There was a little gnome
And she had a little home
Right in the middle of my forehead.
And when she was good
She was very, very good
And when she was bad, she was
horrid fucking awful.
Here's my Interlacements sock (aka The Sock of Infinite Pleasure) so far. It's accompanied by my helper, the Hocus-Pocus Bag.
The rest of this post is more serious and introspective in tone, so if you're not up for that, just distract yourself by looking at the sock.
I've suffered from depression for a long time, but I wasn't formally diagnosed until about a year ago, when my biochemistry marshalled its forces and took over my life. Things got better for a while, but it's reasserted itself, and I'm trying to figure out what to do next.
Some days, I'm fine - some moments, I'm fine. And then something happens to me. It's in part biochemical, but it's often triggered by events - work most often, sometimes family - and I transform into this bloody, suppurating, suffering mass of raw nerve endings, incapable of rational response to what should be normal stresses. Most people, given a healthy enough sense of themselves and their place in the world, would be able to process it, cope, and move on. I am plunged into black despair, unable to see any value or redemption in any part of myself. I take it all in and get lost in it.
In this place, everything bad is true. I am incapable, incompetent, hopeless, irredeemable. I am a deep void of child-fear, rage and paranoia. I project my own worst self-impressions onto my co-workers and am convinced that this is how they see me. I am a failure, and I castigate myself for it. You know the bullies that were horrible to you at school? They got nothin' on the one in my head.
Even outside of these episodes, I'm often paranoid and suspicious, certain that I'm under judgement all the time. I no longer know what is me and what is not-me. This doesn't happen with my friends so much - anywhere that official evaluation has no sway, I'm fine and relatively comfortable. Thank heckins.
I find it interesting, though, to attempt to look at this from the perspective of my observer-self; to muddle through an articulation of what happens in my head when logic and perception go awry. I hope that ultimately, I'll come to understand it better.
I can sound together as I write this, but here's how it looks from the belly of the beast. This was written last week in a few minutes over lunch:
foul demon, corrupted gargoyle, twisted and deformed - I would cast you out but you are my creation, so deeply chained that the links remain unbroken and I cannot find the source.
I am Pompeii, the ashes of Vesuvius so thick and heavy in the air, my silver shadow besmirched and blackened, buried under impenetrable layers of my own devising. My grief is red as blood.
Persephone, how I envy you. What I wouldn't give for even one glowing pomegranate seed here in the dark. At least you could move, and the sun was a certainty.
The soil is frozen hard; no seed of mine will sprout on the plains of desolation.
And so I spin myself a green cocoon here in the black, hunker down under the poisoned ash and the weight of lifetimes and await a sign - any sign - of spring.
Maybe depression needs to be re-marketed as a development opportunity for bad free-form verse. Quality of the writing aside, I think it conveys that this is a very bad place to be. When I'm in it, it seems interminable - there's no hope and no end, and even if it does pass, there's the certain knowledge that I will be engulfed by it again and again. No amount of preparation makes that any easier.
Wow, huh? I try to take the days as they come, and in my more rational moments try to remember all of the people and things for which I'm thankful. I'll spend at least part of this afternoon in a coffee shop, knitting and reading. I'm really looking forward to it - it'll help me recharge and perhaps feel more like myself.