I have been thinking about boundaries lately. Or, judging by the long list of saved blog drafts, it's something I think about more often than one might expect. The dynamic between concealment and candor is something that has fascinated me for a long while. I think, for a time, I even garnered a bit of a reputation for taking a bit of a sadistic pleasure in playing with this dynamic in social spheres.
Revealing that in typeset, I realize that I risk being read as evil. In my defense, may I offer that my actions are not manifest in the intentionally manipulative or malicious, but rather an indefatigable sense of "what would happen if?" To speak in more figurative terms, while everyone else is dancing awkwardly around the proverbial elephant in the room, I might walk up to it and stick a tiara on it's head. And I would take pride in doing so, because pachyderms are regal beasts and I feel they are deserved such an adornment.
So I've been considering the notion of privacy within the context of this blog, particularly since Mama Crow now frequents the page. Something I've slowly come to accept is that this is a place where I must speak quite explicitly about my experience with depression.
Whenever I talk about depression in this forum, I will inevitably find an email in my Inbox from a long lost friend who will admit to reading something I've written here. Their message will often include a precarious benediction to talk about my experience because some scrap of what I've said is exactly what they needed to hear. They'll say, "My therapist just told me that I have a touch of the bipolar." That's funny. So do I.
I recently reconnected with a friend who was witness to my first, and most severe go around with the disease. She has repeatedly commended me for my "bravery" in speaking candidly about my experience. There isn't anything brave about it at all. When I feel depressed, there often isn't anything else I can talk about.
For the past three months, I've spent almost every day sitting in a dark apartment, curled up in a ball, listening to Radiohead on my headphones. Before writing this, I spent probably twenty some-odd minutes staring at the coil of a burner on my stove. I don't want to spend my days doing this, but I don't have much control over what I can and cannot do.
Early on, I would call my mom and explain, exasperated, "I can't do ANYTHING!" After a while I stopped because I didn't really see what purpose it served. One of the many things I could not do was explain what I meant by "anything." In hindsight, I might have said, "Anything other than wipe my own ass and even that is harder than it should be." I believe the French have a term for this, esprit d'escalier.
There is something incredibly safe about being depressed to the point of emotional paralysis. I think Beckett captured the sensation in Didi and Gogo: "I can't go on like this./That's what you think." Somehow, we endure, wrapped in a cocoon of hopelessness. If nothing will come from nothing, surely stasis is better than the alternative.
I think people who have not experienced this level of depression do not understand the security in this sort of despair. I think this misunderstanding becomes dangerous when it relates to feeling a little better. Someone that has not been there will interpret an admission of feeling a little better as an improvement. A depressed person knows differently. Feeling a little better is a much more frightening place to be.