When I had another major depressive episode, only 4 short months ago, there was no way to guess what would be on the other side. NaNo, blogging, meetup.com, my Smartphone.. none of these things were previously part of my life. The people around me still exist, they are the same, but I have shifted internally. I think I must actually give thanks in part to my depression. This is a new thought, one that must be explored a little.
I recently read another blog that questioned whether the manic phase was in fact a good, and necessary, phase to that person’s existence. It made me consider how, for me, the depression, may be my internal alarm that explodes periodically as my wake-up call. It may be the only thing I respond to because I do not allow myself to trust that anyone else will recognize when I am fading. This is a result of years of self-dependence and reliance. I have managed to keep everyone at arms length all my life. As an only child with older parents and few young people around me while growing up, I entertained myself, counseled and reassured myself, gave myself the pep talks to allow myself to keep on going with my head held high. So when I was bullied, when friends dropped me without warning, when my mother had paranoid delusions, I was the only one always there to support the inner me from falling into the cave. I have no idea where any of my self-confidence comes from because, ironically, I have many things wrong with me that is to the contrary.
The next bit is part creative writing (it started because of NaNo) and part real life thoughts. But I guess creative writing is real life in the grey folds of my brain.
Technology has provided a venue for some us with mental challenges, to, well, express who we are and what we are thinking about what happened to us in the past, processing the things that take years to understand as we need to relive and redo some of the bad habits before we finally learn. Some never learn, some never think about what they have done, they are in a personal prison, which comes in a million forms. They might be in mental institutions avoiding the truth of their actions, or in real prisons paying for what the anger manifested into. For the rest of us we must work and exist and try to be normal, or at least what we are told (or believe to be) is normal. But online, you are generally anonymous, we can be true and find others around the world who also have been through the cavernous depths of thoughts that wend their way up a long ladder, some rungs breaking as we go, the light always somewhere way up there above us, the frightening dark below, the wet stone walls and algae touching our nose. But that is life as we go.
Our ancestors might have died about half way up this ladder. From disease or starvation or war. They cannot and do not have the time to process all these internal wars. But now for some of us, we have enough time to be so self-absorbed that this is a weakness, not a strength, that keeps us from climbing upwards, instead we keep sinking lower because that is safer, where no one can see us, where no one wants to go. At the top of the crevice is a place of great sun and warmth, where cats, birds, and mice play under blue skies and where we can be at rest. No more climbing.
But what if we get there. Then there is nothing else, nothing to do, we are left once again with the feeling that it was better and more interesting at the bottom of the cave, so we go back down that ladder, and periodically look up to see if the blue sky is there, but it has gone grey, and so we descend further and feel good, in a strange way, we are cocooned in the wet cold slimy walls that others do not like, but we serve. We have done wrongs to our loved ones, shut them out, or not been a good mother, girlfriend, or daughter, we cannot allow ourselves to be found out, we cannot let others see that we know we have failed, but we keep doing it anyway. But if we go back down, then there is an excuse, there is a place others won’t come looking for us.
But there are other creatures at the bottom. They have no eyes, they move about in the darkness with confidence because they never ascend to the top. These creatures are ones we can learn from too. They do not care about going up or coming down, they just exist where they were placed. Where they survive the best. So some people stay down, and never come back, others go up and down forever, some go to the top and never come back down. But me, I question and move sideways instead of up or down, I claw at the earth and create a tunnel that takes me laterally to the side of it all. There are alternatives, there are places were we can go to hide that no one can find us, but is it not better to try to explain and explore with others like these in the war or days when it was okay to be sad and being happy was not an option?