Depression is boring. Your darkness is invisible.

In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.
— Albert Camus

This quote made me wonder if Phoenix is, perhaps, an inhumane place to live. Too taxing on both physical and mental health. 

We don't have the opportunity to attune to the rhythms of seasons and nature because we don't have them. There's no seasons in the desert and there isn't much nature. 

What we have is one long summer and then an even longer "spring" - each flips you upside down. To withstand summer for this long (5+ months) is not what we're wired for. 

It's like a new mother who is lactating even though her baby has died. Her body only knows she has given birth, but it has not registered the death. 

And after the summer passes, we're given seven months of absolute bliss. Which kind of fucks you the other way - you get SO USED TO IT. You can't even remember a time when a beautiful, clear, sunny day meant it was 115 degrees and dangerous. 

The rhythm of three month seasons seems much more natural. You're always in appreciation of your current season and as soon as you get used to it or get tired of it, the seasons change and a sense of newness is ushered in. 

Or maybe I'm just romanticizing seasons since I live in the desert. 

Depression is boring, I think and I would do better to make some soup and light up the cave.
— Anne Sexton

Depression IS boring. I feel so fucking boring right now. I find people talking over me and not maintaining eye contact with me. They're no longer as interested in what I have to say. It's too intense, too dark. 

I find myself even considering censoring at times, which - if you know me even a little bit - you'd know how alarming that statement is. I don't censor. I give no fucks and live unapologetically. Since I don't actually censor myself - I just think about doing it - what I do is then feel guilty or self conscious about not censoring myself (another thing I normally just don't do). 

But the other day I saw my chiropractor after she'd been out for three weeks. I have been seeing her every week for about four months now. God bless her for bartering for my fucking chocolate peanut butter cups. In those three weeks she was out she had missed an epic fucking shit storm of events. I mean, seriously epic. Emotional upsets, shitty health findings, the works. So I frantically started speed-talking to her the moment I sat down. 

She did not break eye contact, she did not become upset or emotional. She calmly listened without rushing me and exhibited just the right amount of sympathy and concern for me to feel completely and utterly validated, which is medicine in and of itself. 

After my appointment I reflected on the voice in the back of my head as I was speed talking to her. The voice that said I need to quiet down, or stop being so dramatic or stop freaking her out. But then I realized, duh - she is a grown ass woman. And as an emotionally mature, healthy woman - she can handle it. I am not responsible for her reaction or for her emotional well being. I am just being me, showing up as I am. 

I wondered how many people keep quiet for reasons they assume. I'm going to overwhelm her. She's not going to want to see me again. I probably won't hear from her again. She's going to think I'm a drama queen. The shit that gets into our heads, the shit that we make up is really just us getting in our own way. 

But the majority of people do not react like my chiropractor. The majority of them can hardly find a reason to get away from you fast enough. And this is a big fat contradiction. We're encouraged to share, we're called "brave" if we share our feelings bluntly. Yet among all this encouragement is no actual space to share. When we do share, we're met with darting eyes and half-assed inspirational reminders. 

And that is why most people don't share. That's why you're average person just says they're fine, keeps their head down and doesn't have any real interactions with anyone. That's why most people are downright afraid to share for fear of the backlash.

Today my yoga teacher asked how I was doing, a question I've come to dread. I can't lie. I don't do the fake smile oh I'm fine bullshit. So I say, "I'm here. I'm surviving". Then she asks what I'm surviving and I said, "Life. I've just been in survival mode all year. With finances, with health, with business stuff, with most things." And I could see her eyes glaze over even at that tiny sentence. Even as a yoga teacher. But I guess that's just it. She's a human first. And most humans can't take it. Most humans are used to their daily lives being made up of on-the-surface interactions that don't mean much of anything. They keep up the front until they can get back into the cave of their house and continue keeping it all to themselves as they were taught. 

Happiness and success are the only things that are acceptable to be vocal about. There are a few choice instances where being sad is validated. Generally you can get away with being sad or angry or any other unsavory emotion after a divorce or a death. 

But otherwise, nobody wants to know. We're cool with strait forward grief that we know how to respond to and don't need too many details about - the kind of grief that Hallmark makes a card for. But anything else ain't nobody got time for. Shit's mucky and grey and there's lots of little things turning into big things and you have needs and many series of small tragedies? There isn't anything more repellent than that because nobody knows what to do with that. 

Case in point: that same yoga teacher who couldn't even with me was able to adequately respond to another student who was sad. "Why are you sad?", the teacher asked. "Because an old friend of mine died last week.", the student said. To which the yoga teacher had a Hallmark card response that she felt confident delivering. She knew what to do with death, it didn't take much thought. 

It is such a privilege to truly know someone yet we don't ever really know most people. Either because they don't share their darkness or we don't want to see it. So we end up getting this really trivial, sterile impression and connection to everyone. 

Depression is interesting. 

It's something that's been on my mind my whole life because my maternal grand mother suffered from depression and was medicated her whole life before committing suicide in her 50s. My mother also suffered severely from depression. She was bipolar and was also an addict - sex, love, and alcohol. 

I've always wondered if it would happen to me, since it was genetic and merely needed to be turned on or triggered by something. 

At this point, I think I'm good. But I still find myself saying - I guess I'm probably not mentally ill. I think I handled that well and it probably would've shown up by now. 

I was sharing with a friend the other day about how deeply sad I feel most of the time and she said, "It's circumstantial, right?" Meaning she just wanted to make sure I wasn't "actually depressed" and then I was just circumstantially depressed for a good reason. 

Yes, it's circumstantial. That doesn't make it any less valid. But most people in my life are waiting for the storm to pass. Waiting for me to get back to normal. Making remarks like, "Oh - you're STILL there? I thought it would've passed by now."

I know they mean well, but it's really fucking lame that not many people want to stand beside you in your storm. 

From the outside, it doesn't appear I'd have anything to be depressed about. People have an image of me from my online presence and forget to acknowledge me as a real person having a fluid human experience. 

They're just waiting for me to get back to being inspirational again. Which is to say - to give them something they can envy. Because I feel inspirational now in sharing all of the different emotions - they're all valid and it's not just the pleasant ones that deserve all the play. 

I'll think to myself, I must not be actually depressed since I bought myself new shampoo and am actually using it and bathing. I must not be really if I am able to go to yoga, as much of a chore as it is to drag myself there. An actual depressed person wouldn't even be able to stand up. But what are these judgements? Life isn't a contest. No one is winning and just because there are people that have it worse doesn't mean that your experience isn't also valid. 

There's a scene in Broad City where Ilana can't find her keys and realizes they're locked out of their apartment. She says to Abbi, "Okay, I know this is a total white people problem, so let's see if you can keep it in perspective - I lost my key and we need to shell out for a locksmith."

And Abbi says, "Okay - first of all - I'm allowed to be upset even though I'm white."


Your Darkness is Invisible | Cock & Crow Blog | #depression #blog #writing #yoga