Normal Is a Point of View

I’m depressed. Again.

I knew it was coming, of course; my rampant mania in early January was a clear indication that I was swinging far and wide. There are no ups without downs, and no soaring highs without crushing lows. It doesn’t change the fact that I’m depressed now. And that depresses me.

Late last year my psychiatrist started me on some new antidepressant (divalproex, I think), to try and keep me going through the winter, as I usually get particularly depressed during the dark season. It wasn’t long after that I started acting really manic (I mean like, way more than is usual for me) – staying up until two in the morning, writing and composing like there was no tomorrow, waking up at six and not being able to get back to sleep … it was oddly exhilarating, and a way of life I’ve really never known before. I kind of liked it.

But my doctor and I agreed that it was probably in the long run for the worst, and so we discontinued the divalproex within a couple of months. Now, though, I’m wondering if it was just a kind of adjustment period, because now I really feel … well, not that good at all.

And I’m still in the early stages of depression; I know it well enough to know that if I can still get out of bed, brush my teeth, make coffee and go to work, then it’s only just beginning. I know myself well enough to know far, far worse is yet to come. And I know this is totally normal for me, and that there probably isn’t much I can do about it.

The fact that depression is normal for me is … well, depressing. I don’t really want to have this be the ultimate place to which I always return. I don’t want to struggle through life because I can’t do anything; if I had to struggle, I’d rather struggle because I want to do too much. But these things are out of my control, and it leads to the question: where is my normal, really? Where’s my balance?

Sometimes I wonder about ‘normal’; I wonder what it means to be like everyone else. I wonder what it must be like to go through life without feeling crushed every moment of every day. I wonder what it must be like to live without hectic mania, without wondering if you’re going to get everything done in the days that are left to you before your next crash. I wonder what it must be like to just … exist, contentedly.

Because outside of societal ‘normal’, what remains is relative to myself. What’s normal for me is really just what I exist as the majority of the time. Happy isn’t normal; sadness isn’t normal. Fear isn’t normal, and nor is trust. For me, normal is … well, the more I think about it the more I believe normal is just loathe existence, a dull dearth of emotion that leaves me questioning why I do anything at all. What does it matter? What’s the point?

I feel my bed calling to me again. I feel sleep begging for my companionship. I feel the deep, smoldering desire to pass away from the world and live in dream and fantasy, an escapism that takes me from the dreary reality of the world. I know I can’t, but the desire is growing every moment. I don’t want to go to work on Monday; I don’t want to put on that happy face, pretend I’m invested, and slave away until the day’s end comes and I can return to bed once more.

I don’t want to talk to friends or loved ones; I don’t want to go to breakfast, or pick up groceries, or make plans. I just. Don’t. Want. Anything.

I wish this wasn’t normal. I wish this wasn’t where I always come back to. I wish I could see this depression as the ‘abnormal’, as the thing to escape from, but I can only see it as the thing I will always return to. It’s not even something that comes back to me – it’s there, always waiting, patiently and forever, for me to come back to it.

And I always will.

As much as I know there’s light at the end of the tunnel, I also know there are only further tunnels along the track, each one dark, serpentine and unavoidable. Some are short, and some seem endless. The only question in my mind is what happens with the very last one. That final tunnel, my last depression – does it have an end? Does it open into fair green lands and blue skies?

Or does the last dive into the abyss come with no return, no resurfacing, and no light beyond? Is it all, in the end, a one-way trip? I fear this, because it truly means that here, in the dark, is my normal. The taunting brightness of the world around me is forever out of reach. I will subside, sink into the black depths, and rise and fall as I might, I know too well where the final destination lies.

I don’t want this to be my normal; I wish this wasn’t my point of view. But it’s my eyes I see out of, my shoes I walk in, and my despair I wallow in. And ultimately, my normal is what I always return to.

My point of view is bleak.

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