Late Sunday afternoon, I heard a bit more of some ongoing good news at a friend’s blog, and I remarked in her comments section that it felt so good to hear that it made me think that I could actually change my sheets. I thought about the weirdness of that statement as I went on for a while online, checking out a few new posts and reading answers to my comments on other peoples’ blogs for the needed give and take of ideas, kind words, almost anything to help me feel plugged into the movement of the world. I’ve felt so disconnected. After that I flung myself at my bed, ripping away the blankets and folding them fast so I couldn’t change my mind, getting everything piled safe onto my computer chair while I got out the fresh sheets and smoothed them onto the mattress.
I didn’t consider then why it had been so hard to do. I called it by its name. Depression. I ruminated on how difficult it could be for someone unaccustomed to it to understand. How can a person be so depressed that changing her sheets or just taking a shower could be so damned hard, especially when they’re doing other things and even smiling when you talk to them? “How can you do that thing (insert something I’ve actually been able to accomplish this week), and not be able to do this one?”
All I can think of to answer is to say, “I don’t know. Ask a psychologist. If the answers were easy for me, I wouldn’t be so low.”
I think many of us are able to hide in plain sight as the pressure changes inside us. We respond however ‘normal’ dictates that we should, and even if we’re afraid that you can see all too well what’s happening, we may actually not be doing or saying anything you wouldn’t expect. We may be the ones who aggravate you because we seem to say the same thing over and over as if our needles are stuck in a specific groove. Or maybe we seem robotically perky and able as we plug away at some task. Maybe we can even manage to make you laugh. How would you know how bad it is if we ourselves need something specific to make it crystal clear?
I was waylaid last week by something my brain understood as not important, something that maybe never should have been important to me. But my heart disagreed and wept, kicked things inside me, and cried ‘Why now?’ and ‘I could have gone forever without finding out about that.’ Then I descended into a sort of cave where I couldn’t write, couldn’t sleep, and hated every breath I took. Depression appears to pick and choose where it touches down, like a tornado.
When things start going far south for me, I sometimes fall to a certain point and I’m there for a week or so before I realize how dark it is. Then maybe I say something to someone. Mostly I don’t, because the worst feeling in the world is to find that you’ve talked about it to the wrong person, someone you didn’t realize (or forgot) was going through something deep of their own. Then I berate myself for being a wimp and blathering, and then for caring about myself at all. It becomes hard work to contemplate water running over me and painful to change my sheets.
I’m writing this, no matter how inarticulate it is, because I envied the wrong television character Sunday night. The longing in my heart for peace took my thoughts to the wrong place, much too far south. I’m writing this because I have to take the shower. Because I changed the sheets. I’m hoping that writing it down will make me do it. I’m trying to talk myself into the things that should be simple so I can make them happen and move forward. The only thing that doesn’t feel like too much is feeding the cat, but that may be because deep down I know she can’t do it herself without opposable thumbs. That’s not her fault. Tomorrow morning or afternoon when I get up, I’ll have a big mug of black tea to try to wake the brain cells, because I have to do some errands and then get back to work. I hope writing this down will help me move past the darkness so I can get back to getting things done. Because writing about it is the only thing I can do right now, and I like life better when I can get things done.