On Depression

Friday, August 17, 2012

on depression

Depression is a nosy neighbor that sneaks in the back door, uninvited.

There is nothing wrong. Nothing. You can't complain. You can't put your finger on it. There's no machine to rage against. And yet everything is annoying, everything slightly chafes. You want to connect with people, but you can't. They say the wrong things, even when they're trying to say the right things. You wait for the phone to ring, and when it does, you don't answer it. When it's sunny, you hide behind dark curtains. When it's raining, you wish you could escape the pervasive hammering of raindrops, the feeling that if it keeps raining like that, the house will begin to leak and fall apart. You keep waiting for things to break, for anything to break, for the moment when something gives you an excuse to cry, because that would feel better than waiting to cry.

You get angry with yourself. This feeling is stupid. It's fleeting, self-indulgent, meaningless. There is, you repeat, nothing wrong. You hurt, but you can't pinpoint where or why. You think you might be starting to get sick, but maybe you just can't breathe properly. Your stomach hurts, but you don't know why. Maybe it was that salad you ate, except you haven't eaten salad, because you keep forgetting to eat. You wait all day to go to bed and sleep, but when the time actually comes, sleep retreats, just out of reach, as far away as the stars that you've forgotten to look at because you don't want to go outside.

You get caught in loops. The same websites. The same songs. The same pajama pants for days on end. You try to remember what you had for dinner last night. You try to remember the last time you felt joy. The laundry piles up in endless cycles that seem meaningless until you're out of something you need. Dust dances in sunbeams, but instead of dusting, you close the curtains.

That's the thing about depression, dark patches, bad days-- they defy reason. They can last five minutes or five years. You are smart enough to know that none of it matters, that it's totally ridiculous. You know that it's chemical, or hormonal, or part of your cycle as a human or an artist, but that doesn't stop it from dragging you down into paralysis. That doesn't stop it from hurting. That doesn't stop the thick knot in your chest that steals your breath and words. And so you keep trudging through, taking care of everyone, doing what you have to do, hitting your deadlines. But inside, you're just a sucking, infected wound that never quite heals.

The bad news: depression happens in a place no one else can see.

The good news: It will get better.