Some of you have noticed I haven’t written for a few weeks. In short, I have been defeated. Depression has had the boot in. It’s a curious dynamic, this finding the writing gig, because sometimes I can’t write and I do (I am doing that right now/write now) and sometimes I can’t write and I can’t… This is very murky territory. It can be a highway to giving myself a bit of a beating, which is something I try my level best not to do. I have to do that dance between the can’t that needs compassionate chivying and the can’t that just has to be forgiven. If I confuse the second with the first, I can start shouting. Then I have to find my way back and say sorry. I’ve been saying quite a bit of sorry to myself today.
Ruby Wax posted a wonderful piece about her depression this week, via Facebook. In it she said that even if you forgive yourself, it doesn’t stop. It’s true. Even if the hard earned compassion is there in your heart, it doesn’t stop depressed. Even if you’ve really put your back into learning your own geography and holding it kindly, it doesn’t stop anything. Of course, if I have to have depressed, I’d rather hold it in the field of kindness than in the battleground of self hate. And, it doesn’t stop the full force and weight of it on top of your lungs. It doesn’t breech the absence, or colour in the flattened palette.
I was looking for a different picture to go with this post. I had an underground metaphor in mind. I’ve been slightly obsessed with the idea of deep, deep down beneath the bedrock of the earth. I have read that tiny threads of very cold water run like silver veins through the darkest, hardest rock. Oh yes, my soul cries out, that’s it, that’s me… and the funny thing is, I can kind of feel that water in the dark and impossible bedrock of my depression, even when I can’t. Depression is a steamroller. It presses and flattens the life out of everything, leaving ruined and empty in its wake. It’s hard to feel any emotional nuance in that kind of empty, in that kind of destroyed. And yet somehow, in a kind of abstraction I can’t quite explain, I can feel, or at least know about, those trickles of cold luminosity. They are in me and always have been. I just didn’t know that until relatively recently. I couldn’t know that until I’d thrown up my hands to the faithful company of depression and despair…
Anyway, as you can see, the photograph on top of these words is of the night sky, haunted by light. I’m waving from the window ledge on Christmas Eve, both dead and alive, and in some small way perplexed by feeling and not feeling something at the same time.