Hi. I can’t really see you, from here. No, I don’t want to come out into the light so that I can. It’s comfortable in here in my cozy, life-sucking blanket. It’s familiar. Just get settled outside the door somewhere, and we’ll talk between the cracks like old friends.
I hear that you came to talk about Depression. Yes, I’ll say its name. It’s here, anyway; may as well acknowledge the proverbial elephant in the room. As you know, of course, Depression is hardly an elephant. It’s a putrid cloud, a constricting blanket, or a dark-tinted eye lens. Often I picture Depression like that black, sticky comic book alien, Venom, that took over Spider-man.
All those descriptions make this mental condition sound unnatural, and yet it’s here. In fact, I make it sound removable, and yet I always hold it. Sometimes I am even compulsively stroking that favorite blanket corner as I profess to be in a better place.
I’d say I’m a masochistic drug addict, but the inability to let go is just as much a part of Depression as its characteristics.
Then why would I still classify it, describe it, recall it as a separate thing?
Last night, I had a “discussion” with my husband. We weren’t being friendly. The odd part is that my sweet husband, who has been the glass-always-full type for years, starting spouting off phrases that sounded like the ones that have been playing in my head for decades now. I’ve spoken them aloud, too, but he was not parroting. He sincerely thought and felt that way.
Hearing a non-mental-illness-sufferer talk that way helped me realize that Depression was skewing reality.
Depression skews reality!
I’ve been told it. I’ve read it on this blog. I’ve suspected it. And yet, I don’t believe it myself. Whenever someone tells me to think of situations in a “happier light,” I can’t. This is because, to me, the situation is exactly the way it is and telling me it isn’t is just plain silly.
Like, if none of my neighbors will talk to me or act like they like me or invite me to the things they all go to: “Oh, they like you, it’s just your perception” is not as accurate as, “They’re a bunch of selfish, immature, insecure socialites who only read the section of ‘Dear Abby’-type social rules that told how to exclude those who can’t improve your status.”
Or, if you are stuck in a body that is frequently ill and you can’t hold a job and can’t get medications because they’re exorbitantly expensive: “Try harder; fortune favors the bold” is pretty silly advice. “Genetics spit you out this way, life sucks, and trying will likely give you nothing again” sounds much more accurate.
It’s when we’re sitting here, in the dark, cuddling our personal poison, that we are left to wonder how everyone else keeps getting up. Surely, when THE TRUTH is that second quote I gave in the above examples, there is no reason to keep trying. So why are all those other people trying?
Sometimes, I think those other people are a bit naïve. They haven’t had a lot of disappointments and so they have few reservations about sticking their necks out.
Other times, we’re just not seeing the non-successful moments. I had a neighbor who (no joke) always looks like a model from a magazine cover. I even knocked on her door for an impromptu visit once while she was cleaning. She had a smudge of dirt under an eye, but it hardly dimmed that impossibly-white smile or trim figure of hers. And she had children. How did she do it?
After she moved out, I learned that nearly every single room in their house had a TV on the walls. The lady who bought the house told me, because of all the holes left behind. I realized I never saw Lady #1 leave her house. When she did, it was on fabulous vacations while someone stayed home and watched their two kids.
Most of the time, the people that are not in their dark corners as much as I am simply have a different perspective. It’s not fair: this Catch-22 called Depression. It’s a parasite, giving us the reason to assume the worst, then making us feel worst when our suspicions are confirmed.
Only when I hear Depression’s perspective voiced by others does it sound erroneous. Inside me, it’s perfectly reasonable.
There is truth in the dark words, but there is also truth in the light. I have always given more weight and value to the negative, and that is what makes Depression’s view skewed.
In fact, my paid friend says that I need to meet each negative thought with the more-than-positive truth so I am left with positive.
It’s like a chemistry equation. Otherwise, we’ll just be neutrons. I mean -neutral. And we’re not going to feel like “neutral” is worth the effort to come out of our holes and chance more of life.
Did you say you want to try this positive-to-cancel-and-exceed-the-negative thing? This cognitive therapy? I think I do. If you promise not to be shocked by my red and puffy crying-face appearance, I think I’m ready to open the door and come out now.
Thanks for listening.
Chelsea’s Writing Site, if you’re interested.