I have spent the last month drowning and treading. Every single day, bar one*, I have woken up with a hurt so strangely large that it no longer resides in my mind or heart but heavily in my belly. In the past, when depression has come calling, there has always been reprieve of some sort. And I wait for the air to break into my lungs, the ocean sun to hit my face, if only for a moment. Just enough to know that I will survive. That I will not drown. Not yet. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. That my arms and legs aren’t dangerously exhausted from kicking and fighting. The worst thing about depression is that in addition to the pain there is so much guilt. Guilt for feeling this way. I feel stupid that I can’t over come something so small as a faceless monster that lives only in my head. I have health, wealth, and abundance. I have love, friendship, and community. And I can’t wake up with a smile. I wake up with a bag of bricks in my gut. Why? Because some person stripped me naked, covered me in honey, and set the bears on me? Have I not overcame bigger things with less struggle? This sadness that lives where so much joy used to be, it’s so much bigger than that story. No one can be blamed for something that is so extremely without shape or reason.
I wonder if I am being self indulgent. If this poets heart is greedily dining on fodder for a million paragraphs of prose. It feels like I am picking a scab with a backhoe. Parts and pieces of me flying off, while I dig so deep that there is nothing left but a pile of dirt and a river of salt water. I’m exhausted. I just want to feel good again. I’d settle for OK. I’d settle for some sleep and a night off from the nightmares. I understand the reasoning behind wanting to die, even when you are physically sound. The beasts that live inside are already taking more than can ever be replenished. And life is no fun when you are not enjoying it. I used to get so mad at my friends who have taken the cowards way out. And I still do. But I understand. That will not ever, ever mean that I will stop fighting this fight. And even now, when I see no end it sight, my army is cut in half, and my weapons have changed from tanks to halfhearted swings at shadows, I will keep working. There are no other options.
Sadness, like ego, has an infinite appetite. The main difference being that it eats slower. It will be half way through your stores before you realize it was even hungry. I see its fat, fucking ass sitting in the corner of my room. It makes the whole place smell like an antique chest that is filled with a decades worth of old socks. Today I fight it back with words. Yesterday it was anger. The day before, xanax, apathy. Tomorrow it will be with the help of a counselor. With all of these days combined, I still feel firmly planted on square one. The sadness blob only seems to be getting more comfortable and greedy. All I want to do is throw a blanket over it and forget about it. But this time it seems that there is no covering big enough. It must be starved out. If I can figure out how. A mountain I thought I had already climbed just turned out to be one of many that will block my path. It makes me angry and I have no other choice but to accept that I haven’t finished yet. There is so much further to go.
I am embarrassed that I let this happen. I got arrogant. In my mind I had beat this before and came out stronger. And I then I got arrogant. But the larger truth is that I will never beat this. It will always live inside of me. It will be fuel for many wonderful things. And it will be a massive part of my amazing story. But right now, as the water fills my mouth and I want nothing more than to let it all go and sink into the blue, I pray that the life boat I know is inside of me comes soon. And I beg of the universe to show itself to me. I long for forgiveness and compassion for those that have damaged me. I know that the answers to all of this lies in love and patience. Quiet and still. The waters around me will calm, I will float, I will swim, I will wash on shore with my body and mind intact. I know this in my deepest heart. Until then, I tread, and I breath.
*The one morning that I woke up with a smile on my face was because I woke up thinking about something I had read the day before. It said “Lenny Bruce described Flamenco as being an art form wherein a dancer applauds his own ass.” The first thing I did that morning was laugh. It felt nice.