Dave, 33

April 20, 2007

It had been a strange year. 33 years of skating over a frozen pond, skimming over the world, unaffected and always in command and then, in the 34th year two cracks formed. Two pieces gave way and twice I was plunged into cold, unforgiving waters.

The second was depression, the war of my life. Prone to madness, my family, and I got off lightly I suppose. One schizophrenic uncle, a gaggle of suicidal aunts and grandmothers, nutters perched on every branch of the tree. It was a fight I had always won. Sometimes a little too easily, perhaps. It is when you lose your fear, in my case my only remaining fear, that you might succumb. Fear is healthy, it exists for a reason.

I was never scared of dying. Never of pain. Never fazed by dislike or revulsion. Always happy to make the tough decision. Never afraid of never being loved by anything but a pet. Not scared of poverty. Never titllated by speed, wrenched by heights, nor threatened by the malicious and vicious. Afraid of only one thing and that was losing sanctuary. Everyone needs a place of sanctuary. A place of calm. Of control. Stability. Home.

I lost my mind.

The second crack. The ice gives way and down you go. It’s an odd thing, losing your mind. In my case, losing it to depression. When people talk about unhappiness, about grief, about that wailing, crying, sobbing, drizzy mess that comes with loss few realise that they are, at that point, nowhere near true depression. Crying is cathartic. Grieving is love.

Depression is empty.

That was the surprise as I dropped through the ice and sped down to the bottom of that world. How numb it all feels. How coldly logical everything seems. How detached you are from everything tactile. It is not like sorrow, don’t confuse it with sorrow because sorrow comes from yearning, as does melancholy. The smart, smarter than I, know to cherish those emotions. The depressed yearn for nothing. Cherish nothing. Air. Water. Fire. Tea. Sunshine. Friend. Oblivion. All are the same to the depressed.

With sorrow and grief and pain there is still you. There is still some driving force that can think of a better life. That can remember having one in the past and is desperate to have one in the future. To the depressed there is no sch thing, no reason to get out of bed, no reason to change the channel. There is no reason to turn on the television. You can’t anyway, there was no reason to pay the electricity bill…

The second crack. The second time drowning. Just enough of me left somewhere. Just a voice in the background not content to slip into oblivion without just one more final try. one more push. One more chance. A tiny voice had the sense to take control of the voice chords and scream “help”.

That was yesterday.

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6 Responses to “Dave, 33”

  1. Solnushka Says:

    My brother, who is inclined towards depression himself, says it’s like being stuck in an airtight glass bubble, where nothing gets in or out. A perculiar sensation of being cut off while still forced to watch everything going on around you.

    It’s pants, however you describe it.

    At the risk of sounding horridly twee, hope you find a hammer soon. May you agressively shatter the glass and grind the powder into your carpet.

  2. misterlister Says:

    This doesn’t sound like it’s in my league, but when I’m down I look for something funny. Father Ted works well. Downtime. Reboot. Face the world again.

    Your coping mechanism was based on your “only remaining fear” — homelessness. Are you saying you’re not afraid of losing your home anymore? What used to scare you about homelessness? What changed?

    Anyway,
    Good move getting help.


  3. Dear Solnushka

    Just a quick note to the sympathetic ear. Although much of this is taken from personal experiences it is a fictional account nonetheless. I will retroact any sympathies to the past, to the appropriate time.

    midnightjester


  4. Dear Mr. Lister

    When I talk of sanctuary and stability in the piece I am referring to within the walls of my mind, rather than a physical place.

    So I was only scared, ever, of losing my mind.

    I had not thought of it in your terms though, it makes for an interesting insight. I guess my home is in my head. Home, as it turns out, is where I hang my hat…

    midnightjester

  5. Solnushka Says:

    *Grins* I did wonder, actually. Splendid.

    In that case, I’ll say: it’s a good description.

  6. Oscarandre Says:

    It’s a very good description – and strangely timely. I have just returned home to find my best friend in a mental health clinic suffering from depression. He was considering suicide and I didn’t even know. Anyway, a good piece, Jester.


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