So a friend just posted a really touching poem about her most recent bout with depression. I have to admit I feel for her. Hell, I feel with her.
Depression sucks the life right out of you. It pulls you in slowly, like an alien muck. It’s not much at first, a little stickiness, just a little to make moving forward a little annoying. But as you go on, the muck increases, slowly creeping up, enclosing your feet and threatening your ankles. Still, you can move. Oh, it’s harder, slower, and with each step you are reminded that it’s there, trying suck you down, but, you are sure, with just a little more effort you can get through.
As the muck and mire, and how did you not notice the mire before, moves to your knees, the pull seems so great that you’re not sure how long you can keep going. You start to lighten the load you carry, discarding first those things you find just a bit irritating, placing them behind the trees in the forest that surrounds you (Wait! There’s a forest surrounding me? Man, I should have seen that.) so that you aren’t tempted to pick them back up. Secretly, you hope they will just go away.
The muck and mire continues to climb up your legs and now you notice the stink. It was probably there all along, you know, like the forest, but you somehow didn’t notice. Your load now is much lighter now that you’ve given up almost all you had and thrown out the pack that allowed you to carry those things you both wanted and enjoyed. You are desperately clinging to the few things that keep you moving, holding them close to your heart which continues to see even when your eyes are close.
You trudge on, with each step becoming more and more difficult, praying to a God you hope does exist, looking for the spot where it all recedes, as it always has before. You wonder what would happen if you drop that last precious load, stayed where you are, and let the world just swallow you up. You are scared of how reasonable that idea is beginning to sound.
Then, something changes, and looking behind you, you see that this too crept up on you. Slowly, this alien world lessens its grip. There are streaks of sunlight between the branches of the primordial growth around you. Those things you left behind along the way begin to reappear, although some have changed, and gathering them in no longer seems as much of a burden. Eventually, you realize that there is firm ground ahead, and you begin to breathe once more.
It seems to take forever, but eventually things begin to look familiar. The ground beneath your feet is strong enough to hold you up. The path ahead become clearer and the haze that had clouded your eyes for so long begins to lift. As you walk along, you attempt a smile and finds that this movement no longer hurts. The journey can continue.
You aren’t fooled, though. You know eventually you will find another murky spot. Because depression is tricky like that. It recedes and you walk freely and rejoice in the the feel of it, but it never truly goes away. You know, that one day, maybe soon, but, please God, maybe far in the future, you will once again find yourself sinking. And you pray that when that day comes, you have the strength to fight your way through.