When I was a teenager and my depressive cycle started, my sister would tell me,
That’s stinkin’ thinkin’, stop it
She and her husband ran a sales office and motivation was their game. Positive thinking would drive a man to enter a strange place and do something completely out of character, and after that the money was addictive.
I always tried, for her, goddamn I worshipped her. She had always seen good in me, and told me.
That’s important, that you tell people good things you see in them. Not everyone can see good in themselves.
So my depression isn’t a constant. I have cycles that don’t run on a clock or a schedule. Most of the time I’m just normal depressed, and I’ve learned some good coping mechanisms for that.
I write, I focus on my children and wife, I watch funny movies or I play games and try to get out of my head.
It works for me.
Then comes the darkness… I never know when it’s going to happen but once it starts I can feel it
Suddenly there’s less to say
There’s a growing weight on my eyes, my shoulders start to slump
It gets hard to laugh
My mind goes numb
and for a week or two or a month
Watching The Princess Bride doesn’t fill me with nostalgia and laughter
I have to avoid most of the songs I love because they’ll send me into uncontrollable fits of sobbing
Stray thoughts float around and if I pull the thread
I’ll find death at the other end of the line
Ol’ Grim doesn’t give up…
As patient as death, is that a thing?
When it passes, it does so like an Iowa summer thunderstorm. Rip through, make a lot of noise and leave a quiet sunny day in its wake.
I’ve felt it leave often enough that now I just ride it out, hoping it goes quickly.
I can tell my wife it’s starting and she loves me a little louder. As I fall into myself she holds my hand and won’t let me fall alone.
The second day (the one I’m on as I write this) is when the numbness dissipates and the memories flood my mind.
Standing up and speaking for the dead. I remember the words coming out of other’s mouths, telling me
Or I’ll be not thinking about anything in particular and suddenly I’m reliving some awful shit from my childhood
Sneaky fingers sneaky toes
Keep the secret no-one knows
And I can’t find my grown-up strength, I can’t find my walls, my mechanisms are seized up and nothing will help
Until it passes
I have to be very careful with
Because the wrong thought has almost done Ol’ Grim’s work, before
Like the night I was in the bedroom closet with my knife and my wife, my savior, my angel,
Wrestled it out of my hands and damn near cut her thumb off
And I can try to make excuses to myself but I can’t look into her eyes and say words that are less than true
So I ride the darkness
and wait for the light.
I know it’s coming.