I’d thought I was past the deep depression.
I didn’t think I was better, in the way people usually mean better – back to normal, back to before. After all that’s passed I’m not sure people get better from severe psychiatric episodes; I think they change. Maybe more things are like that than we tend to think; our whole lives are movements from one body to another, each moment to the next, and the belief that we can return to some ideal state is the impossible desire of medicine and lie of cosmetics. We never were fixed in plaster, our ideal body and mind something we can return to after a fall or a break or a cut. Time stitches us back together, but in even the smallest wounds you can see the join if you look close enough. We live through life, ever more scarred, surviving it until the moment we don’t.
So I didn’t think I was better. But I did think I was past the deep depression, at least for now. Sure, I’ve not been feeling great for a few weeks – but I’ve been unemployed for over a month, I am critically indebted thanks to the gambling, my future options are substantially hobbled and it remains – it will always remain – that the life I’d been building and dreams I’d been working toward for most of my adult life are now pulverised. I think I’m allowed the occasional blue day, or week. Depression is part of living any human life. And sure, some get more sorrow than others; but that’s life, kiddo, and these are your cards.
Even when I collapsed sobbing a couple of weeks ago I wasn’t too worried. At mum and dad’s, talking about bills, I felt myself slipping down, down, down. Took myself quietly to the spare room and lay on the bed, mood collapsing until my body clenched itself into a ball and I clawed my face, sobbing, sobbing, sobbing over all my mistakes and regrets, failures and fuckups over my stupid nowhere life that once promised so much, all the broken promises I’d made to myself, all the empty empty space where I used to hold hope. Even then, after the tears had flooded out and I’d ugly-cried myself dry, I came up gasping for air, back in the world the springtime and birdsong, and gulped, and gulped, and was OK. Sad still, but OK. I think sometimes you just need to lose your shit with grief. I do, anyway.
I think that’s healthy, sometimes.
I wasn’t expecting the gut punch. More than a gut punch. An iron bar to the face, knocking me flat, bleeding and broken.
Full bodied depression really is full bodied. Limbs like lead and head full of thick smoke, voice vanished. I could barely walk. Three days out of the past ten I’ve been so severely floored I could barely sustain consciousness, just slept and slept and knew with brutal certainty that I needed to end myself. Knew with cool reason that one day the day would come. Yesterday, thinking it sad I’d never see another spring, trying to fine tune my plan so that my loved ones wouldn’t be the ones to find the body.
Friends telling me ‘you know you don’t always feel this way’. And the truth of it strange, something I’m aware of in an alien abstract plane at the edge of space, far from the solid stone at the heart of me, dragging me dragging me down. ‘You don’t always feel this way’, as if you were told that sometimes you have wings and fly, and on Tuesdays we go see the velociraptors in the zoo, and you have to agree it’s true because far out on the edge of your soul you remember it once being true, remember even saying the same to other people, even though now it’s patently absurd. ‘You don’t always feel this way’, yes yes, I know, and usually there are mountains in the sky, and our drinks are served by parakeets. But not today, today there have only ever been storm clouds, and old coffee staining ash-flecked sheets.
The reality of deep depression is iron.
And then today! A night full of dreams ends with a morning bright and cool, and I sit up, and I’m fine. Just fine. I’ll head to the gym, do some laundry, fill in some job applications. Mum and dad left behind tortillas, I can make quesadillas for lunch, veggie fajitas for tea. I’m in crippling debt, my aspirations all rotten and mud, I have no job and no income and I’m far, far from my friends. But I can go to the gym, and make fajitas for tea. In the woods today, there are bluebells.
The reality of the world is iron, and snow, cold rain and laughter and sorrow, and bluebells and bruises and the vast open sky, stars, piss on concrete and blood on the sheets, and wounds and life, and surviving until the moment we don’t.
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