I’ve been avoiding writing about this for a long time, because like most normal people I was hoping it would just go away.
Instead it has just gotten a makeover, like a punchy 90’s teen comedy, except instead of finding love in the end, I’m still depressed.
Although, I’m not trying to discredit all the wonderful things that have happened in my life and all the beautiful people who bring me happiness. It’s just that it’s time to admit: the baseline of depression is still there, no matter who and what I cover it up with.
What has changed is the rage. Which is unfortunate because the rage was an appropriate if somewhat toxic foil to the depression. The depression sits quietly and alone on the couch and is filled with self doubt; the rage ran out into the streets screaming and smeared itself in the faces of anyone who was unfortunate enough to watch. Me without my rage is a person dealing with the monopolarity of something that is quite unpleasant.
The rage was a comfort zone, a warm buffer against the cold nights of depression. It motivated me. It got me out of the house. It made me loud. Without rage, and with onl depression, I am facing an iteration of myself that I’m entirely comfortable with. It’s dissatisfying to always be a person who loses her sense of self in sad emotion, even when the rational part of me says, “Come on, stop that, it’s not helpful.” Rage was the demon that kicked depression in the ass, and if common sense is the only rope dangling down to save me from this hole, I have to admit: common sense isn’t a rope at all, merely twine that is, at the end of the day, a farcical and cruel imitation of the rope that could save me from this place.
I miss my rage. I don’t know why it has escaped me. Perhaps it was merciful – when I had my rage, I never had to look at my depression. Without rage, it’s just the two of us in this pit, fighting it out to the death. Perhaps this is why I miss my rage – without it, how do I know that I can win against my depression? Or, with my rage, I never would have even tried to fight.
The rage was just too dangerous. I ran away from it because it hurt me. It hurt me many times over the course of my life, in little ways that felt good in the most masochistic sense. But finally, one day, it tried to kill me, and it nearly won, so I had to run away. I did not want my rage to kill me, so I abandoned it. And now here I am, alone with my depression, and missing the fighting chance that rage gave me.
Perhaps this is why I cling to my depression. I’m afraid of the person I would be without it. Ah, yes, the trap of depression: I have let it become so much of myself that I don’t know how to function without it. What do they call that? Oh, yeah. Codependency. I sit here and moan that I would do anything to live without it, but as soon as it starts to leave I cry so that it knows to stay.
Depression, in its most quotidian form, is not good for me. It’s certainly not good for my writing. But I just don’t know how to kick it. It’s been damn near three years of straight depression, in this quiet, caring iteration. It’s made me do so many stupid things against my will, without my consent. It’s made me love people who never loved me back. It’s made me abandon my dreams in the hopes that maybe my dreams were what made me sick. Now I’m still sick, and I have no dreams, and it’s miserable.
I am going to escape you one day. I’m not quite sure how – the brain fog of depression is stunning, but I am still in here, somewhere in my mind, and I will peel away thin layer after thin layer of depression until finally I find the crack in the darkness, the pinhole of light. I’ve been a prisoner here for years, and I will be a prisoner here for many years to come, but I will not die here. I can feel inside my heart, in the darkest corner, which I have hidden from depression – I can feel a fleck of the will to survive, of confidence and beauty, a small, sallow bead of something different still living inside me. It is anemic and pallid, but it is there nonetheless, and I am guarding it with my life because it is the only thing that can save me. Even if it takes years. Even if it takes decades. I am waiting here with my grain of invisible hope, and I am planning my escape while depression, my captor, prances around in my clothes and my body and my mind, pretending to be me, like a fool, but that will never last. I have always been weak, but one day I will be strong, and on the first day I am strong, I will break out of here alive.
And I will see the sunshine, and I will taste the fruit, and I will experience beauty, and even if I die immediately thereafter, those few moments of life will make it all worth it. Do not give up my seat at the table of the living – I will be very late, but expect me.