I have been diagnosed with major depression. Only half of it is true actually. The depression part, you guessed. I haven’t really been diagnosed, it’s more of a self-imposed diagnosis. When did doctors care anyway? So this promises to be a rather long monologue where I complain and bitch about the world, my mental and physical health – they say I’m super good at this. Now, another writer (ha, who am I even calling a writer?) would ask you at this point, “dear reader, bear with me”. Well, I won’t. Go do something else, something better, like buying seafood, or feeding your dogs or posting a twelfth selfie on facebook + twitter + instagram + whatever-the-fuck-other-social-media-they-have-come-up-with-these-days. I’m not here to entertain you. I’m here to wallow. But I promise you I’ll do a good job.
So apart from practically drowning in mucus, from coughing what’s-left-of-my-lungs out, from having what I would call in “Inception” terms, a cold within a cold within a cold slash pneumonia (or, in “Inception” terms, “limbo”) – apart from all this, there’s all of …that. If I used to have this voice in my head telling me, urging me to get off my ass and do something, now I have the energy of a dead fish. I have such low energy that if a dinosaur burst through my window I would most likely skip saying “hello” and just lie there, patting the dinosaur on the back, bitching to him about the weather, which if I didn’t mention already (that that was also meant to include Alzheimer’s), it’s something like Twilight meets Fifty Shades of Grey meets other shitty fan fiction – which is, yes, terrible. Make that in 3D. With glasses on.
So how does this depression thing work? Who isn’t depressed these days? Not to offend anybody who’s actually been diagnosed or dealing with this issue. I’m for real here. I get up in the morning (meaning around afternoon) because my stomach screeches, so I have to feed it in order to shut it up and best case scenario, go back to end, I mean bed. I have a question for you. Why do you wake up in the morning? I’m not expecting a philosophical explanation of the meaning of life. Literally: why and how? And now you’d say: “Oh, but look around, so many things to be joyful about, and alive for and thankful for. Like the birds, and the trees and the sun and the food on the table”. Two points for you. As for right now, not only do I feel below sea level, but also guilty because apart from being a whining drama queen, I’m also an ungrateful person. I must have earned myself that title. Manniqueen of Depression (I didn’t come up with the term). How awfully perfect can this be? I’ve become it. It’s an it, but alive and eating at my gut (quite literally since scientists have recently discovered a connection between gut imbalance and anxiety and depression), surfacing a lot lately, interfering with my daily activities. “Laughter in the background” – add “morbid” to that. Which daily activities?
You’d think there’s a lot of crying going on, but then again, the crying is supposed to help, so if I’m here, there hasn’t been much of that. But there’s sadness. That runs deep. Oceans of sadness. Floating around in mucus. I’m not even joking.
Someone once told me: “My heart is in the right place, it’s my mind that’s fucked up”. So “is there a way out of the mind?”, asks the great Sylvia Plath, suicide queen. The mind – this mass of torment, a committee of black holes gathered to strip you naked and laugh at you, the maze which is sick, which tries to turn the tones of trouble into poetry. Of course, failing big. Could it be that the only freedom we should be striving for should be freedom from the mind? Is that the only freedom there is? Is it freedom from or freedom to that should be sought? Freedom has been of interest to me for a long time now so it’s not a random or a rhetorical question. That’s one of the few things I still care about I guess.
Going back to my precarious state of mind and physical health, of course it could always get worse. And the two work in tandem. But aren’t they one and the same? And how about circularity? Doing things with a regularity that is insane and monotonous? Waking up, eating, working, drinking, going to bed, end of day, and the next day the same, and the next day, and the next. How? What is this? Get me out of here. Make it stop. I want out. And make the rain stop. And the silence. And the creepy monsters dragging my ass in their game. Kill the capital letters, they’re unbearable. i hear you frown, do you hear me? if depression could be heard, it’d be like this —————— like when the machine says you’re dead. No or low battery. Recharge. How? “Hey, there’s a way out of the darkness”, says X merrily with a pat on the back. “Hey, look for the light at the end of the tunnel”. There is no tunnel, no end, no light, no half full glass, no glass (remember that one from the “Matrix”, “there’s no spoon”?). They are songs you play when you know you have to hold on to something, so your mind invents anything, glasses, tunnels, inspirational quotes. But what happens when you take down the glitter, the colors, the rainbows, the cheer? You get a sad face. And you forcefully put on a smile. Because it’s the way to go. And the sadder you get, the harder you try to put on a smile. And layers of fake. Of makeup, of color. Of fake. Until the smiles machine breaks down. And you unveil yourself and then people think there’s something wrong with you. You don’t fucking say. But most of the times, they can’t tell. I’m really good at pretending, better than at whining.
So where do you start? To put your remains of a life back together, in a continuum, in a homogeneous, monolithic whole that used to be my life (more like my perception of it). Now it’s pieces, I’m scattered all over the place. At the surface, things may seem alright, but go down in the circles of Dante and you’ll find my Inferno. Nihilistic bastards weighing me down. Go right, go left, get up, go back to bed, wake up. I am awake. But there is barely anything for me here. I don’t do the things that used to make me happy anymore, like singing and dancing. I resolve to get through the day, but by the time I get down to business (my least favorite word), I lose interest. I HAVE LOST INTEREST. I have lost drive. I have lost focus. I have lost.
I don’t even scream or throw around with things because actual anger presupposes you have some energy left in you. Energy level zero. Not that I’m trying to define how I feel, but I can’t put my finger on it. Because if I do, then I might arm myself with the right weapon. Die, depression, die sadness. Merry, joy, come to me. There are so many forms and intensities because people are so diverse so naturally they will react differently to it. So is this a process of healing? Of transformation? Of becoming aware, conscious? Is it supposed to hurt? I can’t tell when it started. Ok, I’ve had a few downs this year, which entitles me to attribute this to internal as well as external factors.
“I think you’re depressed”. “Are you kidding me? I’m fine. I just don’t know which way to go, where I’m heading”. I know it’s not for the oven (I don’t cook, so that leaves suicide, Sylvia style). I know it’s not letting go. You know you should grip something on your downward spiral into madness and loneliness, those new friends you made. Which is what brings me here. At the end of my pen, I find a bit of closure, a bit of something, a bit of less grief, a bit of a friend. A bit. And it’s more than enough for now.
Turns out the nihilist psychotic soliloquy has a happy ending. Whataya know? Here’s for all those who didn’t end it abruptly. There is a way out of the mind, keep looking. Some say it’s meditation, others yoga, others prayer, others sleep, others LSD, others food, others meth, others coffee, cigarettes, sex. You get the point. Anything that takes you to an altered state of consciousness. OUT OF THE MIND.
For me it’s music. That’s when the blood flows through my veins (the way it should in someone who’s alive), when the mind stops, when I float, when the scattered is unscattered. Maximum volume is a good treatment if you skip the side effects, like becoming deaf. It’s totally worth it anyway. And then there’s this. I have come to you with my walls down. Apart from those that deal with grammar and punctuation. And it was totally worth it. Dear reader, if you’ve made it this far, you are my hero slash heroine.
And apparently Mental Illness Awareness Week and World Mental Health Day (October 10) have just passed. My heart goes out to all those struggling.