It moved in with the fog, this dark shadow of mine. Rolling in from somewhere cold and fetid, almost frightening in its stealth and direction. For some time I’ve been doing rather well, surfing a wave of lightness and clarity as energetic as the sun. Luminous. So to wake with the weight of it all upon my back, kicking and squealing fit to burst a saints sanity and patience … wasn’t what I saw coming.
It seldom is. At times I can feel the sinister lick of depression hissing at my heels, jumping and snapping at my every move, freezing me into immobility with the threat of a lightning fast strike… and I wait it out. Watch it. See where it’s going so I can move away from it. Other times it arrives with absolutely no warning. Not so much as a hitch or bump to alert me of its arrival. Deadly in its silence.
I’ll level with you, sometimes I get incredibly tired of writing about this stuff. Talking about medications and the wearying paths my brain is taking…. but someone has to. Sometimes the only thread that keeps us tethered to this reality, to our life, is the knowledge that we aren’t alone in our nightmare. So I’ll take up the laptop and hammer it out as it comes to me. Trying to reach out. Stabilize…. because often in the writing about it I can conquer it, and if it helps someone else at some point, then that’s a bonus.
The medication I’m taking, Nortriptyline, has proven to work incredibly well .. which was a surprise to me, as so much of what’s out there doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what it is that preys on people like me. But with every golden ticket comes a price, and the price for this one is steep. The lows aren’t simply a mellowing of joy, but more of a sudden drop from a thousand foot cliff, and on the way down – on that rise from slumber into consciousness, the echoing cries of the past come back to life in frightening reality. Things I thought long-buried and gone… some entirely forgotten, and for good reason. They flash like quicksilver before me, depositing their vile memories and emotions in that brief second of recognition before being filed behind the next rush of fresh torment.
A mind has little recourse but to retreat, behind walls of safety pitted and scarred from previous battles …. and sometimes those walls fail. Crumble into sooty piles at our feet that leave us exposed and trembling.
Today my wall of self-worth has fallen. The lingering pulse of images, past abuses bruising and breaking me at their will. The impact of hitting; walls, furniture, the floor … anything solid. That snap of fear racing white-hot through your body that leaves a chalky cloud of instinctive knowledge that something important has been broken …. and it isn’t always your body. A few moments of numbness before the pain creeps in… so you let go. Follow the mind into its foxhole and wait. The pounding may continue, but at some point it doesn’t matter… what was important has been lost to chaos.
That is where I awoke today. Revisiting the lower bowels of hell, alone, and aimlessly wandering. The intensity of this revisit can only be attributed to the new medication, as life has been going rather smoothly .. even with the state of some relationships. The lows I’m experiencing are new to me… because I’ve been in the bowels of hell before, but never has it been so in the moment. Time usually adds a layer of protection. A lack of detail. But it’s all there, right in front of me, leaving the skin as hot and tingly as it was when it happened…. the fear as real and fresh … the retreat as swift and acidic around my skull, spiking down my spine before falling flat into my stomach, and leaving me shaky. As tired as the weight of battle is heavy.
But I’m not broken, and I can figure this out. Experience has taught me I’ll get through this; everything is temporary. These shades of depression and self harm can be circumvented. Waited out. And, unlike when it creeps in slowly .. so slowly I don’t notice I’m infected until it’s too late, the swiftness and violence of this new route and way the depression strikes puts me on the defensive. The fight response is triggered, and I’ll duke it out.
I need space. Time. Peace. … which sometimes is hard to come by around here. I’ll retreat and use silence as my means of recuperation, and that usually upsets people … even when they know why I’m doing it. And the timing …. it’s almost comical…. the husband gets home today, as opposed to the usual Saturday evening – leave Sunday morning thing he does. I sometimes feel like life is laying down events just to stir me up some days…. Normally when I need him, his help and support, he’s nowhere to be found. However, at these weird times when the best thing for me is isolation and peace. Silence. … He’s here, wanting to follow me from room to room, insisting I engage even when he comes home in a bad mood. … Why, I wonder, can’t he ever just bring home chocolate instead? It doesn’t even have to be expensive.
Time to run off on the bike then. I need to be well-worn out by the time the house is full of people tonight. Need the ability to retire early into the unconscious embrace of sleep. And thankfully this medication responds extremely well to the effects of exercise. Not many do, but this one … it knows how to grab those endorphins and boost them. It’s been a good thing.
So today, make a point of being nice to someone, even if they come at you ornery or sad or outright stupid. You never know how much kindness can change someone’s day, and someday, it may be returned when you really, desperately need it.
In defense of the husband, he’s not a horrible person. He’s a person who is struggling to work through a few things, and some people deal with trials horribly… he is one of them. This isn’t right or wrong, it just is what it is. That’s all.
I’ve returned from the ride. It was a real challenge to keep going, to push myself to the end, but I did it, and as a result my mind has improved quite a bit. I’ve still got a ways to go but I’m no longer bottoming out – that is always a plus! Glad I went.