This title is from is a discussion I was having with one of my best friends a couple of days ago. It’s something we talk about a lot because we both deal with it so much, not only in our professional lives, but in ourselves. It’s depression.
Everyone gets depressed now and then. Everyone. But most people feel low for a day or three and then perk up again. For those of us who struggle with chronic depression even the hint of that low feeling can stress us out further because we know that it might very well last more than three days and it might turn into something more than feeling low. At its worst it means pain, actual physical pain, so bad that we can’t focus on anything else accompanied by the knowledge that the only way out, the only way for it to end is death.
I say knowledge because when we are there, it feels like the absolute truth – as true as anything in life you can trust. It’s not true, but it feels true. My friend and I call this the SVD – the spiraling vortex of death. We came up with that because it feels like falling over the edge of a vortex and once you are caught in a vortex you get sucked deeper and deeper into the center and there is no way out except eventual death. So when we feel ourselves teetering on the edge, we will try almost anything to keep from falling in. The real truth is that the center of the vortex is not really death. It is hell. And Folks, it makes death look pretty good.
It’s hard to describe how much fear and dread even the possibility of an SVD can generate. So we monitor ourselves. Almost constantly. When we feel that molasses seeping into our brains and hearts we start trying every possible antidote. We make sure we are eating properly – lots of fruits and vegetables and water. We try to schedule extra time for sleep. We meditate. We do yoga. We step up whatever exercise program we’re on or can fit in. We talk to friends who get it and not all our friends do get it, even though they may love us with all their hearts they don’t get it.
Sometimes we are able to arrest the molasses before it gets near the SVD. Those are the good times. Sometimes in spite of our best efforts we find ourselves moving closer and closer to the edge. It’s a chemical thing. We only have so much control over it.
When we are in the SVD we usually will not seek out our friends. The SVD is a solitary thing. We don’t want anyone there with us. We can’t imagine that anyone would come with us and rejection is the last thing we can take at that point. And when we finally do come out the other end it takes a day or two to start feeling human again.
There’s more but that’s enough for one post. And no, I’m not in the SVD right now. I wouldn’t be able to write this if I were. In fact, I haven’t been to the SVD in quite a while and that’s scary too because it’s sure to appear again….eventually…