Sometimes, depression is outright misery. A black shadow across the sun, a deep and pitiful despair that rips life from your soul and leaves you bleak, morose and struggling to survive even another moment on earth. Sometimes, depression takes everything from you; sometimes, it leaves you comatose in bed and unable to lift your head, and you struggle to even find your next breath.
Sometimes, depression is numb and blank, a monochromatic stare at the world outside your window, rain pouring down in cold rivulets as you wonder what there could possibly be left to do, think or say. Sometimes, depression is a bitter self-loathing, a desire to see yourself come to harm, that sudden and swift urge to throw yourself into oncoming traffic, to swerve into a lamppost, or to plunge from a three-story window.
But sometimes, depression is more subtle. Sometimes, depression kills you not with a crushing blow but with a thousand tiny cuts, as you navigate each day with false bravado, wondering with each step why you do any of it at all. Sometimes, depression sees your joy and raises you self-sabotage – those moments where you laugh, and then stop because how could you enjoy something when depression is all there is?
Sometimes, you just get up, go to work, eat dinner, go to bed, rinse, wash and repeat day after day in utter monotony, with nothing to break the cycle, nothing to rouse interest, and nothing to grant reprieve. Sometimes, this feels like the worse kind of depression, because it isn’t enough to excuse you from life, but too much to allow you to enjoy life. It’s when you flip through the channels, only to find nothing on. It’s when you play a game on your phone for a few minutes, only to find it’s four hours later. It’s when your favorite songs are intolerable to listen to, and even sleep gives no rest because that, too, is utterly boring.
Depression is so many things, and I’ve been so used to it being dramatic, over-the-top and unbearably soul-crushing that I don’t know how to cope with its milder variations. I don’t want to kill myself, I don’t want to spend all day in bed, and yet … I don’t want to do anything else, either. Every task and job becomes a chore, a loud sigh and a resignation to the fact that shit has to get done because if it doesn’t, the world just gets worse.
I don’t want to go to work tomorrow. Moreover, I don’t want to go to work every day for the next rest-of-my-life. I don’t want to go to bed, and I don’t want to get up. I don’t want to finish The Broken, even though there are only about six chapters left to write. I don’t want to do nothing, because I know that’ll only make me feel worse, but anything I think of to try and brush away the monotony just sounds absolutely awful.
The worst of it is when I catch myself being ‘not depressed’. When I laugh, giggle, hum a tune … and immediately realize that isn’t okay. When I shut down my own enjoyment of life because how can I claim to be depressed when I so clearly am able to enjoy things? How can I explain the inability to get out of bed when I can also cook dinner with enthusiasm? How can I justify the bitter self-hate and shitty things I do to others if I’m not constantly miserable? If I was just always depressed it would be so much easier, but I’m not.
And that makes me even more depressed, because the one thing I used to think I did well – depression – I now have no mastery over. Depression has tricked me, allowed me to feel just good enough that when it rips the rug out from under my feet, I come crashing down harder than if I’d just been miserable all along.
Sometimes, I wish I wasn’t. Just … not. I don’t mean not depressed, I don’t mean dead, I just … I don’t want to be. Things would be so much simpler.
But that’s not within my power. Instead, I’m going to get up tomorrow, go to work, and continue pretending it’s all all right. And eventually, in a few days or maybe a few weeks or months, I’ll come around and rise up out of this depression and be okay again … for a while, at least.
Because sometimes, depression goes away. But it always, always comes back.
It’s funny – some might say it’s a glass-half-empty kind of viewpoint, but realistically, I think the only way to know which side of the coin is right side up is how you feel at the very end of your life. If I die depressed, I will have lived a depressed life. The cycle closes only at the very end. Which is kind of a reason not to die now, I suppose. But also a kind of reason to give up, because what difference does it all make anyway?
What difference … and I don’t suppose it does make a difference, really, one way or the other. It’s all just a continuum, an ongoing forever-after that was there before I came into the world, and will be there long after I’m gone. And all I can do is get up each day and carry on.
What difference does it make? Sometimes, no difference at all.
And sometimes … all the difference.