Wednesday, May 5, 2010
I didn’t ask them to take sides. The kind of friends I have wouldn’t do that, anyway. Shit happens. My feelings were a natural - and normal - byproduct of shit happening. My friends understand that.
“I know how you feel.” Five magic words. I wasn’t alone in the world.
As fate would have it, a short while earlier, another good friend had also experienced two tons of shit. Very different set of circumstances. Almost the exact same feelings. We both needed to get out of the house. With her six-year-old son, we did pizza and bowling. We finished up outdoors, slurping ice cream, in a state of conditional armistice with the raging host inside our heads.
I woke up the next day with my brain settling down, but this morning I felt myself going under. Seriously going under. I couldn’t go back to sleep, I couldn’t get myself out of bed. The terrible thought hit me: What if this time, all my coping skills fail me? What if this time, there is no coming back out of it? What if this time, my opportunistic depression, the nemesis that has relentlessly stalked me just about my entire life, stops toying with me? What if this time, the depression finishes the job?
I needed to get out of bed. I couldn’t. The depression had the upper hand. Ten months before, intense sciatic pain pinned me to the mattress. The mental pain I experienced this morning was just as strong, stronger. Each moment I remained horizontal only increased its strength.
What if this time ...
My mind flashed to the individual who had initiated the chain of circumstances that found me in this wretched condition. Suddenly, I visualized myself taking a heavy glass and throwing it at his head. Hard, really hard. Nolan Ryan hard. With the thought, a power surge of unadulterated cosmic anger coursed through every micro-circuit of my being.
I looked around. I was out of bed, halfway across the room. Me here, the bed there. How did that happen? No idea, not a clue.
I gathered myself, took a few breaths. I’m up, I decided. May as well shower. I pulled myself together, got in the car, and headed out to do the things I needed to do. I did them. The lady handed me over a legal agreement. I signed on the dotted line. It was done. Infinite relief.
Who knows? Tomorrow I may feel like shit again. Yet another whole new load of shit may come crashing down on my head. Today, my depression served notice on me. It let me know who was the true master of my brain. It let me know in its own way that it will be back. But on this day, today, I was - miraculously - granted a reprieve.
If you happen to encounter me face-to-face, you have a good chance of catching me laughing, really laughing. Depression is my constant companion. Any moment it makes itself scarce is a gift. It always returns, and one day I fear it will return for good. Which is why when I laugh, I don’t just laugh. I laugh my ass off.
It's been that kind of day.