Shit. I was really hoping this was not going to happen. Just today – friggin’ TODAY – I was telling a friend that I thought maybe this time, it was really over. Maybe I was just stuck in a bad place before, and that’s why that last bout of depression lasted SO long and felt so bad.
I know better. I know better than to get my own hopes up. Hell, even as I was saying to my friend “Maybe it’s not THAT bad after all…”, I was already hearing the train whistle in the distance. I’ve been feeling it since yesterday…and fighting against it…choosing to torture myself with the never ending list of things I need to do that I can’t get done because my body won’t function.
Because THAT helps. Sheesh.
I Think I Can, I Think I Can
So I analyze. I think, and think again, and then overthink. I ramp up everything I can get stressed about – not on purpose. Not by design – it just seems to be the rolling sandstorm that comes before the emptiness that comes before the abyss.
Then I see that someone famous committed suicide today – or yesterday. Someone who had fame and fortune and physical health – all of the things I don’t have that I’m convinced are the REASON I get depressed. Everyone on Twitter is talking about it.
They all have opinions. Many, many of them lacking compassion, empathy, basic human decency. Somehow, that seems to be the thing that pushes me over the edge, makes the train arrive a little earlier than anticipated.
The “D” train is here…all aboard!!! Actually, no – nobody climb on board…avoid this particular train at all costs – it is NOT going anywhere you want to go.
What if I just can’t, this time? What if I have nothing left? I know the lie of it, but I FEEL like I have nothing left. Like I’m just not going to be able to make myself take one more step – get out of bed ONE MORE TIME.
Will It Help To Remember That I Am Not Alone?
Just in the last year, I have started to allow myself to acknowledge that there are a LOT of people that struggle with mental health issues similar to my own. A LOT. People with anxiety and depression that have found their voices, and each other, through the internet and social media.
People that let me know that I am not alone…as I am trying to let others know the same.
I know that they understand – but do you? Are you one of the thousands – hell, millions, probably – who struggle with anxiety and depression, too? Or are you one who is simply trying to understand, because you care about someone who does? Or just trying to understand because you care about the people with whom you share the planet?
Caring Is Sharing
If you are one of the people who care, but maybe don’t understand…I wonder if it would be useful for you to imagine what it feels like – the dread when you can feel the train coming down the track. The trepidation, the feeling as if you have to lock all of your defenses in place. Hunker down, here the sound of your plates of armor coming together with a loud “clang” as they form a thick, solid layer of steel around you.
Because NEXT…next is the hammering on your soul when your brain starts lying to you and telling you that life is just not worth it. When you can’t come up with a good answer to “What’s the point, anyway?”, even though you KNOW there is an answer.
Can you feel the weight of your limbs increase as the energy drains out of them, and how that makes getting out of bed a herculean effort? You have a laundry list of things to do, but no energy with which to do them. No real desire to do them…or anything else, for that matter.
What you DO have, is a very judgmental voice in your head telling you all of the ways that you are currently failing as a human being, because you can’t fucking function.
The knowledge that the world doesn’t stop when you feel like this is just another weight on your chest. It won’t wait for you. You can’t push a button and make everything pause for a while, until your body’s chemistry decides to let you UP again.
So you somehow force yourself, if you can. You MAKE yourself put one foot in front of the other. You move forward with no hope, trying to remember that YESTERDAY you had hope, so you have to believe that you will again.
Before Depression Hits
Yesterday I could see the sun, and feel the breeze on my face. Yesterday, I had plans, and dreams, and I could imagine a better future. All I had to do was this thing and that thing, take care of a few other things, and everything would start to get better.
Yesterday I could breathe.
But I could hear the whistle blowing. I couldn’t see the train, yet, didn’t know when it would hit me…but I knew it would be here soon. I tried to DO something to stop it.
I tried…but there is no stopping that motherfucking “D” train. At least, no way I’ve found yet. I try, every time. Every time I can feel it coming, I hope and pray and TRY to do something to stop it.
Today, I tried to convince myself that this time I had succeeded. That maybe it wouldn’t get here – maybe I could hit the switch, and stop its inevitable arrival. It’s here, though. Just pulled into the station, in fact…
Ladies and Gentlemen, The “D” Train Has Arrived
It’s actually a little weird when it hits like this, because I can kind of witness it…I can feel the energy drain away, and my thoughts turn dark. Sometimes it hits without my knowledge – one moment I think I’m fine, the next I’m hiding under my desk wondering what the fuck just happened.
Times like this, though, it’s like I’m sitting on the bench next to the tracks. I see the train come in, slowing to a stop with the hiss and screech of the brakes. If only I could just stay on the bench…let the train pull away without me.
Stay, breathe, be invisible. Just sit here – you don’t have to get on board – you have a CHOICE, right? I mean, really – just think some positive thoughts and meditate a bit and listen to the birds chirping and you’ll be FINE.
The “D” Train Has A Mind Of Its Own
Except it’s not going anywhere. Its just sitting there…ominous…waiting for me. The doors open with a “ding” (do train doors ding???) and invite me in, as if the train itself knows I have no choice. Might as well get it over with – get a move on – places to go, a schedule to keep.
Somehow I now have the image of a train tapping its foot, impatient for me to realize the futility of my resistance…AND it just crossed its arms. My depression train now has feet and arms, but is also still sitting impatiently on the track with its doors open, waiting for me to board.
My mind is so weird. Ah well. I pick up my baggage (lots and LOTS of baggage), and board. Find my seat. Settle in…wonder how long it will be before I can disembark and get on with my life again.
Time For Bed
So now, I face tomorrow. I go to bed, I wait. I try to distract myself from the things my brain is trying to tell me – the lies it serves up. I pray that my dreams won’t be TOO bad this time.
I try to plan. HOW can I change my morning, tomorrow, to nip this in the bud? What can I DO, so I don’t feel this bone crushing weight on my body and mind and soul? I must be able to DO something, right?
I’m smart. I’ve spent 20 years learning everything I can about how the mind works. I’ve studied and practiced all kinds of mental gymnastics, in an effort to have tools for times just like these. I MUST be able to do SOMETHING…right???
I feel desperate to just not have to go through this again. It’s so exhausting, even though I know I’ll get through it, even though I know that at SOME point, I’ll feel better again. OK, honestly, I don’t feel like I know that right at this moment. But somewhere in my brain is the data – the information disconnected from emotion or belief…that this too, shall pass.
Over and over and over, I have to convince myself that this time it will pass, just like it has every other time. It will. I just have to do my things, wait it out, it WILL get better.
My mental “gymnastics” work sometimes. Mostly. Usually. They take a lot of effort, and vigilance, and energy. So, I guess that is a qualified “they work”. They have yet to cure me. They give me things I can do WHEN the “D” train arrives, but so far, it still shows up. It’s just a matter of whether I believe the lies my brain tells me. Whether I accept that I will feel this way “forever”.
I don’t have time for this shit. I need to DO things…I need to accomplish things and get on with my friggin’ life!
I can’t keep writing – my brain is fogging over. My energy is draining even as I type these last few lines.
Time to lay in bed, and try to sleep, and hope without faith, that tomorrow will be better somehow.