Kokoro Is Blue

Defining Depression

Most fickle is depression.  Generally the word evokes images of doldrums and despair.  Imagination springs forth and generates images of sullen and moody artists suffering for their great creations, or nervous-inducing fancies of what it’s like to have mental illness.  It’s hard to explain when your audience has no frame of reference.  Here’s my shot in the darkness.  And hey, I don’t claim to be absolutely the expert or anything.  I’m just a crazy chick in a crazy world.

Yes, I called myself crazy.  It’s a poor attempt at humor.  Well, I thought it was funny.

I think all forms of mental illness take something from us.  Each steals a different thing, whether it’s perception or age, maturity or immaturity, conscience or caring.  Each is a thief in the night, making off with its goods and leaving its victims diminished somehow.  Depression is the most insidious of the lot, or up there at least, because it steals the very thing which makes us human:  time.

Time, you say?  Why yes.  Depression doesn’t always mean you sit around watching Designing Women with your spoon in the ice cream irregardless of calories, or that you’re always cutting yourself while listening to Bauhaus at 3am.  It doesn’t mean you’re constantly suicidal, sad, crying, or any of that jazz.  Apathy and arguing can be a part of it.  Lots of apathy.  Sensitivity, anger, sorrow, frailty.  Those can be a part of it to.  Regardless of what form the bakemono takes.

Now I hear you: bakemono, girl?  Seriously?  Can’t you speak English?  I can, in fact, rather poorly at that.  Bakemono is a term that evokes depression, for me, very concretely.  In Japanese legend and myth, a bakemono is a demon or otherwise fantastical creature that changes shape and causes mischief.  They are a part of the supernatural world, but overall a part of the natural order, much like, say, depression which is a part of the human noggin and such.  Just for some of us it goes off more than it should, and as an inappropriate reaction to things.

But anyway! Tangent over! You’re so relieved I can tell.

The devilish bakemono, the big “D”, it steals time from us.  A Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode evoked this idea the strongest, I feel.  At the beginning of Season Three, the Buffster is working in a diner.  She ran away from home, leaving her parents and friends in the dust for three months.  A lot can happen in that little time.  Dear old Buffy’s Mom got new friends and developed a rather striking taste for alcoholic beverages, and the Scoobies moved on and decided to hunt vamps for themselves.  Of course TV Land had them all grand old friends after some bonding and monster fighting, but in real life some of us aren’t so lucky.  Time robs us of friends, family, experiences…and life.  We lose it to the demon, who drinks it, consumes it, and keeps us away.  We lose so much in exchange for nothing, and we waste time lamenting it’s slow movement towards our demise.

This is harder to deal with than the feelings of depression, sometimes.  You look back and see it’s 2010, not 2005.  You look back and see you’ve lost so much.  People are changed and gone.  Toodles!  Family has moved on or changed.  Perhaps you’re divorced, perhaps your children grown, your boyfriend or girlfriend moved on.  The world is different now.  Imagine waking from amnesia after five years asleep, and everything is changed, different, or gone.  For some of us, depression is like that.

Those of you who have to deal with someone like me, you have my sympathies.  I don’t blame you if you moved on or life has changed, because certainly it does.  We all have to care for ourselves first and foremost.  Self-care is hard to understand for someone depressed.  If you don’t think we miss you, and love you, please know that we do.  We just can’t show it, and perhaps the pain of the past is too hard for us to overcome and reach out to you.  I don’t blame the people who walked away from me for the most part.  To those of you who’ve stuck by our side, we love you just as much.  And we thank you for helping us recover.  I’m sorry for the pain we sometimes cause.

I wake up most days and realize that it’s not my world anymore.  That just means it’s time to make it my own.  It’s hard, but every day of working to recover and be well is a choice.  To do or not do.  To live or not live.  Today, I choose life.  I choose not to look at the lost time and flog myself for it.  I choose to hate myself a little less, and to love myself a little more.

Sometimes all we can do is walk one step at a time.  Even one step still moves us forward.  I will get there even if I have to crawl one inch at a time.


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