Yes, I know, I promised a different topic at the end of my previous post.
With such a tight timeline and developments and insights striking like lightning, sometimes it’s pretty inevitable I’ll deviate from my planned schedule. I will still get to that topic though! Hang in there!
This post has become so large, that I have for readability’s sake decided to split up it into two.
No worries. Either half still makes sense on its own.
One thing is for sure: I have the best friends in the world.
So many in the last weeks I have met up with, spoken with, online, offline, directly, indirectly. Such a lack of judgment. So many good and surprising insights (that I, I assure you, am taking away and mulling over). So much honest and open sympathy.
In complete and utter transparency. No holds barred. No words minced. No bottle unopened.
Quite understandably – in previous posts I did focus pretty exclusively on the topic- in these mails, phone calls and discussion a lot of focus is on the depression.
It may well be that this is actually the part many can relate to, hence the warm deluge of advice ranging from dietary recommendations to alternative therapies to positive thinking to creative design; from personal experience as well as from an academic background.
Interestingly no one dared make any kind of suggestion involving divine intervention yet. I guess I can only be grateful that my friends know me well enough to be aware -or indeed weary- of my reputation as a fairly militant atheist, and steer well away from that particular potentially explosive discussion. 😉
Seriously though: thank you, all.
But (and you knew that that was coming, right?) it may come as a bit of a surprise to learn that depression is actually not my main problem.
Remember that I have earlier referred to depression as the wolf outside my door, waiting patiently with her cubs for a chance to come in?
Here’s the thing: I KNOW the wolf. Wolf and I are old, old friends. Comfortably on a first-name basis.
I even enjoy playing with her cubs now and again (although of course under strict supervision. You never know whether it’s OKnine).
Personally I am deeply attracted to her. And I hate her with the intensity of a thousand suns.
She on her end is silent, subtle and omnipresent, all-consuming,
Her cubs are beautiful and slowly lethal.
We do this dance, play this game, take a step forward, retreat. And have been doing so for as long as I can remember.
All of my conscious life we have been together.
One of my very first memories must be from when I was 4. Maybe 3.
I’m sitting at the very large table in the home I grew up in. And I feel so incredibly sad, so unexplainably lonely that I cannot even cry. It is so far beyond crying that it confuses me deeply.
But I am a smart kid. And I don’t want to bother anyone. So I deal with it. Which means I just put it far, far away. As I do from then on every time during the first decades of my life.
The wolf doesn’t mind.
She is patient.
I know the wolf.
The Great Con(versationalist)
Oh, don’t get me wrong.
She is NOT and never will be my friend,. She is responsible –I learned far too late- for so many of my life’s frustrations.
Why do my efforts to connect to people always feel like I am slowly twisting my own arm off, tendons snapping at every word, bones splintering with every smile?
It’s not that they seem to dislike me. I am after all fairly entertaining.
And yet, within an hour, I feel like I have been through the worst artillery barrage in the darkest, most muddy battle in the dirtiest, ugliest war.
I am reeling, exhausted, battered. I literally sweat all over.
I flash a last smile and make a brilliant parting remark containing at least two clever puns, and leave, ostensibly to talk to an invisible friend I just saw somewhere undefined.
A lie, of course.
I try and find a quiet corner, and desperately try and wrest some control back over my energy (“I am exhausted. I can’t keep this up for another hour!”), my thoughts (“Oh Christ, was I informative and knowledgeable enough? Was I sufficiently entertaining? Did I bring value? Did I spark joy???”), and my panic (“Fuck. FUCK. FUCK. They MUST have seen me sweating. They MUST have heard my voice go up sixteen octaves and rebaseline at triple the speed. They know. They KNOW!”)
Why is this so ridiculously hard for me?
I see others doing it without even so much of a thought. Almost like instinct. And enjoying it.
How do they DO that?
There are, of course, more examples. Far more, in fact; many regarding being (un)able to self-activate or act on expectations and/or ambitions
But you get the gist of how the process works.
- Conviction that I can’t
- Conviction that if, in spite of this, I still do, I’ll fail
- Continued efforts to do, expending energy several dozens of levels over normal reserves
- Utter condemnation of experienced physical and emotional effects of previous step
- Conviction that failure has been properly achieved
Tea (or something slightly more consciousness-dampening as the case may be) and medals all around, rinse (mouth) and repeat.
This is where I apologise once more for being rather verbose on the whole thing here.
If you’re still with me (and if not: yay! Failure achieved! Time for a drink!) , it is important –if only to me- that I explain as clearly as possible that as debilitating and painful this is, I know this.
And, up to a point, I can deal with it.
Yes, she is a frustrating companion, but surely no more or less so than any other structural handicap.
Those bound to a wheelchair will yearn to run, but cannot.
Those with dyscalculia will yearn to know whether they ever get back the right change in the supermarket, but cannot.
Those without index fingers will yearn to pick their nose, but cannot.
Doesn’t mean I apathetically accept her, although to be fair: I am at a point where trying to get her out of the house through the cat flap is starting to look like a bit of a slapstick exercise.
It makes her smile at least. Which shows off her fangs beautifully.
Again: I know her.
But I know now she’s only a symptom….
To be continued.
Stay tuned for part II, with even more words!
Next post: Part II: Die-agnosis
- Song for the day:
- Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/track/33CeM8NI7tfrNgciVOFMoo?si=N_LSUUi3Qgif2Q6BmFMO4g
“La caresse et la mitraille (The caress and the gunfire)
Cette plaie qui nous tiraille (This wound that gnaws at us)
Le palais des autres jours (The palace of other days)
D’hier et demain (Of yesterday and tomorrow)
Le vent les portera (the wind will carry them)“