Light, intermittent, chronic depression

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By melladh
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Literature Text

I'm here to tell you a story. A metaphor, to understand what this really means.

This isn't depression like "I get bummed when it's rainy and I don't want to go to the party because I'm tired". This isn't depression like "I'm dying every day and there is no future."

This is a chronic condition that you learn to live with. And it doesn't define who we are, or what we are capable of.

A friend recently told me, when I was talking of my illness, that "you always seem to have your shit together". And truth is, I really do. Because depression doesn't define you once you get to know it - if you can step outside of yourself and separate your illness from yourself, it will still be troublesome but it doesn't have to be all that you are.

So my metaphor is this.

Imagine someone who has a tendency to twist their ankle really badly, and who often has to walk reasonably long distances. This happens a lot, and it's painful, and it's hindering, but they've begun to carry fold out crutches in their backpack. It doesn't fix their leg, but it allows them to get to their destination, and then perhaps get the help they need.

Now most people don't quite have this problem. A friend of yours twist their ankle, and you show sympathy, you express that you understand, you offer whatever help they need.

You do this the first time, the second time...

You may do this forever.

But most of the world? The fifth time the same person twists their ankle this year, same as every year, you understand that they need more time, but you also stop making a big deal out of it. "Yeah, okay, this happens all the time." You can't really help them.

And that's fine. Pity doesn't fix anything. Understanding, space, and the possibility of relief is enough.

But when we find someone of a similar disposition, who also align well as a friend, we do tend to keep a slight hold of each others.

"Hey! I twisted my ankle again, fml."
"Ugh. I feel ya. My arm is acting up too. Couldn't write all day."

We don't need to fix each others. We just understand. We relate.

So after a wonderful and relaxing day with the best imagineable people, when you go home and your mind is playing tricks on you where your entire world seems to shatter, that's just the twisted ankle. When you can't imagine ever eating again, you still buy some easy heat meal with some modicum of healthy options to it, because you know that your body needs good, gentle energy, or it will be hard getting out of it.

You're already drowning, and you can't breathe, can't even cry, but you take a good hot bath so that you're at least refreshed, and warmed up if it's cold outside.

You treat your twisted ankle with the aid at your disposal, because it hurts and it's making it hard to walk, and this might not feel better right away but you know what you need to do to allow it to heal.

And you reach out to the people who are available to you. Especially those who understand are like locally applied pain killers. You need them fast, even if you'd survive without them.

They don't fix you. But they make it easier to get through the night.

You call out to someone, maybe on the other side of the world.

Maybe it takes you a while to get to where you need to go.

Maybe you just start with showing a link to something you decided to buy in spite of yourself. Try their presence.

And eventually you might get there.

"I'm having one of those days. You know? Everyone shines their brightest, genuine smiles at me, and their love is so apparent. And my id is convinced everyone hates me. Even though I know it's not true. But I've got errands to do, and I'm doing them."

Miles and miles away, someone you never met, and who's been with you for years and years.

"I know what you mean. I had that all weekend. Still had to do the laundry. So it goes."
An explanation of our lives
© 2018 - 2021 melladh
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