Monday, October 19, 2009

Wishing the undertow would stop

My ever-present depression has been more present than ever during the past week or so. It does that from time to time. I'll be coping, doing my little dog paddle and mostly keeping my head above water. Then suddenly, for no apparent reason, I'm battling high seas and huge breakers. It doesn't take much to pull me under and keep me there, and so I've spent a week tucked in a tight fetal position, sucking down salt water while getting pounded against the jagged rocks.

I've learned from experience that eventually the sea will calm and I'll float back to the surface. Knowing that helps. On the other hand, knowing that resurfacing simply means a return to coping mode and the maddening dog paddle doesn't help. Me, at my best, simply isn't much to look forward to.

I try to remind myself daily of the blessings I have, and I do have them: I live with people who care about me, in a decent house in a decent neighborhood, in a beautiful state in the best country in the history of the world. That, too, helps. But not much, or at least not often enough. The thing is, depression is a result of internal, not external, circumstances. It's my brain that's messed up, not my surroundings.

A blind man's vision isn't improved by his knowledge of the beautiful trees and flowers that surround him. Nor is my disposition remedied by counting my blessings. Indeed, it is made worse by knowing that the very things I should feel grateful for fail to move me.

Still, I fight the good fight, even while I question whether it is indeed good or worth fighting for. And I can't say I understand why I continue to do it. The only thing that occurs to me is that I am a coward, unwilling to give up, not out of strength of character or resolve of will, but out of fear. I have contemplated surrendering my life since I was thirteen. I am still alive today, not because of a desire to live, but because I fear both dying and death.

No comments: