A Meandering Mash Of Madness.
**D**epression, ah, my dastardly nightmare. The distressing, dogmatic dumping of despair and anguish in my life. It is not just ”being sad”, and we can’t pull ourselves together and get on with it. We can be fine and dandy one moment, and then, bam, like the Tango man, it jumps out and hits us. We never see it coming; it sneaks like a shadow in the darkness. Hiding behind those trees on that long, winding snake-like road, it just waits for us to drop our guard before pouncing. We can walk the same narrow, poorly lit road countless times and be safe, but when the black dog strikes, we know it. Its claws grab hold, and we scream inside. The gushing of emotions flood from the bursting of the dam and howl for freedom, but no one seems to hear; we are alone in your devastation and despair.
**E**mpathy, I have it in spades. I scream, but I care. I suffer, but I antagonise over the destruction of others. Do the two combine and become one? Can you care too much? I don’t think so. I can be equal parts arsehole and saint; Sainted Arsehole; sometimes I go too far. I push, and I suffer in my anguish alone. I’d instead help A. N. Other, over helping myself. I try and act *normal* and tell others to reach out. It feels good to help others, deserving or not. I can relate; I can empathise.
**P**ersonas, we all have them, don’t we? Those masks we wear to hide our true selves. You and I hide behind a falsehood as much as anyone. Our masks smile and reply with, “I’m fine”, or “yeah, I’m okay”, even when we are not. They smile, whilst underneath there is a frown of disappointment. Rip the mask free; it is easier said than done, I concede, but let’s free ourselves! Take yourself, warts and all, and show them to the world. If the world does not like it, then fuck it! We must free ourselves from the mask and open up; if we stay hidden, how will anyone ever know who we really are?
**R**egrets, we all have them. Think of them as experiences and not as regrets. They can tie you down and hold you under like weights on a crabbing cage. Those regrets, those experiences, make us who we are, and we are fucking fantastic. Take them, bundle them up in a package, and the next time it comes up, we can shout, “well, look at all the shit we’ve done, and we are still rocking and rolling!” We have a life! We have lived a life, and we have much yet to live! Yes, things will go wrong, and yes, things will look bleak at times, but it will get better!
**E**motions, the endless betrayal of our emotions. Those bottled-up fuckers can bring us both happiness and sadness. We must remember the good, remember the happy times. We feed the emotions, and then they toy with us. It is hard to feed them individually; when we are happy, sadness is also nourishing upon those feelings. The bad is vampiric and suckles and drains the life from the emotions we like, but they can also help us remember. A bad emotion reminds us of that experience, it hurts, but it can also be a warning when we are treading that same path in the darkness. It can guide us through the worst of times.
**S**adness, the seeping slither of what once was, or could be, of a life we would like. We all feel the dripping of gloom that tumbles around our brains, often at the worst possible moment. Sometimes when things are ticking along quite nicely, the day is great, the sun has its hat and is watching us, then sadness seeps and jumps out from behind a potted plant. Boo, it squeals as we leap in surprise, and the moment that was so good is now clouded and showered with gloom.
**S**uicide. No, just no.
**I**rony. Not the bastardisation of the word sarcastic. When had ironic meant sarcastic anyway? Language evolves, but it can also be wrong. The irony is that I have very little to be depressed about! Sadness should not be a part of my existence, and anxiety should generally avoid me like the plague. This is why it is an illness. This is why it is not just about pulling yourself together. I am happy and content, yet I am a depressive. I could have everything I have ever desired, and still, I would be a depressive.
**O**uroboros, my mind and life are this. Endlessly repeating, thankfully not eating itself. Well, not yet. It repeats in an endless loop; when I think I have found an exit, I open the door only to find I am standing in the same spot. Endless banging and smashing of my head against a wall of nothingness. Walking forwards and feeling that I am getting somewhere, only to blink and I have moved not an inch. The endless torment of thinking you have travelled, that you have made progress, only to discover that your surroundings are just as they always were.
**N**ever alone. Yes, social media is filled with twats, present company included. But it is also filled with some wonderful people. Build yourself an echo chamber if that is what you need. Don’t listen to those who bemoan it; use it like your experiences to be positive. Listen and talk; you are not alone; there are more worldwide who suffer just the same. You have the world’s largest meeting at your fingertips, so use it! You will find those who have it worse, and those who do not; you will discover some who you may look down upon and others who you admire. But, you will find that you don’t have to suffer in solitude, and that, my friends, is so very important.
I grateful for every day my depression stays away, every day I can appreciate how good my life is. The days when I’m not feeling well, when the frustrations of my disability lead me to feel useless, when the Black Dog is scratching at the door of my mind… they are hard. Terrifying. Claustrophobic. Drowning. Each time I do whatever it is I do that sends the slobbering canine bastard off (and I don’t know what it is – a cause of perpetual anxiety, because *what if I don’t do it next time?*) is a cause for minor celebration. Patch up the damaged door, sand out the gouges on the door, repaint it green. (Why green? I don’t know – it just is.) Carry on, endlessly looking around for signs, pawprints in the ground, a howl somewhere in the distance – is it the coal-dark mastiff, or something else more pleasant?
The decades of being a depressive leave their mark, even after more than ten years without serious symptoms. I hope that you, Satan’s voice on Earth, find whatever magic I have to keep that unwanted hound from gaining access to your mind.