Depression. Terminal. Unacceptable.
These words link arms as I sink untethered into the abyss. They make no effort to pull me from it. None. They dance. They favor slow, modern choreography. When they form a kickline, it’s trouble. I surrender to sleep, or weep with my cheek resting on a cold, tile floor.
It’s unsaid in polite conversation. Misunderstood by those it doesn’t dance with. Depression is unacceptable.
That’s what depression makes me feel like. It reminds me of Terminal starring Tom Hanks. He is unacceptable — a citizen of nowhere.
A citizen of nowhere. Untethered from belonging. That’s what it is for me. When depression arrives, it tells me I don’t belong in the house I live in. Those people I live with are not my family. That is more true than not sometimes. There isn’t anything of value that I contribute to society and it’s not likely that I ever will.
Or, there is no me here. I pretzel, resigned to the shade, trying to find a way to be content in the shadow of others. Life is not for me. It’s for them. To insist upon myself and my wants is to usurp. Nobody likes a usurper. Nobody.
I will be the shadow, so you can have the sunshine. Don’t worry. Growth isn’t something I planned to do in this lifetime. Though, if I’m going to be the shadow, perhaps I could go underground. It seems more restful. I’d be in my place. Welcome there. Maybe a flower would grow with some strength above me.
These words are not so hard to write now, because depression’s dancers have sought employment elsewhere. A mix of psychotherapy, meditation, and yoga have sent them packing like tap dancers on the vaudeville circuit. They’re sure to turn up again. Maybe they won’t make it to the stage next time.
I wanted to watch Terminal on my birthday. That morning I’d Googled how many pills it’d take to off oneself with Motrin PM. The answer? It depends. Someone detailed the pain and suffering of overdosing on Motrin. It was an effective deterrent. Regardless, I don’t think I ever would.
A good cry helps. Sleep helps. Remembering that life is a roller coaster and that it’s best to hang on.
When I went back to therapy, my therapist went through an intake form with me.
How many times have you thought about suicide in the past week?
Twelve times? Nine?
I can’t remember my answer. It was more than five, less than twenty.
It’s hard for my fiance to understand why I get depressed. He, happily, thinks I’m amazing. People think that those they admire couldn’t struggle with something like depression.
I smile a lot, laugh often, and encourage others. My encouragement must be some kind of wisdom that springs from happiness, right? Maybe. Though isn’t it often said how we learn more by failing? If so, might it also be true that despair is a better instructor than contentment?
If I were to kill myself, it would not be anyone’s fault. No one would be responsible. There wouldn’t be anything that anyone could have, or should have done. Depression is a disease.
During the past seven months in my therapist’s office, I’ve worked on boundaries. My NO muscles are coming along quite nicely. I’ve worked on not worrying about things beyond my control. When my mental chatter starts to sound like a trio of Rockettes, I acknowledge them for what they are: thoughts. Then, send them on their way.
Will it always be this way? I do not know. I cannot say.
This post is part of a series inspired by Eat Pray Love.