It seems fitting that I begin with a disclaimer of sorts; namely, this isn’t fantasy storytelling, this isn’t click-bating, this isn’t philosophical shenanigans, this isn’t self-pity and it’s not a cry for help either. This is quite simply as real as it gets, so I’ll try to be as honest as my psyche will permit at this time.
This is about depression … or better yet this is about my depression. As far as I’ve read about the subject in general, I’m fairly certain that other depressed people experience different emotional/psychological pain, but the general premise of this mood/state/disorder and the personal entrapment which it inevitably brings stays the same. The discussion of whether depression is merely a mood swing, a more pervasive state of mind or it falls into the (clinical) disorder category is kind of irrelevant for this brief insight into my mind, because when depression strikes, the formalistic explanations at that time really don’t matter anymore. Logic, comprehension, realization and whatever else you want to cite as means of “grasping reality” or “snapping out of it” don’t mean squat. When it hits you, you can’t find an adequate explanation of how you feel, because you are too crippled to have a discussion with yourself or anyone else for that matter about whether you’re anxious, helpless, irritable, tired, empty, suicidal or anything else that can become associated with depression. You simply feel overpowered … and in most cases in more ways than one.
In a lot of ways, we comprehend the world we inhabit and the beings that we are through explanations and comparisons (associations in general). I could say that I feel the weight of the demon that is my mind, the demon that is my shadow, the demon that is my self and the demon that crawls in the social environment … and I feel each of them differently … and yet disturbingly similarly. It’s hard to explain, because I’m trying to capture the essence of what I’m actually sensing, while trying to retain a level of readability and narration.
This isn’t as straightforward as for example saying that comics are to literature what MMA is to boxing. That one is easy, you can elaborate on it in logical detail and it makes perfect sense. What depression is to my mind is something completely different. The idea of sullying this attempt of a serious discussion about depression with comics (an interest of mine) may seem paradoxical to some of you or may take away from the severity of the issue, but I really don’t care.
This is how my mind works: I try to (subjectively) connect everything about me and (objectively) around the word beyond me. You can’t fight the stream of consciousness of your psyche, but you can learn to float along the current of your mental river and trying your damn hardest to get over the many rapids as unscaled and dry as you possibly can … While the demon of depression is persistently chasing you. And whatever you do, you inevitably get ensnared by the demonic traps along the way. You basically succumb to the undesirable vices and destructive desires you conjure up along the more and more rapid stream of your mental river. Why do you do that? Because you can’t just sit there and do nothing. You can’t just allow the demon to devour you bit by bit … And yet, by struggling, you are in fact making the bite marks bigger and deeper. You can’t just paddle ashore, because the oars turn into snacks that you insatiably shove down your throat, in the process making yourself more obese and even more susceptible to the taste buds of the darkness that follow you. And gluttony is a particularly tasty demonic appetizer. You can’t just yell to the person you just happen to float by to help you get ashore, because they don’t really hear you and they certainly don’t see the dire predicament you find yourself in. You are just driftwood to their stability on land. Good for them, bad for you.
The most distressing part about it is that this largely applies to family, friends and colleagues just as much as it does to blissful strangers, to whom you are merely a car wreck they just happen to witness … a shocking spectacle that at least is not happening to them. And that’s the other part of it: sometimes the demon of depression can be hidden right before your eyes, yet at other times it can be shockingly appealing like the dumbest film you’re even had the (dis)pleasure of seeing. It’s not just that someone will never see what’s happening to you, but sometimes they do, yet still can’t understand or do anything about it. It may not make sense to them as much as it may be confusing to whoever is reading this, but paradoxes are part of life … and I’m sure they are part of death as well, because overall experience of life extends beyond these basic dual extremes of being (or non-being) right here and right now.
A lot of the issues of depression may be self-imposed, at least if you’re a person like me, you will tend to take it as such and not just attribute blame to everything and everyone around you to cater to your fragile, irrelevant and ecstatically narrow-minded ego. As much as you’re being destructive in all sorts of areas: from your relationship, career to overall experience of life in general, even this is an experience of life. It may be a shitty one, but even this self-deprecation must serve a purpose. I like to say that you can’t really know life until you experience different, extreme aspects on it, so you take the good with the bad. As beautifully mythological and philosophical as this is, we are just cogs in the machine. If we manage to become experts in a given subject, we can mostly hope to make ourselves proficient in that one field. The shock factor here is that each field is just a grain of sand on the beach of life … Which means we are individually dumb as shit and complaisant as we ever were. And that is literally and figuratively depressing.
My aspirations and incapabilities go hand in hand far too often. Maybe my self-destruction and rebuilding is synonymous to the way war and peace have both respectively plagued and propelled humanity forward. Both are just temporal states and neither seems to live (or die) long without the other. A strenuous, parasitic relationship at best. Similarly, I essentially try to fight the demon within me with some sort of productivity; writing is only a minor part of it. Even if the narrative lines are crooked at best … if not torn at places. The blissfully ignorant irony here is that the damn demon is in many cases the main source of inspiration … or rather spite … not sure about that one yet. I don’t know for the love of me if ignorance of my destructive nature could in fact be called bliss, or if this dualistic comprehension of everything about me and around me has become an integral part of what I am (and cannot hope to become any more).
Before I conclude this, I have to touch on something that happened a couple of years ago that I feel wasn’t understood appropriately enough. Although received with sympathy and pity, empathy (which involves deeper comprehension and connection) nevertheless flew under the radar of perception. I wasn’t the only one who was shocked when Robin Williams passed away. His suicide was in large part connected to severe depression. I rewatched Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunting and a couple of his stand-up appearances. You can call it what you will, but the eyes never lie. While pausing the videos, I vividly remember getting chills in seeing some of his expressions or rather feeling some of the pain that was present there … at least in my own way, because what he felt was his alone to bear. What I felt was only an approximation of his darkness, as much as my describing the darkness within me expressed thought these letters is superficial at best.
Having rationally though about (my own) suicide, I know very well it’s hardly a laughing matter. The ultimate negativity bias. People stray away from it because it’s hard to understand why you would end “everything”, or you succumb to taking pills that dull your senses even more. While death may be the only certainty of life, to actually cut the string of life is a whole different beast. The issue is even more crippling when neither life nor death seem to be the trajectory you are on, especially when the demon is chasing you. I don’t want to call it purgatory, because if you’re read Dante that essentially implies a positive outcome … principally just a lengthy struggle that inevitably leads to Heaven (or ends there). Ideological, the shit that’s overcome me isn’t necessarily about a positive outcome. I have accepted the waxing and waning of life in general, not just personally. It’s about not fitting in, not fitting in personally as much as socially. If you know you are different, you will have a hard time in life and in death. That’s why you feel consumed by yourself and everything around you (which can be either good or bad). And again, this isn’t a temper-tantrum of a spoiled brat who just wants to be special, for me this is very serious and very personal … and the hardest thing I’ve ever written so far … despite the fact that I haven’t even gone into specifics too much, because I’m quite simply not there yet.
While all of this probably won’t change much for the time being, the only difference is that if you do find yourself is a state of mind that has been crippling you for far too often, as much as you need to find a way to live with your fear of the demon, you have to push through as times as well. When and where is up to you to act upon, if you can. Whether it’s something only you feel or whether it’s more widespread, maybe reading this diluted exposé will offer some reassurance that there are twisted people in the world … and that doesn’t necessarily mean a bad thing.
Either way you take it or understand it, depression is long-lasting process. It can be very dire, but what it will become of it or what it will morph into, is yet to be seen. Thank you.
For reasons of extreme prejudice, the author of this blog wishes to remain anonymous …