The darkness threatened to close around me. I felt the tentacles stretching towards me, reaching, snaking their way through to my body and soul. I could see them, slowly moving in, becoming stronger, increasingly darker as they approached. The fogginess in my head deepened, making me feel ever more lethargic, fatigued…any effort to do anything was almost too much. My spirit began to sink, interest in anything I enjoyed was slowly diminishing. I wish I could say my feelings towards those I love was unaffected, but that would be a lie. I knew that love was there, but it was becoming separated from me by the darkness. That’s the way depression works. It’s a wall between all that you love and enjoy and yourself. In the end, when it’s at its worse, nothing exists but the darkness.
Sometimes that’s a relief. Does that sound strange? I know some of you understand. Just to let the darkness have its way…to sink, curl up, sleep, and close out the world. It hurts less. That twilight, in between state prevents enjoyment, but you’re still very much aware of all you cannot do, don’t want to do. You don’t care about much, but somehow care that…you don’t care. You’re supposed to care, and you know that. But the energy, the strength it takes to accomplish even the minutest task simply isn’t there. And it’s frustrating, aggravating, demoralizing…here it is again. At least with the full darkness everything is shut out. That’s not to say full depression is a good thing. It definitely isn’t. I’ve spent more than my share of time curled up in a fetal position, blanket over my head, too tired to even cry, and just wanting it to stop. In that in between, twilight state, though, is the belief that you should be able to carry on as if nothing was wrong. As if you were walking in the light. As if all was well in your world when there may only be enough energy present to take a shower, get dressed, and watch TV. And sometimes there’s only energy to choose one from that list, like choosing dinner in a Chinese restaurant.
The tentacles have been stretching towards me since early October. I woke up one morning and all my interests were simply no longer interesting. I felt flat, emotionless, yet not depressed. Slowly, little by little, I could feel the cold, misty-gray tentacles moving towards me, grasping me lightly, just enough to be aware. The tentacles were getting stronger, darker, squeezing harder. I managed to fake my way through Christmas and prepared a separate, second dinner on New Year’s Eve to celebrate with a son and daughter-in-law who had been out of town at Christmas. I managed to get through, and was aware enough of having met the challenge to even give myself a little pat on the back. “Good work. Success.” The fact that I was in bed by 6:30 New Year’s Eve wasn’t important…I had accomplished what I had set out to do.
Then on New Year’s Day, somehow, for some reason I don’t want to even question, the tentacles’ strength lessened, they became a bit thinner, less dark. I’m not yet back in the light, but I have managed to vacuum and mop my living room, dining room, and entryway, shop, run a couple of other errands, and still feel like writing this blog post. That’s pretty good and I’ll take it as a sign that perhaps I’m moving towards the light instead of away from it. I feel I’m beginning to care again, and I take that as a good sign, too. I had hoped I wasn’t experiencing a long, slow, spiraling decline into that dark place from which it is so very difficult to escape.
I feel blessed to be able to say I appear to be climbing out of that hole.