I told Scott yesterday that I think I’m depressed. That it feels like a wave has crashed over me and I’m barely able to hold on – only having the rare moment when I’m graced with the ability to break free and take in a deep gasping breath of air before I am pulled back under. I told him that I am barely able to hold on during the day – that it is only out of sheer will that I am not breaking down and into tears at any given moment.
How long? He asked. How long have you been feeling like this? It seems like you’ve only been like this since the weekend.
I thought about it.
Since Saturday. Saturday morning. When I started writing about everything in present tense. When I started going back there. It feels like it’s happening all over again.
This exercise in telling my story in present tense – like I’m back there, like I’m sitting in that room on that apple green carpet again is shaking me to my core. And maybe I need to be shaken, maybe that’s the way that I will able to rid myself of these nightmares – by talking about them, telling those stories. Making them real again by putting myself there again. In that house. In that room.
How is it so easy to be seemingly detached while talking about this in past tense and then I fall apart when I take “was” and turn it into “am”?
It is seeping into my brain – I can’t concentrate, I’m distracted, I think I’m depressed, I think I’m too weak to do this.
I told Scott that I thought I was depressed yesterday afternoon, that I thought it had come over me like a tsunami – a way that I knew in the back of my mind would be an extremely rare way for Clinical Depression to present itself.
And then I read this incredibly timely passage last night in Dani Shapiro’s memoir Devotion…
“The key word was doing. Not thinking, or wishing, or contemplating. Not staring into space. Not succumbing to dismay. Recently I went to see a friend, a psychopharmacologist, because I had begun to wonder if thinking about all this stuff all the time was making me unwell. ‘You’re not having a chemical crisis, Dani,’ he told me. ‘You’re having an existential crisis.’ It wasn’t getting easier because it isn’t supposed to get easier.”
I was rocked by that quote. I read it at the exact moment I needed to. Like it was placed there for me. Like someone turned the page to the passage I needed to read, to absorb, in order to permit myself to feel awash with these emotions I’ve been feeling.
I am not depressed. I am feeling. I am remembering. I am reliving.
I am moving closer in order to walk away.
And that is difficult, and hard.
I am not unwell, I am getting better.