I’m back in the land of the living and breathing and functioning, again.
This last cycle of depression was a deep, gouging, scar, but as I looked back on it from where I’m sitting today, I’ve started to notice a pattern to my depression episodes when they occur.
I still don’t have a clear handle, always, on when they’re going to strike…that’s obvious, as I’m just getting started on my self-study.
But, I do have a better idea of the shape of what’s going to happen during the cycle itself.
The first thing I notice, is the Crash.
Obviously, this is, from what its title suggests, a painful, and sudden, occurrence.
I know that there must be a trigger event of some kind that sets this off, but, it doesn’t always have to be something that everyone else would find to be an obvious cause for an episode. It could be something small, something innocuous, or veiled in a more “innocent” tone to others, but for me, it hits the buttons in just the right, or wrong, sequence…
And down I go into the spiral.
Whatever the Trigger, or cause, the Crash is almost always done alone, behind my closed doors. I hate doing the ugly cry in front of others.
I refuse to be anyone else’s burden or obligation.
So, I shut down my phone, turn down the lights, lock the door, sometimes even retreating into the shower, to cry by myself.
And if anyone were to find me in that moment, and try to ask me what was wrong?
I wouldn’t be able to tell them.
Because I either wouldn’t know, or I wouldn’t be able to coherently communicate my complex and twisted thoughts and feelings in that moment and in that state of being.
In the Crash, the brain is All Neurons On Fire At Once, lightning flaring across the nerves, & complete chaos.
The Crash lasts until I’ve exhausted my tear ducts & blown my fuses in my grey matter all to hell.
Then…comes the Numb.
All thoughts stop.
This is where you get the phrase the “Thousand Mile Stare”.
Hours can pass while sitting, completely still, in a chair, staring off at a blank wall.
I can go days without speaking much to anyone, unless I’ve been spoken to first. And then, the answers are short, perfunctory & monotone. Almost mumbled.
I stare at my feet when I move through the office on these days, so I don’t have to meet anyone’s eyes. It looks as though I’m deep in thought about a file or problem, but it’s an avoidance trick. It works.
The Numb can last anywhere from a couple of days…to a couple of weeks…to months.
I do eventually start to crawl back up out of this phase. And yes, it usually does happen just that slowly – at a crawl, on my metaphorical and emotional hands and knees. It’s as though color begins to seep pixel by pixel back into the view in front of me. Rather like watching a flower bloom, you don’t see it happen… and yet, if you stare long enough, it still does its thing anyway.
This, I call the Inhale, because it feels as though, for the first time in however long its been…I can take a full, clean breath again, without feeling as though my chest is weighed down by stones.
The Numb is the most difficult part of the cycle to work my way out of, these days.
Because I’m good at being alone.
I’m good at wearing the masks required of my job, and most people don’t notice that it’s just a “show” I put on while I’m on the clock.
And there’s no one at home to talk to.
Again, I refuse to be anyone else’s obligation or burden. I won’t put my friends under the strain of listening to my crap.
But, sometimes, I wish there was a partner, someone I could occasionally lean on a bit, who would let me prop them up too when they felt weary.
When the wheels of life roll and slip in the ruts that get gouged in the pain and stress we all go through…
It’s nice to have someone else there who will throw their shoulder to the wheel next to you and say…
“Let’s get this coaster rollin’ again, shall we?”