Easter Saturday is a day of sadness. It’s a day that focuses what I feel most days and distills it into that between day, that experience of the first Easter. That loss, desolation, desperation, fear, paranoia and despair. Because that first Easter they didn’t know that Resurrection Day was coming, they didn’t even really have a hope that anything might be coming – it was just raw, desperate loss. ( For an amazing post on that original Saturday and what it means for us, check out this from Red Setter Christian who puts it way better than I ever could).
For some folk, days like this come along once in a while, they journey through situations that drag them into a Easter Saturday situation. And it’s a season of their life. And they need help and friends and sometimes counselors and sometimes doctors. But for some, those like me, this is an every day, every hour, every minute thing. It’s a blanket that smothers, a weight on the chest, a hound at the heel, a stain that hides the beauty of those who love you. But you know what the real problem with depression is? It’s that it can be a comfort. It’s a known quantity, a steady companion, a constant reminder that you are different. It’s that when you experience good days, happiness, joy and love, those things are so alien, so outside, so other, that it scares you and you run back to that prison, that sinking sand, that lonely cave.
It’s that it’s so much about self that you barely see the pain of others – and when you do, your capacity to feel others’ pain overwhelms you and brings a darkness you didn’t think was possible. It’s so much about self that every word or action, or even inaction of others is about you, it’s about ignoring you, mocking you, spurning you. For you are the ignored, the uninvited, the left out, the “not even thought about”. And isn’t that just the worst thing, for those you love to be so indifferent, so NOT love, that your name, your presence, your essence doesn’t even cross their minds.
And it’s that you know, you absolutely know that this thinking is flawed and faulty and you should just get over yourself. But say to an Asthma patient that they should just breathe properly, nudge a diabetic and tell them they just need to get over that whole sugar thing. No, they can’t. And they’re never getting better. Never. And that’s what the problem with depression is. I don’t know why I feel sad, I don’t know why I feel happy. I just feel. And it will never stop. And I will never get better. And here’s the rub, feelings are important and essential, so getting rid of them isn’t an option (well not for me – though many of the pharmacological “solutions” involve stopping you feeling altogether. No thanks I’d rather feel this weight on my chest and the paranoia in my head and the darkness on my soul than feel nothing).
Or… Is the problem with depression that there is a way out, but we’re so invested, so comforted by its defining of us, so imprisoned that we neither see it nor want it. For what are we without it?
What are we without it? What am I without it? I’m a writer. This is why I write; so that the everyday experiences can remind me that it’s not about me; so that I can remember the days when I stumble out of the cave and see the sun; so that I can see and hear the pain of others and bloody well do something about it – and not be hurt when offers of help are turned away. Because it’s not about me. Writing that down helps. Saying it out loud helps. Remembering the good days – because there are good days, actually more than bad days – helps know that even in the deepest pit there has been a way out, because there always has been before.
What are we without it? What am I without it? I’m a friend; a Lover; a bard; a know it all; a problem solver; a joker; a leader; a comfortadore; an empath; a scapegoat; a drowned and broken girl who has been saved; a helper; a sacrificer. And I know this above all. That weeping may come in the night; but Joy comes in the morning. And the problem isn’t depression, it’s letting it define me, it’s being afraid to let it go, it’s ignoring my own experience.
And the story… the story tells me that Sunday did come, that there is hope, that Resurrection day is just around the corner and if I hold on, even by just the skin of my teeth, then joy will come in the morning.