People don’t often ask me what its like to be depressed. It is a word, like many, that we use and misuse freely. And of course, every one of us is different in our own direct experience, even within the paradox of our universality. We’re the same and not the same – now that is an intoxicating thought…
These days, my depression doesn’t have so much to say. It doesn’t shout and blame and criticise. It doesn’t get me on the ground and put the boot in. These days it is an intensely physical experience. Maybe this is because I don’t have to hate myself any more? Maybe, that violence was so consuming, there just wasn’t enough space to feel depression, simply happening in my body? And in the simplest of terms, the nuts and bolts of being depressed, is all about constraint and weight. Its a corset round my ribcage, a knee in the back, pulled in tight, with a custom fitted, super-duper, weighted down body suit on top. Its pulling in and pushing out, each breath, through that. Its the labour of lifting limbs and grinding to a halt, sometimes for a long stretch of time. Its the distance between intention and execution. Its a repertoire of grinding teeth and muffled groans, that sometimes surprise me when I hear them in the mix of Radio4, Leonard and forensic television. Its kneeling down and falling down, getting up, falling down, giving up, giving in… falling in. It is sometimes the smell of my skin and my own hands holding up my head and whispering prayers, like a mama in a rough, old mother tongue.
I was wondering if I would trade myself in for the more coherent and productive version and found I was torn. Its been an epic journey to meet and befriend myself. And now I like her/me/she… and even though my biggest grief/anxiety/preoccupation is hooked into the nuts and bolts of constraint and weight and how much of my precious, mysterious life I might be ‘wasting’, I find I am reluctant to trade in the lumbering girl, for one with a different rhythm and many more things crossed off her to do list. And somewhere, in the echo chamber of mystery, I can hear a voice, my voice, saying, thank you for not leaving me.
One thought on “Nuts & Bolts”
Caroline want to say again how much I’m valuing these posts. Especially at the moment with so much on Facebook and the internet about depression, after Robin Williams’ tragic suicide. I think you have a lot to offer to the conversation on depression that is otherwise lacking, about the day to day challenges and texture and small satisfactions of meeting yourself just as you are. There’s very little out there like this and it’s important. Thank you and love x