemon, and oh listen, this is a song’
I think back to everything I learned of mental illness and can read back through the bookmarked pages specific to depression and yet no matter how much I learn I cannot graduate from the constriction of the depression. Just the same as someone may read all about flight and feathers and wings and find themselves no more a bird than when they started.
I miss friends yet I feel a cramp in my fingers as I try to dial their numbers.
I miss my mother but I don’t tell her.
I lie under 3, 4, 5 blankets and my skin still prickles from the cold.
I swallow the purple and green pill every morning with my orange juice but it doesn’t bring the joy back, it just manipulates the right brain receptors so that the parts that process pain and sadness and goodness and ease are smoothed out so nothing feels particularly bad anymore, but then nothing feels particularly good either.
You can’t see a bruise or a cut…you seem to be able to move it around…
“But your life is fine!” They will say. “You have this and you have that, nobody has died, you have friends….’
I hate it when I am in the throes of it, and I hate it when it lifts and I feel normal again because then every night I go to sleep I wonder if I will smell the scent of it on the wind in the morning and know it is on its way back home.
I hate that I have prayed over it, have had people pray over it, have read about it and have people who have read about it speak to me about it and yet it keeps coming back.
But when the depression slinks away over that horizon and into the woods I have life again and during those times you will never find a happier girl.
When I am alive I can describe to you in perfect detail the sharp, zesty, greenness of a nearly ripe lemon. My laughter will take over my whole body. I will ball up my fists close to my chest and say how beautiful a tree or a scene or a photo or a sunset is over and over and over and over again. I hold my children close, I write letters, I buy plants and soil and pots and make gardens, I paint my toenails an unreasonably bright pink and and if a good song comes on I will sing along to it too loud and with too many arm movements. I will miss my friends so much that I cry and then beg them to visit me, I will write until my fingers hurt, I will put fresh flowers on my table and cook interesting meals and spend hours on the phone talking about nothing at all. I sometimes raise eyebrows because my enthusiasm for life seems over the top and exaggerated.
But that is ok because it’s true.
When I am alive I am so thankful for life that even the smallest evidences of it cause me immense joy and satisfaction.