I’ve gone quite a while without tipping over into the dark side. Don’t really know why, although having a new job I like is undoubtedly part of it. The thing about depression, if I have it (and people have told me they think I have a low-grade version of it) is there doesn’t have to be a reason for it, that in fact it defies reason. Yet I know people who have that seasonal brand of it, triggered by winter. So maybe there can be reasons not to teeter, you know?
It’s real, though, and it’s been with me since my teens. Before one of my professors put a name on it, I just thought of it as erratically periodic inability to function normally beyond one or two necessary things. Since in my adult life I’ve always had jobs, the one necessary thing has always been that. I remember a two-week period in Hilo when I got out of bed to do my shifts in the writing center, but skipped all my classes and just went back home to bed. I wrote a poem about it, probably my best, in which I compare taking medication for it to putting on my face, like makeup. It was cool because you stare into a mirror before you open the medicine cabinet, when your face swings out of view. Then you take your pills, put them back in the cabinet, and shut the door, watching your face swing back into place.
That one is probably publishable but I’ve never submitted it because there’s one word in it I don’t like and I’ve never found one that works for me. Stupid fricking poem.
I never did see a doctor about it, and so I’ve never taken anything for it, which my writing professor encouraged me to do. I’m not ruling it out.
The thing is, I’ve managed. And in times when I’m best equipped to consider it, I feel fine, or as fine as it gets (the shadows are always in the periphery, and I am always aware of them). I don’t like the thought of making a decision like that when I’m in the depths. Is that stupid?
I’m writing about this now as a reminder to the better me, when he shows up, to think about this. You know, to consider how miserable this feels, just the fighting off of the darkness. I’m not even in the pit, but I keep looking back over my shoulder to see if I’m distancing myself from it. Mixing my metaphors now, but it mostly makes sense to me. It feels horrible. Might I improve the quality of my life without always pressing down on this bruise?
But what if this bruise is the thing about me that makes me who I am? Who am I without the darkside? I know that sounds melodramatic but I’m being utterly sincere.
Maybe, though, if I can let go of Good Friday, I can really feel Easter. I might like that.