The Language of DepressionDepression is an over-used term in our culture. Everybody's depressed. But depression, true depression, is very real. I've had episodes in the past that were debilitating. And as the new year rolls on, I find myself in the middle of an episode that I've been flirting with since this summer. There are those who consider depression situational; that is, dependent upon circumstances. Circumstances improve and depression lifts. In part this is true; I recognize it even in myself. If there were still hope of this relationship coming together, I would feel better. But it's not based on anything real. It's a ghost.
And as I look at my life right now, that's exactly how I feel--haunted. So many ghosts. So much emptiness--even in the face of so much fullness, prosperity, and grace.
My mind keeps coming back to words like annihilation, oblivion, wasteland. It's dark territory right now. I can't seem to shake it, even as I see it, recognize it for what it is, and continue on. So in some ways, it's a new experience for me. I've had this feeling before; but this time, it's as though there are two concurrent minds working against one another. One wants to destroy me--or rather, destroy everything. The other just watches and wonders why I still feel this way? Is it actually my feeling? Is it someone else's that I've absorbed? There's a foreignness to it, an alien-like quality to my alienation (ha!). I can't seem to connect to the people closest to me. It's as though there's a sound-proof wall between us. I can see them and hear them; but I can't seem to connect from my side. It's all very familiar and yet not.
The mind that longs to annihilate what I know as me says, You're just so full of self-pity. Snap out of it! And in some ways, that mind is right. When I first got sober, my mantra was "Change or die." I understood intimately that depression was simply a call for change. And I know that it's true again. But that same voice--that same challenge, Change or die!, no longer works. I have to find a new solution.
The mind that's observing this process, this 'depression', doesn't seem to have any answers. But it does have a lot of compassion. With this relationship ending, a lot more was lost than just some girlhood crush made manifest. Combine this loss with my age, my parents' failing health, my general discontent at work, and the sinking reality that I'll now probably never have my own child, and you have a recipe for transformation. I need a whole new orientation. One would think that my faith would provide that--fill in the gaping hole inside of me. But I feel so betrayed by what has happened that even God feels very far from here.
So, how do you move forward with nothing to comfort you any longer. Nothing to save you. Nothing to cling to. No illusions. No ground. That's the question that is put before me now.
I'll keep reporting back. Stay tuned.