dancing & thinking


I was dancing with my home group last week. Dancing and thinking. Thinking and dancing. Noticing thoughts become movement, until my feet were thinking and my head could dance. One line of enquiry that had some tug and pull, was depression, as a word. What does it mean to use that word about myself? Even though I had my first diagnosis aged twelve and it never really went away again, and even though I’m an experienced psychotherapist and know all the lingo, it has until relatively recently, been almost impossible to name and own my depression. It has been, in an insidious fashion, a dirty word. A word linked to shame and to failure. I know I sound quite fluent, but I didn’t really know any of this. I didn’t know how hard I was working to get rid of my depression, until I stopped, and started the unlikely project of welcoming it instead.

It isn’t an accident that Postcard’s subtitle, is investigating and celebrating depression. Celebrating my depression is the doorway I fell through when there was nowhere else to go. I’ve spent my whole life trying to fix myself or escape. Or both. Oh my, the relief of arriving finally in a place of Welcome. And if I can keep practicing dropping into that welcome. And yes, it is a practice… maybe, just maybe, depression can be a different kind of word in my vocabulary?  A kinder word, even?

When I set up the Facebook link to this blog, I decided to call it Depression Is My Home Address. I got ticked off by someone for being reductive and defeatist, but actually, for me it is the opposite. For me it translates as surrender and welcome. Yes, okay, home address it is. So I’ll put out the welcome mat and paint the front door. If this is my house, I’m going to learn to live well in it. As well as I can anyway. As well as I can…

I don’t know if my depression is biological, environmental, or entirely arbitrary. You probably won’t be surprised to hear, I’ve given those questions a lot of thought and attention. I will probably give them more. What feels very different though, is letting the bite go out of it. It doesn’t really matter why or how it’s come to be, that this is me. I wake up every day with rocks on my chest and a prayer for mercy in my mouth. And if this is where I live I don’t want to spend any more time fighting with it. I don’t want to dedicate any more time to that particular flavour of suffering. Okay, so I probably won’t start jiving about in a ‘depression is great’ teeshirt. Or get a depression tattoo. Or start a band called, The Depression Girls. Quietly though, I am more touched and astonished than I can easily say.

As Leonard wrote and sang in 1971:
It’s come to this – and isn’t it a strange way down…

And in 2012:
Going home without the costume that I wore…

Salutations to all the Homecomings a human life can conjure up before it runs out… I bow to yours and bow to mine.

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