“If many remedies are prescribed for an illness, you may be certain that the illness has no cure.” A. P. CHEKHOV, The Cherry Orchard
Thoughts on Depression:
It is from afar that I write this post on the “unforgiving malady” of depression. Nearly one year since my last encounter Jane Kenyon’s “unholy ghost,” I find it unnerving to even consider writing on the subject. To think of it requires revisiting hapless memories stored in locked rooms of my “Memory Castle.”
Sometimes listless and apathetic, one thing is for sure: it is downright, wholly consuming. A Darkness Visible types the keys and I dance, to the dissonant chords of another depression.
Jane Kenyon scribbles a poem as she ponders, Having It Out with Melancholy…
When I was born, you waited / behind a pile of linen in the nursery, / and when we were alone, you lay down / on top of me, pressing / the bile of desolation into every pore.
And from that day on / everything under the sun and moon / made me sad — even the yellow / wooden beads that slid and spun / along a spindle on my crib.
And toward the end of the poem Kenyon resolves, “Unholy ghost, you are certain to come again.”
So What Now?
Whew. I’m glad that’s done. Delving so deeply into the throes of a depression, even after the fact, somehow seems to once again activate the agonizing feelings of the malady.
Let’s be clear that I am not talking about “sadness.” I fear that sadness often gets confused with depression. Sadness is more episodic in that it is usually related to a particular episode or event, whereas depression frequently seems to have no causality. That unholy ghost seems to sneak in and one is almost suddenly possessed by darkness and melancholy—for no discernable reason.
Marie Osmond has described her experiences suffering from postpartum depression in her book Behind the Smile: “I’m collapsed in a pile of shoes on my closet floor. I have no memory of what it feels like to be happy. I sit with my knees pulled up to my chest. It’s not that I want to be still. I am numb.”
I write this post for the friend who is suffering from or has suffered from depression. Rare is the person that understands the impacts of depression who has not spent entire days under the covers or feels totally disassociated from life. Like addiction, depression is only fully understood by those who have been through it.
I write because “I get it.” Know this… it will pass.
Photo courtesy of Milkos at istockphoto