Today I feel small. My emotions are soft and quiet, and do not well up under much pressure. To feel what grayness there is to their colors I must be still and not push myself. If demands are made, my small space inside will collapse and I will be numb.
My sexuality is muted, though present. Strangely enough my intellect is still as excitable and voracious as usual.
Is this depression? Not to any extreme extent. It may be a certain gentle form of it, the lack of apparently strong feelings, the almost closing up of my responses, is close, but what I do feel still has range. Perhaps if I was subject to external forces that minimised my ability to taste these weakened, lukewarm feelings, the response of my brain would be to turn towards a darker place, to feel nothing but darkness where there was at least a swirl of tinted grays.
I am not afraid of depression, for so far in life I have been lucky with it. A few times a year a cloud will descend... my energies will drop, my motivation will be lacking, my intensity will ebb, and if I am lucky, it will be raining or at least overcast. Then I can wallow in the feeling - experience it for what it is, something to be lived with, not denied. I can afford to do this because, as I said, I am lucky. In three or at most four days, my inner powers will return, like a fully charged electrical line, like a fire hose with full pressure behind it once more.
The lucky part is twofold - one, that I am somehow predisposed to being generally happy, or some such state, and two, that I do enjoy the luxury of small periodic visits to the land of faded visions and a colorless future. My general happiness is not pollyannish or contrived, what I really mean is that my average mental outlook tends toward the energetic and positive, that I seem to be able to enjoy life without having to forever remind myself why. If I never experienced my gray days, I might never appreciate what it is like for those who suffer chronic bouts with depression, what it is like for them to have no drive, no zest for life, and to have that state last for much longer periods.
So I can actually revel in my depression, as contradictory as that may seem. I can let myself fall, knowing that the pit is not bottomless, that some natural force in me prevents me from crashing. I can allow the currents of my mind (that is not a metaphor, I mean it in electrical terms) to realign themselves, I can look at my life and my goals and my activities through these anti-rose colored glasses for a time, brief though it is, and broaden my outlook.
If for some reason (commitments, pressures, demands) I cannot allow myself this luxury, and have to self-start and generate my usual energy levels, I pay a price. It is small at first - the next time my little black puppy comes to visit, everything will be less clear, and less productive in the terms I just described. If time and time again I must ignore this little mental sojourn into the darker forest of my being, its returns become totally unclear to me and the general state of my mind will deteriorate somewhat. My stress levels will increase, my ability to concentrate will change.
I fear that many people experience a similar cycling, but are never free enough to "participate" in it, and their lives are less enjoyable as a result.
Prior and later works. There may be more to add to this list if I ever sort through my notes (my "blank thoughts"). 5/14/21 Depression in Isolation Reflections on a year of mental cycles 10/29/20 Solitary confinement ...which is also late Oct pandemic notes 10/5/20 Isolation and depression A rather raw piece about plague-driven depression 11/16/00 Periodic depression depression, my little black puppy... (You Are Here)
© Huw Powell