Sunday, July 13, 2014

Into the Gloom...


Sometimes it seems that I only realize that I have been caught in a
great gray fog when it finally begins to lift. I'm talking about
depression, something which has lingered on the edge of my life
for many decades...mostly well-hidden, not affecting my life in
any significant way, but occasionally, rearing its head and showing
its teeth, sucking me into its murky maw to hang on for dear life-
mine.

Now, I am not talking about that kind of depression which totally
decimates a life, making activity and decision-making and enjoy-
ment impossible...depression that truly needs treatment if the
person is to recover some type of equilibrium again. That depth
of darkness has never swallowed me up and for that I am eternally
grateful. No, I'm talking simply about the kind that seems to put a
coating of gray ash on everything...that tamps down pleasure and
creativity and energy...that invades the mind with insidious voices
whispering of worthlessness, making me doubt even the best of
ideas and intentions. It is kind of like having a low-grade fever:
not sick enough to go to bed but just enough so that you know
something isn't quite right.

Due to two "happenings"- both texting conversations with my sons- I
had an epiphany of sorts this morning. I have been in the slough of
despond for about a year now...still working, still functioning, still
writing on occasion, still functioning in my world, still having
occasions of enjoyment, but in, with, and under it all, the darkness
has lurked, sucking away much of what I consider to be "ME". I'm
certain no one else knew...no one realized what was going on with
me. How could they, when I was not even aware of it myself? And
that is the insidiousness of this many-headed monster. It takes so
many guises that it becomes more and more difficult to recognize it
for what it is- and to deal with the damaging messages it bears.

Looking back over my poetry from 2004 onward, I can see where I
have felt and seen the Monster overtaking me, often able to ward it
off before it could sink its fangs too deeply. But this time, I was
caught totally unawares, blind-sided, perhaps because there just
didn't seem to be any logical reason for being depressed. And that's
just it- there isn't, doesn't have to be, any logical reason: it just
happens. It's not seasonal or situational...it just IS. Only when I can
recognize it and name it does it cease to have power over me and
my life. Only when I know what I'm dealing with can I DEAL
WITH IT. And, blessedly, today, awareness has dawned. The light
of hope has been turned on and the path ahead once again looks
promising and inviting, even though I have no idea where it will
lead.

It feels so good to hold my head up high, to sing to the sky, to laugh
over nothing at all, to look forward to the next hour, the next day
with a sense of eager anticipation. It feels so good to be planning
some writing projects, to dream,with a sense of excitement. It feels
so good to look at myself in the mirror and see someone I recognize
and like once again. And though my old nemesis still lurks- and
probably not very far away- I am untroubled by that thought. We
have been through many struggles- depression and I- and most
likely will again. But for now, for this moment, for this day and time,
I am breathing deeply the fresh air of hope and delight and joy.