Saw this frustrated rhetorical question tweeted earlier – “Is it the law that after a great away break everyone must return home and be super-argumentative?” and having agreed wholeheartedly with the sentiment, I wonder if there’s more to it than that.
Part of my post-holiday internet binge brought me to the blog of my friend Elizabeth, who posted a brave response to last week’s Finish the Sentence Friday prompt “I wasn’t myself when…” and it rattled me.
Really rattled me.
Because as I read, a deeply buried part of me twisted, went cold and clawed its way back to life. It has since been gnawing blackly at the insides of my mind, squirming through my gut and has managed to lose me my one fallback – my sense of humour.
The one defense I’ve consistently used against life since learning how to at a too-young age.
The stalwart champion of poking fun at a situation and diffusing it, of Not Being a Whiner and managing to bluster a way through the challenges. Gone.
It’s even been working lately, to judge by feedback – I’ve entertained, kept things light, been complimented on having managed to pull the blog from a self-indulgent, whingey place to something much more readable, and I kinda hate that I’m going back into full-on self-indulgent-whinge mode, but hey, it’s my corner of the internet, writing helps and y’all have the power of the little red ‘x’ if you get bored halfway through.
Cos here’s the thing I might’ve only just worked out about depression – I’m not sure it ever really leaves you.
It’s quashable, sure. Hard work, mighty effort, a good therapist and the right chemicals are all great weapons in beating it back and giving you weeks, months or even years without it, but it seems that the black dog will only lie dormant for so long before waking for another round.
I’m not even sure I can blame the slew of troubles which have struck at my family and I over the past few years – relentless tumbling from one tidal wave of challenge to another – family breakdown; sickness; unemployment; penury; mental health problems; miscarriage; infertility diagnosis; the stark unlikeliness that we’ll be accepted as potential adopters; yet more ill health…it seems like a massive list, each denoting the tip of an iceberg of impact and yet the more I get to know of the world and of the people in it, it seems that everyone’s* life is much the same – struggling from one disaster to the next, trying to hold it all together, spinning too many plates to sustain and desperately aiming to not drop all the balls at once.
So if not that, then what?
Stress? Could be. But it feels more. It feels deeper. Something I’ve long recognised as a part of where my psyche lives.
It feels like depression.
I called it home for too long. I fought to leave, and now I feel as though a doorway back just opened up inside me and is beckoning with an un-disobeyable authority.
It chills my soul to think that the way back is so easy. That something so relatively innocuous could herald the sudden appearance the slippery slope back down to that isolation. To that feeling of being under glass – ever amidst but never connected with anyone – the ultimate alienation (then compounded by the fear that, while I reject myself as worthwhile, everyone else surely has greater reason so to do, and remove myself further, imagining their revulsion).
Those lies which drip like tar into my ears, clogging them to any attempts to assuage, deny or otherwise rebuff the ‘new truths’ of vileness, stupidity, ineptness, worthlessness, undeserving.
The hateful, weak way I let it undermine me continually, getting too wrapped up in self-pity and hopelessness to fight it. The way it becomes a sick form of self-indulgence. The way it alters my settings to ‘self-destruct’, ‘harm others’ and ‘fuck you’. The way I don’t really care.
The way the longer that door stays open, the more the numbness spreads and the stronger the siren song becomes to give in and let it take me.
The way I don’t remember how to close the door.
The way the door still feels a lot like home.
*It can’t be everyone can it? There must be a few people out there with charmed lives? Or more ‘normal’ ones?