Quinn Norton is one of my most favorite prose hackers, and she’s described depression from her perspective.
This disease wraps me in gauze. It’s like a layer between me and reality, that makes everything fuzzy and distant. Sometimes I’m sad, but often I just feel like I’m on the verge of throwing up all the time. Sometimes I feel like I’m not real, or dead already.
Quinn, from the bottom of my own broad two-year low, I very much hope you will feel better soon.
I try to remember how much I hate it when depressed people tell me they’re burdens. Of course they are, and they aren’t. It’s not so simple as my broken brain is trying to make it right now. All sick people are burdens, but we’re humans, and carrying each other is where we find the best of ourselves. I know it’s the shame talking, and there’s truth in the shame. I also know that losing my burdens is literally the worst thing I can imagine. So perhaps I will tell people: you are a burden, but a burden I want to carry.And then I will try to remember that for myself now.
I have what alcoholics call “the gift of desperation.” Say what you will, it keeps saving my life.
All that helps this time is admitting that I’m depressed, and waiting.
I forget what I’m doing a lot in the middle of doing it. I mean, there’s a bit of that for everyone, but this is different. Sometimes when I’m just sitting I feel like I’m falling — not emotionally. I am just sitting, but I’ll get dizzy and feel like I’m falling. I forgot to eat dinner today.
I think about the S word, but not in a dangerous way. I was often suicidal when I was younger, but now I know this cycles, and I have learned to bide my time. I have learned to manage this body and brain — as imperfect as they are — I know them and they are mine. Often when a younger person talks about the chronic urge to suicide, I tell them to wait. I tell them that it gets easier, and that they must learn their body and mind. You can always kill yourself later, I tell people. But with a little luck and a little learning, chances are quite good you won’t want to. Hang on, one minute at a time. Just put it off and treat the pain you have now.
So spot on it hurts.
Here’s another, about talking yourself down.