07 May 2008

I'm the next act, waiting in the wings.

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.


Anonymous said...

I just read this blog, and I think you are right on, Kim (Kelly again). The safety coupled with apathy combo is a dangerous space to occupy. Well, maybe not necessarily dangerous, but scary at least. Loneliness no longer plagues one as a problem; in fact, being alone feels safer and more.... well, doable. At leasat that's how I understand it.

I do think it's good to talk about it. And, I get it that you feel like it's the only damn thing you CAN talk about. I totally get that. Being depressed is an all-encompassing state. Nonetheless, I do think you are (even if you don't know it) brave to be real. Most people would prefer to share along the lines of online survey answers like, "The last time I cried? When my boyfriend made me laugh so hard I had tears pouring down my cheek." Generally, how annoying is that? Your candid self-expression is refreshing. And it goes hand-in-hand with putting tiaras on elephants, might I add.

If you had to say, would you rate yourself as stagnant, all over the place, slipping into deeper depression, or finding a bit of light? I wish, when I was going through depression, I had kept a bit more perspective on how far down I had slipped- and comparing how I progressed may have helped a bit. Or maybe not.

In any case, I wish I were closer so we could chill on the couch drinking bad coffee (decaf, thank you very much, the baby doesn't enjoy the caffeine) and watching something like Ferris Beuller's Day Off or Breakfast Club.

For the time being, a big cyber-hug from me to you.


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