I’ve carried depression with me my entire life. Sometimes I wave it proudly like a flag – parading it up and down the block for all to see that I’m not ashamed of it. I openly talk about therapy at work and encourage it with my friends. I share the skills I’m learning in therapy with my family. Therapy is effective and everyone should be taught the skills learned through therapy.
Recently however I’ve buried it deep in the heels of my feet – out of frame for the upteenth zoom meeting I’m attending. As if I can compartmentalize it and, like Cinderella’s step sister, cut off my heel so I fit into the shoe.
Intrusive thoughts are not new to me but the frequency and severity of those thoughts has sharply increased over the last few months. I know I will not act on the ideations and at the same time I also hold the thought of them for prolonged periods of time. I have recognized that holding these thoughts, instead of acknowledging them and then letting them go, is a form of self-harm. If anyone talked down to me the way that I talk to me I would knock them out.
Normally I (like many people) take a sadness and I learn and grow from it and it’s valuable, on some level. You emerge stronger. There is at least a trade for the grief. But this year is just a constant parade of horrible shit that didn’t have to happen. This isn’t “sadness was inevitable but it led to growth”, this is “the country I live in is led by venal, incompetent idiots and everything is worse as a result.”@eachapm’s shit from the internet newsletter 6.24.2020
It’s helpful to have visibility of others who are fighting this same demon. Thanks in part to Emily, I recognized that I have active depression with a side of passive suicidal ideation. I’m not going to act on it today or tomorrow or the next day, but damn if I don’t think at times ‘well, at least I wouldn’t have to deal with *gestures wildly* all of this if I go now. I’m right with G*d.‘
But I won’t leave quietly. Not when there’s so much work to do. It’s the same criticism that I have for Americans who proclaim they are moving to Canada if DJT is reelected. Nah, bitches. It’s your responsibility to stay and reckon with the consequences of your collective actions. No, you didn’t vote for him but the systems you support enabled him to be successful in the first place. You share that responsibility with those who did vote for him. You can’t just punch out, bitch. Stay and do the work.
So I’m staying. I’m doing the work.
I wrote the first half of this post in June. Here, in August, I have added a psychiatrist to my support network. I started meditating. I started medicating. I’m being kind to myself. I’m winning the battle.
Depression is too big to fight alone. Suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune because at the end of the day, it’s better to be alive. Some days are better than others. The chance, the mere hope, that tomorrow will be better will make the fight worth it.
Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.Rainer Maria Rilke “Go to the Limits of Your Longing”
Just keep going. No feeling is final.