I call it depression, for lack of a better term, when trying to describe it to doctors or anyone else on a short list of those who care either by choice or payment.
But depression has always seemed too simplistic, too generic, of a term to me to fully capture the insidious miasma of melancholy that frequently pervades me.
For one thing, I usually associate depression with sadness. And I guess sadness is often somewhere in there, too; but that is when there is a there for it to be. For me, when the darkness is at its worst, I feel gutted out, like there is so little there, a mild wind could scatter the remnants like so much ashes to ashes.
This is when I don’t care whether or not I live.
Also depression seems restricted to mental, but the feeling consumes the whole of my body. Its skin starts seeming claustrophobic tight and it suffocates me. The atmosphere becomes sulfuric and smothering, like I’m an astronaut on some strange planet without my helmet.
This is when I care not to live; not to die, mind you, as there is a difference here. But rather to somehow someway free myself of a mortal coil that chokes.
I usually can battle it by writing. Putting one word in front of the other helps, like putting a chink in a wall of a pit into which you might be able to set your foot or your hand for pulling yourself up towards the remaining light. I don’t get writer’s block, so if I choose to write I can.
But sometimes the feeling is so intense, so filled with meaninglessness, I can make no such choice. Such has been the case this past month with trying to work on TFK.
It sometimes presents itself in a façade of rationale: You’re too tired, you’re too busy, you’ve got too much on your mind.
All true things.
Other times it is more direct: Your writing is too crappy, too explicit, too amateurish, too fucking devoid of value (just like your pathetic life in general, it might add as a bonus taunt).
Which may or may not be true.
But that never is the point, is it? The point is…
Well, that’s the buck fifty question, ain’t it? If I knew the point I’d join Tony Robinson on the Self-help circuit. Instead, I know that buried deep inside a partial point for me is to keep on writing no matter what external or internal circumstances might bring.
So today I stuck my hand into my chest and pulled TFK back out. I shook off accumulated blood sweat and tears and put another 1,000 words towards completion of whatever it is wanting to be. And those words were probably too explicit to amateurish, and too fucking devoid of value.
But you know what? During the writing, I was able to keep the dark at bay. And the written words are still there.
And I am still here.