The last two years, when I was so depressed, one of the things I hated about it was how it skewed my view of reality (see this entry). How it made me think that nobody would even notice if I just evaporated. It created a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’d behave as if all the things that Depression was telling me were true–and it didn’t make it true, necessarily, but it did mean that I barely even tried to go to social functions, make friends, connect with people. Being isolated made me depressed, and depression made me isolate myself.
And you tell yourself it’s not true. That Depression is lying to you. And on your okay days, you can believe it. But Depression lurks in the space behind your ears, laughing, mocking you. “I don’t lie,” he whispers, “I tell the truth. I’m smart. Look around. You have no friends, you’ve messed everything up. If anyone’s lying to themselves, it’s you. Listen to me. I’m Depression. I’m an objective observer; I know what I’m talking about. Let me list all the things that make you a terrible person, because I’ve been keeping track. I’m the only one who loves you. I’m just trying to protect you.”
“I think you’re lying to me, Depression.”
“That hurts my feelings, it really does. Why would I lie to you? I want you to know the truth.”
“Could you leave me alone for awhile?”
“Of course not. We live together. We are one. I love you. We’ll be together for always and I’ll never let anyone else have you.”
I tell Depression he lies and he just laughs and sidesteps, and though I keep saying it, I’m never quite sure if it’s true, or if it’s something I need to say whether it’s true or not (because what’s my alternative, really?).
And then I run across this blog entry, (who got it from this other one), written by an actor I haven’t followed for years. Depression lies, he says. It is the thing I have been trying to tell myself, but could never quite believe, because Depression is rampaging around, chewing up my sense of self and shitting out uncertainty all over the inside my head.
And because these words come from Wil, and not me, Depression can’t eat them. They don’t come from me, so they can bypass my logic brain, which has so very many weak spots in it right now. Some little magpie in my heart, who has been keeping very quiet so that Depression can’t find her, reaches out of the crack she’s hiding in, and grabs this pearl, and pulls it into the crack and holds it close. Maybe, she reflects, it’s the sort of thing that can grow if it’s carefully tended. Maybe she’ll plant it, if it turns out to be the sort of thing that grows. But for now, it’s enough to look at it, to hold it, to learn the taste of it. Depression lies. Maybe she puts it on a shelf and marvels at it, sees how it catches the light. Depression. Lies.
He wrote that entry almost a year ago, and I read it then, and it still feels as new and marvelous as the day he said it. Depression lies.
In June, I went to see Neil Gaiman at his Last Ever US Signing Tour(tm) at the Tattered Cover in Denver. It was the sort of day that, if I was independently wealthy, I’d do all the time: spend six hours sitting on green carpet, surrounded by books, and read, and talk to people. Listen to Famous Author talk for an hour. Wait on green carpet for another 3 hours so that you can spend 42 seconds being smiled at by Gracious Famous Author. Ride bike home. Fall asleep holding signed book like a teddy bear.
I had him sign American Gods, because it’s the first book of his I read. My Gateway Gaiman, if you will. (He also signed The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, because that’s the book he’s publicizing. I thought about telling him he really didn’t have to sign that one because I really don’t need multiple Gaiman signatures [I’m a one-signature kind of girl], but then to turn down autographs seems rude, so…)
He smiled at me. And said nice things about how battered my book was. Inside, besides my name and his, he wrote “Believe!”
He didn’t say believe in what.
But the little magpie in my heart pulled that into her hiding place too, to turn over in her hands (yes, my magpie has hands. Shut up). Believe.
Believe in gods.
Believe in yourself?
Make good art?
Believe that you can make good art.
Believe that depression lies.
5 thoughts on “Words of Wisdom”
I’m speechless. Your detailed description and hauntingly eerie dialogue resonated in my thoughts, and I absorbed it as the earth absorbs rain from the sky. I am currently fighting to restore reality and reclaim my what has been strip-mined over the past months. It is annoyingly surreal the overwhelming feeling of absolute emptiness as you face an invisible liquidator who works overtime to suck up your energy relentlessly.
I thank God for courageous people like you who share your experiences without reservation, and I know that there is power in sharing. Each of my encounters with the monstrous abyss have differed. The latter ones have arrived in a swift easy and before I know it I find myself back on the plain of isolation, gazing down the barrel of a proverbial gun, begging for it to have mercy.
I join spirits with everyone in the world who has ever faced, is facing, or has yet to face this taker of joy.
I applaud you,
Thank you. I know I’m coming out of it, if for no other reason than I am able to write about it. When I’m in the worst of it, writing is out of the question.
If you keep walking across the plain, eventually you find a stream, and that can lead you out. So I hope you keep walking, and remember that, no matter how alone you feel, you aren’t.
I am engaged am currently very much engaged in this fight for balance, and I can see that stream you’re talking about in the far distance. I know it’s there, and am anticipating reaching it soon.
For me, writing is vessel I board during the highs and lows, and it carries me along the, sometimes, dark narrow path — through all of the pawing coming from the disease, the pawing that keeps yanking me back.
It is a fight that requires participation at all times. I just want to thank you for your well written, engaging response. It assures me that there is a live person on the end (smile).
Be well; positive vibes and successful strides to you,
Positive vibes to you too. 🙂 As Julian of Norwich says, “All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”
Love it!, Spandrella. Thanks for taking the time to drop some wisdom (Hugs) ~GD