A corner turned

The journey home from the depression outposts in the brain is long and tedious, frustrating and sometimes boring. It’s hard to write about because you realize that it’s such an internal process and really can’t be that interesting to other people. It’s repetitive and introspective and most certainly centered on yourself. Also, it’s damned hard to find the will or the energy to put together more than a few sentences and when you do manage to get something down, you’re filled with doubt about its worth. So you delete it.
Winter is here. Fuck winter and the grey days and early sunsets. I used to relate to the myth of Persephone and her yearly underworld journey. That pervasive feeling of being lost and trapped and hopeless. I’ve recently re-read the story and had a real shift of perspective. It’s not Persephone who suffers loss and hopelessness but her mother, Demeter. Mostly, this is neither here nor there, just rambling observations and a new perspective on a story that I read often.
But! There was a corner turned (as the title of this post would lead you to believe). There have been many little successes in therapy over the past year, different ways in which I could see my progress, but recently I had a moment of revelation and a feeling that there is more than hope at the core of this journey.
What is this corner I turned? How have things changed?
First, the set up: Let’s say I’m watching a movie where a main character is struggling to survive, maybe she’s being chased by an chainsaw wielding lunatic. She’s running and screaming and there’s goodly tension and the audience is scared for her. For years, while most of my brain would be pulling for her to survive, there was a part of my brain that wasn’t. Part of my brain was quietly saying, “just stop. Stop running, stop screaming, just stop, turn around and give yourself to the monster (or let go of the ledge and fall or stop repairing your space ship and go to sleep). Death was scary, but it was also a major relief. I would look at these characters and think, “death sucks, but man, at least this shit will be over and you can rest.”
Just let go. Let go and free yourself from this misery. Release is yours if you want it. Of course, it’s wasn’t just movies and books but also in my day to day life. Logically, I knew I did not want to get into a car accident or get hit by a bus or slip in the shower…but part of me always sort of hoped it would happen. Quick and passive and then it would be over. Then I could find relief.
Then, something peculiar happened. David and I were watching a movie, can’t remember what it was. At some point there was some sort of tense movie shootout something or other and a lot of tension regarding the survival of one of the characters. I’m watching this and that part of my brain that so reliably says, “death isn’t such a terrible things…” isn’t there. It’s gone. It’s been replaced by a much louder and more insistent, “HOLY SHIT! Run! You’re….I’m not ready to die!”
I’m not ready to die.
I do not know how it happened or when it happened but my mind turned a corner. I do not want to die, not even accidentally. I do want relief, but now, for the first time in years, I can see and believe that relief is possible in this life. I can be alive and be relieved of this burden in my head and my heart. For the first time in years I believe that today might suck, and tomorrow might suck, but the day after that might not and it actually is worth it to stick around and find out.
Was it the therapy? The meds? The cyclical nature of depression? I honestly don’t know, but I suspect it is a combination of all three working together. I don’t think it could have happened with one of those elements missing, it had to be a combination of those and probably other factors that I don’t even know about. But there it is, some hope.
Winter is hard. It’s a grueling grind for me every year. This year I can definitely see the effects of the season on me in my lack of motivation and my urge to sleep all day. I can see these effects but I can also see that they have limits and boundaries, they are not all powerful and they are a burden but they won’t sink me this year. They can be managed and overcome. I can survive this and this time, I actually do want to survive it.

6 thoughts on “A corner turned

  1. LOVE. I get so much of what you’re talking about–I’ve gone through a lot of the same things with depression, anxiety, etc. Keep moving forward; this turn is a really good thing and leads to more good things. Really truly.

  2. I’m still in the “it would be a relief” mode. Thanks for some hope that the corner is out there.

  3. I’m so happy for you! I’m also going to show your blog to a friend of mine who currently feels oblivion would be preferable to waking life; I think this will help give him some hope, as it did for knittingfool above.

  4. You write so eloquently one almost forgets the gravity of your struggling. When I focus on the core of what you are saying, I am in awe. Thank you for sending a glimmering of hope, a shot of courage and strong belief of change. I will keep your beautifully written “A corner turned” and the glimpse into your struggles in my mind for myself as a professional and as a person.

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