Sometimes it’s overwhelming. Sometimes it’s really difficult to ignore. Sometimes you bite into the peach and the world slips away into a strange, hazy oblivion where Reason has no influence or grasp.
I’ve written about it before (you can see it here: Depression Lies). I’ve fought it before. And before. And before. And before. Reason and Rationality have helped me to climb the crag, but I just can’t find sure enough footing to get over the top. I can get to the top, I can see over the edge, and I can bask in the sunshine and the warmth for a time, but I just can’t make it over that last hump.
It’s whispering again.
- Be ashamed of your birth story. Hate it. Do not revel in your strength, or the fact that you brought a real live, actual human person into the world (after having carried and nourished him to full term gestation). Feel guilt and shame and hate yourself, instead.
- He’s right, writing is easy. It’s just one word after another. You can’t do that, fucking stop. Just stop. Sit on the couch, scoop yourself some ice cream, and melt in front of poorly written procedural bullshit.
- Your son doesn’t need you anymore. He’s fine. You’ve birthed him, you’ve weaned him, he’s thriving. You’re done, move on.
- Just end. Be over. Die.
- They will never love you. Not truly. Especially not unconditionally.
- Quit. You don’t deserve this job. You stole it and she deserves it. Give it back.
- She’s just being nice. She doesn’t really want your help. You can’t actually help. You’re not going to “save the space,” you’re going to take it up. What are you even doing there?
- (Alternatively.) Maybe she does want you there. Maybe you can help. Maybe this really is a calling for you. But you can’t talk about it. You can’t share my excitement and joy at finding and pursuing a passion. You bring sadness wherever you go. You make people unhappy. (“I’m a pout-pout fish, with a pout-pout face, so I spread the dreary wearies all over the place. Blub. Bluuub. Bluuuuuuuub.”)
- Don’t offer sympathy. You haven’t been there. Just because you have one circumstance that’s similar doesn’t mean you have been anywhere near their shoes. You haven’t experienced a monumental loss, you have no right to bring yourself into a conversation.
- Your feelings are not valid.
- Stop contributing. They are amazing. You…aren’t…. Just take a few steps back, and slip into the darkness. They won’t even notice that you’re gone, I promise. It’ll be better for everyone.
I think it’s important to write about depression. While it’s gaining more recognition as an actual problem that actual people suffer, it’s still glanced at with wary side eyes. Depression is still seen as “just a bit melancholy,” and people who suffer it should “buck up,” because they “have nothing to be sad about.”
Depression is real. It is real and you are allowed to feel it. Your feelings are valid and there is no shame in suffering from depression. None. At all. Ever.
(Now I’m talking to you. I can’t tell myself these things. If I tell myself these things, I scoff. I have no right to feel depression. I have no right because when you look at my life, it’s pretty close to perfect, give or take $80K. You don’t see what I see. You can’t. Your eyes aren’t tuned to the goblins that prowl my corners, flashes of shadowed movement. You have your own monsters to worry about.)