Monday, November 12, 2007

today : this is how it is

Depression is such a difficult thing to describe. It's like love in some ways, in that the literature of love is composed entirely of metaphorical attempts to basically sum up in words that which can only really be wordless, or beyond. Pretty much all emotion is the same.

Swimming through molasses, fighting through a fog, weighed down with lead. The fact is that the very essence of depression is its wholly prosaic nature. There is nothing poetic about it for me. Its mundanity is its curse. If Morrisey had been truly depressed then writing lyrics would have been beyond him. Forming a band would have been an unreachable dream.

When love is described as a series of processes, it becomes pornography. When depression is described as a series of processes it becomes diagnosis or melodrama.

For me depression is characterised by inability. The inability to face and perform the most basic, normal,. fundamental tasks of living that otherwise are the bits of life that we don't even think about. Those undramatic gluey bits of everyday life that soap operas cut out, if you like.

Going out of the door becomes a task that engenders the same level and intensity of fear as crawling through a flooded cave or jumping from a tall cliff into water (both of which I have done). The nervousness that might afflict a lone traveller at night in a strange city, afflicts me when walking round the supermarket or out on the street.

Sometimes in life there are things that aren't pleasant. I'm not talking about major surgery or identifying a body. I'm talking about things that simply hold little or no pleasure.Chores. Balancing a cheque book, paying the gas bill, hoovering. These kind of activities - jobs if you like - loom as massively as running a marathon or facing the results of a biopsy.

The littlest of setbacks, sometimes not even setbacks, just incidents with the potential for negativity, can send my mind running and racing like an over-revving old car with the choke left out. The paths of thought speed on down the road not taken all the way to the edge of a cliff. Visualising what might happen in any given situation leads inexorably to doomsday scenarios. The paths of optimism are simply blocked off and my mind is forced to follow the low road.

Here is a scenario. A minor problem arises. Maybe a utility company informing me that my bills are going to rise. A standard letter sent to all customers. The idea of paying more when I have less and less starts me off. Almost immediately I see a situation where I can't make the new payments and end up defaulting and facing the utility cut off. Even worse is having to borrow to pay the extra, thereby admitting that I couldn't keep up the payments or even worse, provide enough for myself to survive. Driving in the car the doomsday scenario looms. Defaulting will dent my credit record and make it even more difficult for me to have the normal balanced middle class life I aspire to. I already have almost nothing and acquiring it will take a step nearer impossible. Oh, given that I'm disabled I'll never earn enough to afford a mortgage. I'm disabled. Perhaps I could afford a mortgage if I had a partner. But I'm disabled. Who wants to marry a cripple? A depressed cripple. There was so and so and then so and so. Would've liked to marry them. But they rejected me because I wasn't good enough, most often not physically what they aspire to. I am a reject. A depressed crippled reject. A bitter depressed crippled reject. And I'm not young any more. And I'm only going to get more disabled. And financially I'm not even in a position to own my own house. And the car is now making a strange noise and needs fixing.

And the panic attack starts. Light-headed, tightening chest, headaches, shame. Shame because I used to be able to handle everything with relative ease and now a letter from the utility company has crushed me and funnelled me into having a panic attack. I'm freaking out. I can't concentrate on anything long enough to work it out. I can only think how I'm a pathetic bitter, crippled reject who can't face the simplest of everyday incidents without spiralling out of control.

It almost looks ludicrous when it's written down. But this is how it is.

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