Apparently, I’m suffering from depression. And probably have been for at least a few years now. I’ve been going it raw, no meds, no therapy (although my mom could argue that), not even a sleep aid. It’s like tiptoeing through a blizzard without any clothes on. Talk about the “blues;” more like whole body frost bite, about to loose a limb. I too often find myself at a standstill, curled up against a drift, alternately sobbing and swearing. Yet I have the gall to wonder, is this such a bad place to be?
What I’m asking is if happiness should really be a goal in life. No, hear me out. I’m not an advocate of suffering unnecessarily, and now I know first hand how completely depression can take over not only one’s mind and physical body, but worst of all, the sense of self. I am finally almost ready to consider help. Almost. But there is something here to learn from, too, and a part of me is afraid that if I smother any of these feelings, even the worst of them, that I will be disconnecting a part of me. Can a dense down coat replace your own skin? Should I blanket my raving mind with comfort and a chemically induced sense of control, when maybe there is something vital about this pain? Messy can be beautiful. Frustration can be fruitful. Hurt can motivate. It can hinder, too. And I see that in my lesser cognitive abilities, in my overly emotional responses to every day frustrations, in an ongoing nightmare that never lets me sleep, and a body that is falling apart. And yet, I wonder…
Emotions are intimate little slivers of self. And there is an aspect of me, the writer in me, that cannot help dislocating herself, and staring back with a kind of clinical scrutiny. Like a doctor callously accessing her own demise: excessive fatigue, memory loss, chronic digestive upset, joint pain, dizziness, daily headaches, insomnia, decreased concentration… and at least a dozen medical tests that have all come back “normal.” So this is what it’s like, the woman in the mirror says to herself. This is how it feels. Do I really want to seal up this wound? Amputate this life-limb that has begun to fester? It’s dramatic. It’s interesting. It has given me new insight not only into the people around me, but the characters in my stories. It has even been the fuel for my latest work; a SciFi Romance that confronts issues of morality, mortality, and the apathy of a world that refuses to halt, no matter how we kick and scream and try, at last, to disappear.
I know I owe it to myself to get some kind of help, likely via prescription medication, but the writer in me resists. She begs to study, even this. It’s a writer’s duty, after all, to observe and reflect, to ponder and explore. Because a writer isn’t a person, she is all people. And while I am not likely to choose Ms. Plath’s ending, I greatly admire her persistent dissection of self and the unabashed and absurdly beautiful work that came from such an inward focused eye. She has written all that I strive to conquer, and so much of what I am:
“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.”