Depression is crippling. Nobody gets that. I have been diagnosed with depression for over ten years, and sometimes I forget that. Right now, I get it. Depression is not just being sad. It’s not even just being really sad for a really long time without a real reason. Depression eats your soul.
Depression is paralyzing. In addition to eating your soul, it destroys your future. Or at least, it destroys your ability to perceive a future that is worth pursuing. For yourself. You see, I’m not so worried about the world. I think in the long run, the world will be ok. Christ will come again. There will be flowers and rainbows and sunshine and unicorns. But for one reason or another, these things will not exist for me. See, that’s not exactly logical. But it’s there. I wonder if maybe they won’t exist for me because I won’t make it that far. None of those things will happen overnight. And I’m not so sure I can make it through next Tuesday.
Here exists within my soul a profound paradox. Perhaps it has something to do with my soul having been eaten and currently residing in the dark, sticky, acidic bowels of depression, but I digress. The paradox is this: I know that God loves me and wants me to make it to unicorns. I also “know” that I will never amount to anything and I will always be trapped inside the hell that is my mind. These two things would appear to be mutually exclusive. And yet they both exist in equal parts within my partially digested soul.
Sometimes I can only really feel the hell reality, even though I know if I think about it, the God reality is still there. It feels like there is no hope for today, much less tomorrow. And forget about next year. Things that I know to exist from past experience --such as hope, kindness, and laughter-- are gone. Also, happiness. Happiness does not exist in the present or future tenses. For me. Remember, there are happy people alive right now, and there will be plenty of sunshiney rainbow people riding unicorns in the future tense. I am just not those people.
When I get to thinking like this, I wonder how it is that the light at the end of the tunnel can be so completely gone. Sometimes I think I see the faint flicker of a tiny, naked incandescent bulb farther down the tunnel. There must be an electrical short, because it’s out more often than not. Back to the tunnel though, I need to share with you a worry that has been troubling me for awhile now:
What if my tunnel isn’t the kind with an end from which you can emerge blinking in the rainbowey sunshine to mount your unicorn and ride off into happily ever after? What if my tunnel just ends deep within the bowels of some unforgiving granite mountain? That would be a good explanation for my inability to see the light at the end of said tunnel. If this happens to be the case, I wonder; will I have the strength to turn around and claw my way back to sunshine? I don’t know that there is an answer.
This, my friends, is the reality of depression. It is the ability to perceive unicorns coupled with the inability ever to ride them.