I wish I understood it better, knew why the cycles happen. Over the years depression has been the thing constantly by my side, like a shadow. Attached. I take it off the leash but it comes back 'to heel' without me calling for it.
Kay Redfield Jameson's books like 'Unquiet Mind', 'Touched by Fire' and 'Exuberance' help me know I'm not alone, which is always a comfort. And helps me know that the flying is part of the flopping. I like the highs and most the time the lows don't scare me.
Sometimes I look back at the valley times. Some were dark fetal position times. Some were just lethargic. Some caused collateral damage.
Some were so close to complete despair that the only thing that kept me from making a terrible choice was the fact that it would have been the most self centered decision a person could ever make; one that would forever translate as complete rejection by the people who love me most - my children and husband. They would have to know forever that I didn't love them enough to stay. I'm selfish, but not that much.
At times the darkness would be preceded and followed by incredible spurts of creative activity.
When I was younger it was the symptom from feeling powerless, trapped, angry, hopeless or even brought on by circumstances. I was incapable of knowing how to process or deal with life issues.
People don't often talk openly about such things. It is scary and vulnerable.
Gnarls Barkley understands! Sometimes I let 'Crazy' blare in the speakers and scream it with him. Most of the time, by the end of the song I'm laughing, at us.
I think of depression more like the hormonal cycles of a woman. PMS and menstruating have a bad rap these days, but in ancient times it seems like it was more honored. Cared for. Respected. Acknowledged. Looked upon as an insulated, protected time for keen and astute ponderings.
The darkness of depression now is more like the darkness of an incubator or cocoon. A waiting place growing something. Something wanting and preparing to hatch. Something inside me that wants birthed.
An old friend, Bill Kaloger told me not to mess with or rewrite the rules when traveling the dark valley.
Today, instead of putting a blanket over my head and giving into the familiar sucking, swirling eddy of darkness, I put on a coat and gloves. Maggie and I took the pickup over to a neighbor who had an evergreen tree cut down. I brought back enough evergreen boughs to decorate the 3 front windows, the front door, bench, and porch railings with swags and garlands. Big, oversized red bows and huge sugar pine cones finish each one off.
It's a bit early for Christmas decor, since we haven't celebrated Thanksgiving yet, but it brought my heart sunshine and filled me up with light. More than that, it kept me from the dark, for today. The porch looks like its smiling too!