It’s summer. There’s sunshine, heat, thunderstorms, and a seemingly endless bunch of motivations to just get out there and enjoy the world.
I’m sitting in my darkened cave of a bedroom, the whir of the fan droning on, thinking about all the things I could do. That’s the key word, right there. Could.
I could deep-clean the house, taking one room every day until it’s sparkling. That would make way for the painting that needs to be freshened up and the various carpentry jobs that need to be completed.
I could be outside with my camera, scouring the town and the enfolding hills of our valley for artistic photographs and vignettes. The excitement of seeing art framed within that lense is always welcome.
I could be creating other forms of art. I have paint. I have clay. I’ve been wanting to form some vine sculptures to hang outside in the new sitting area that the husband and I built.
I could be sitting out in that lovely space with a second cup of coffee, enjoying the sunshine and still-dewy late morning.
I could be narrowing down my first bake from the recipes I’ve been eyeing since becoming obsessed with watching The Great British Baking Show. No, I’m no Mary Berry, the legendary British Baking Queen a la America’s Julia Child, and while I am greatly enamored of Paul Hollywood and his beefcake (although he’s The Bread God), his steely blue eyes, and his impish grin, I doubt I’ll ever pull off a brioche as heavenly as his. This doesn’t mean that I don’t want to try, and to be honest, the husband is hoping I’ll experiment, too.
I could be out walking, getting those critical steps in to keep my legs muscular and loose, to stave off the arthritic stiffness that accompanies too little movement. 192 steps up a steep hill at the conclusion of my daily treks is the test every single day. If I make it up neither winded or needing to stop for a few seconds to gulp air into my lungs and flood my body with oxygen, I consider it a passing grade. Those days are plentiful, my body being used to the “Nightmare on Elm Street”, because yes, the street is called Elm Street and I’ve never met a single person who enjoys the climb.
All of those things. I could be doing them. But I’m not, because the one symptom of a full-blown depressive episode – my low times – is procrastination. Letting my depression sink its teeth into my psyche and bite down hard. Moving is pain; the teeth sink deeper and it hurts. So moving becomes very scary. I have to take it slowly, letting my meds cut through the fog of anxiety and the ensuing darkness, before grabbing those jaws and pulling the teeth out of me. Some mornings, it just mouths me almost playfully, like a kitten or a puppy will when it’s deciding whether or not it wants to fall asleep or play tug of war with it’s human’s body part. Some mornings, the teeth jar me awake, the terror flooding every nook and cranny of my body, and even stretching is an exercise in courage. This morning was not entirely a terror-inducing awakening, but somewhere just before. I knew that I needed to write, because writing helps put everything into perspective.
When I’m “down in it” I don’t want to do anything, to feel anything, to be anything. We read memes on social media about hating people and not wanting to go out. That is quite literally me, and those memes are almost comical because they’re so truthful. I really don’t hate everyone, but I dread them. I dread having to encounter someone I know, make eye contact, smile, talk.
Fuck. It’s all so exhausting.
It’s easier to sit in this room, putting off what I could do, allowing the cocoon of safety to enslave me. The problem is, the hopeless thoughts live in here, and the sad ones, and the scary ones, too. Out in the world, I can attempt an escape, immersing myself in other activities to stave them off. It’s 90% effective about 50% of the time, and you’d think that I’d be clamoring to just get on with it and play the odds. The low time is seductive, though, in that while the meds make the fog of panic recede, in its place comes the desire to just be a lump of flesh and to sink into a couch, or bed. A dark place. A safe place of Nothingness.
I’m waiting for a call from my future employer, saying it’s time to begin. That will certainly help, although having taken time off to recover from my eye condition and rejuventue my psyche has lulled me back into feeling like I just don’t fucking know what I want. My eyes aren’t healed. I know, intellectually, that the chemicals are off in my body. Menopause is no fucking joke, and my brain was tricked into happiness by looking forward to our recent vacation and seeing my favorite band- Ghost – not once, but twice in two days. I met the lead singer, Papa Emeritus III, and a couple of the Nameless Ghouls. It was a thrill that I never imagined happening to me. I got to spend time at the Atlantic Ocean and to swim in it. In 50 years of life, I had never been in the ocean. The peacefulness and the majesty…it overtook me and for once in my life, I felt a calming and pure wave of happiness descend over and through my body, making me feel like I must glow from being lit from within. I knew that I needed this. I need it. Every day. We returned home, to reality. I floated on a cloud for a day or two, revisiting our happy escapade.
Then it all came crashing down. I’ve been sitting at the bottom ever since, thinking that if this continues to be my reality – this shitty little town, these boring routines, beauty so far away from me, and the hateful, spiteful, divisive rhetoric that permeates the world we live in – then why continue? What the fuck is the point? I’m tired. Tired of reaching for a brass ring that tears away from my grasping fingers. I’m tired of knowing that I am blessed, but not feeling it. I’m tired of depression and its constant reminder that I am broken, and that chemicals prop me up and make me presentable. I am tired.
No. This isn’t a cry for help. This is more a rant, albeit weak. I know that I’m going to publish this, then put my clothes on and push through the day. I’ll walk. I’ll forget my fears and sadness for a little bit. I’ll flood my sore, achy eyes with drops and climb those 192 steps. It will be okay. I just needed to say it:
Depression, you motherfucker. I fucking hate you, you liar, you cheat, you thief of all things good. You will not win, you evil piece of shit. You will not win.