Tuesday, September 16, 2014
It's as if I'm trapped inside an hourglass. Those dark sands trickle down slowly from above, filling the empty spaces inside and around me. It pools around my feet, moving between my toes then up and over the tops of of my feet. The sand works its way up. And up. And up. As it reaches my ankles and then tickles the bottom of my calves it gets harder to move. I can do all the things I want to do, they just take more effort than usual. And the dark sands keep moving up. And up. And up. Passing my knees, then my thighs, and reaching my waist. Everyday tasks become harder. Getting out of bed is a struggle. Getting from point A to point B used to be automatic, now it seems an insurmountable task. My belly button fills with sand as it moves up. And up. And up. The rising sand puts pressure on my stomach and diaphragm and even breathing seems to take more energy than I can muster. My hands are buried. The sand his risen above my elbows and up my chest. I should struggle but there is no fight in me. I watch it climb, helpless to resist. As my shoulders disappear all I can think about is sleep. I just want to lay in bed all day. As if doing anything more will drain every last ounce of life from me. I struggle to keep my eyes open to see those dark sands climb up. And up. And up. I used to be able to feign a smile or tell a joke to cover up what I am feeling, Humor and sarcasm my coping mechanism. Now the sand covers my lips, forces its way inside my mouth and I can not smile. I can not laugh. I can not scream. I feel the roughness on my tongue, the grit of sand between my teeth. The sand tickles my nose as I breathe. I have resigned myself to my fate of darkness. I am giving up. I let these dark black sands envelop me as they climb up. And up, And up,..
The something clicks. Maybe it's reading something written online. A blog. A tweet. A status update. The 'me too' moment. Maybe it's hearing someone say, "I know how you feel. I've been there. You'll be OK." Maybe its the anticipation of a new project. Maybe it's a moment with friends or family. Or maybe it's just remembering that there are good things surrounding me. Maybe it's something as simple as hearing a song triggers some kind of relational feeling. Whatever it is, the hourglass has inverted. Those dark sands that once threatened my sanity begin to retreat as slowly as they first came. Soon the smile on my face shows through. Breathing becomes easier as the sands move below my chest. My hands are free and the daily struggle turns to routine again. Day be day I slowly begin to feel like myself again. The cobwebs are gone from my brain. The light begins to shine brighter as I watch the darkness that once consumed me move away and down. And down. And down...
I wrote this as a way of describing what depression feel like to me. It is so hard to explain to someone who has not experienced it themselves. The way it seems to sneak up on you bit by bit and you don't really notice it. Then one day you notice that you're always tired. That everyday tasks seem impossible to do. Like you're dragging a weight. You just want to spend the day wrapped up in bed. The things you used to take joy in no longer matter and you don't even feel like fighting the feelings. But then sometimes there is one thing that can turn the tide. For me that is often some new project to focus my energy on or reading something in a blog that reminds me I am not the only one experiencing this. That there are others out there doing the same thing and others who have come back from it. How do you explain these kinds of feelings to people? What do you do to bring yourself back from those dark places?