The Turn Of The Screw. I have always thought that this was a stunningly simple yet utterly fantastic title. It tells you everything before you have even turned the opening page. You are in for one hell of a ride, and hold on tight because it will get worse. This has been my mental health for the past week. It has been the screw slowly tightening and deep threading itself into my mind.
Like a tick burrowing away at my mind, something had been driving me crazy and tightening the knots on that screw. Like a shadow sneaking up upon me in a darkened room, it was with me. It threatened to engulf me before I had even been made aware of its existence. After all, the long lingering shadow of depression has hovered over me for many years now. This is the monotony and mundane existence that I can lead when at a low ebb. You get so used to living with it that in the end, you just nod, say, “I am fine”, and then carry on as usual. Sounds exciting? Why do you think I embraced and welcomed Satan with open arms?
This time, however, was different. This was a terrible one. It had started at the beginning of the week, and corkscrewed its way deep into my thoughts and refused to let go. Holding on like a limpet gorilla glued to a rock, and just to make doubly sure, then wrapped with duct tape. Like a stubborn stain, I just could not wipe this one from the sideboard of my mind. I am used to living with depression. It is the curse that lives with me. When it is this severe, it becomes a curse that consumes and smothers all that I am.
This all sounds very sad, and it is, but when you live with depression, it becomes a part of you. It is a mental limp that you get used to dealing with daily. You become able to deal with things in your own way. They may seem strange and bewildering to others, but if they work for you, then fuck what others think! It is a good lesson, granted a tough one, to learn. Do what works for you and bollocks to what others may think.
With no idea in mind, I set my task to mentally drilling for the problem. I hoped to strike oil, a great black slurry of oil that could explain this creeping depression. What was it about this week that was grating away at the little grey cells that make up my brain? I had no idea, and because I had no idea, that made it worse. Dominos in mental sand were falling, the wind was blowing, and I could see nothing. I could see about as well as I would have been able to if I were standing in the middle of a dark field on the darkest night of the year, wearing sunglasses and with my eyes closed. I was utterly unable to see what was right in front of me.
It should, at this point, be noted that my solution to this problem is not for everyone. It is not a good answer to the problem. It is not a sensible resolution to the issue. It is, though, something that works for me. I would never recommend it; we all have to discover our own ladders to crawl from the holes of despair. As much as advice and ideas are very welcome, I do think we have to find our own way in the darkness.
So I got completely and utterly fucking bladdered. Vodka, check. Gin, check. Flavoured vodka, check heck hicketyup check. I should never be listened to when it comes to advise and dealing mechanisms. I am a terrible influence on myself, let alone others. So I drank, I ate, drank, watched TV with Lilith and (amazingly) did not get a hangover. What I did get was clarity. Gifted to me in the drunken haze that was my weekend, it suddenly hit me. It hit me hard like a road sign that has decided to assault you when you are walking back after a late-night bender.
My brain, I think, was trying to protect me. I think my subconscious was trying to wrap its arms around me and tell me that everything was okay. Don’t you worry, you great lumbering crazy fucking idiot, we’ve got you covered. If you asked me at any other week in the year, I would have said, “Oh, that is the second week in August”, without batting an eyelid. Yet, now my mind was completely blank.
It was four years since I had last seen my children.