Wow, May 5th! That was my last post here. Now it’s the end of June. Awesome.
I’ve been driven back here because of, cheerily, my steadily creeping depression. Is it a good thing that I only write when shit gets really bad? Probably not, if my plan is to be a writer.
Mental health is so under-rated. Our brains are like the public transport system here; they’re just supposed to work. I often wonder how many other people are just like me – secretly fighting off a sadness that will not leave – but also this is a condition that finds scant comfort in company. What would, afterall, be the point of a heaping mess of sad people knowing how shitty they mutually feel? What kind of Meet-up.com situation would that be, what does one write on one’s paper name tag?
In any case, depression is a strange landscape with a fluid, bewildering topography. Each person’s is different, like the most unfortunately-customised snowglobe. Mine is full of fog and the ground is rocky underfoot. There are sulphur vents putting out choking clouds. But sometimes, in unexpected corners, the air clears and reveals tiny grassy knolls with cartoonishly bright colours, taunting oases of optimism. Soon after the blanketing mists roll in again, and it’s back to fumbling and fear.
I am such a cliche. I am gainfully employed, have a loving family, a comfortable home, four wonderful cats, friends, hobbies, interests, blah fucking boring blah. My depression is such a cliche as well. I want to hide under tables. I feel like crying at the oddest times. I frequently fantasise about “disappearing”. I fight the urge to throw my laptop against the wall. I self-medicate with ridiculous hours of Youtube videos (great for numbing pain), hating myself through them all but unable to hit the ‘x’ button, which is not so much on the top of the screen as it is on top of the most intimidating cliff.
On several occasions I’ve thought of writing a book about my depression. But then I think of that horribly bleak Sylvia Plath one, The Bell Jar (which I sold after reading at $5 to an unsuspecting young girl in Starbucks wearing a short white romper and thick black eyeliner). That book was the absolute worst – utterly relentless, terrifyingly recognisable, paralysing authentic. That’s the genius of Plath, I suppose. “I want to write something that is everyone’s deepest darkness nightmare,” she thought, and wrote The Bell Jar. (Actually she was suffering from crippling depression as well at the time; she committed suicide shortly after it was published.) At several points in my reading I thought I was going insane together with Esther Greenwood.
So in lieu of a book, here is a blog post – pithy in comparison. Writing is soothing; creating rhythm in lines of letters and symmetry in their structure both distracts and also uplifts. And maybe, also, putting things to words on the metaphorical page is somewhat akin to turning one’s flashlight onto the blackest, scariest corner of the room. Maybe there’s something there, maybe there’s nothing there. Maybe there’s something there today that won’t be tomorrow. That is probably not so important. What will save me, I think, is the spark of hope that lives in the mili-second in which I make the decision to overcome the shakes and turn on the light; the relief in realising that today is not the day I go into the darkness.