It will never go away.
No, wait – it will always go away, it’s just it will always come back.
Last night, out of nowhere, suddenly depressed. No warning, no real trigger, certainly no motivation. I felt … useless, pointless, unproductive and unimportant. There was not a single thing in the world I wanted to do. So, I sat there. I stared into space a bit. I browsed the internet for a while, reading about other people’s lives, dropping indicators of how much I liked those life snippets, or how much I empathised with them, even though inside I was just a black hollow ball of nothingness.
I didn’t even want to cry.
I sort of wanted to drink – I guess. But not really. I just wanted to put something into the gaping void on my insides. That would have worked, right? I mean, it would have gotten me through the night and out the other side. Maybe it would have summoned dragons from deep within my soul, maybe it would have pierced my emotional paint bottles and had them spew their contents onto paper, into conversation, or just into my head, and left me feeling drained and sore – and a bit disappointed – the next day, but probably not “hollow”.
I’m still riding the tail of this mood state this morning. I’m trying to sit with it and notice it a little. I’m not really up for full on meditation. I really really run from that, even though I know how much good it does me. It doesn’t matter, my NOPEpotemus is too strong, and he just SLAMS! the door, boom. Nope, nope, nopety-nope, no no change, no no thinking, just run away and don’t feel. That’s the voice that echoing through the hollow space in my skull where I used to have a brain before I slipped into this mood fugue.
Was there a trigger? I don’t know if there always is. I suspect there’s always something, or a cumulation of somethings, including, but not limited to: hormonal changes, weather, sleep or lack of, illness, something someone says, something no-one says, completing projects, failing to make progress on projects, clutter in my house, feeling disconnected – hold on, surely that’s a side effect, and not a trigger.
Anyway, you get the general idea. It’s an n-dimensional mess to try to disentangle. How much good does it do me to spot the triggers anyway? Like, I know that I’m likely to lapse into a monthly depression like pre-menstrual clockwork, although that usually takes the form of melancholy and exhaustion. I find this hollow space far more difficult to endure. Knowing a cause tends to reassure me it will pass, I guess. But I’m lucky enough to have survived my disease long enough to have ingrained in the pathways of my brain a strong and enduring message that This Too Will Pass.
Riding the bumper cars last Sunday, there was a sign that said “No Head on Bumping”. That’s because the relative velocities of two top speed cars going opposite directions effectively doubles the magnitude of the impact. Bi-polar mood disorders have a bit of this problem. Suddenly shifting into hollow nothing from EVERYthing, everything, everything, EveryTHING can feel like a double-dose of wtf.
I feel like someone picked up the soul equivalent of an ice-cream scoop and hollowed out every last thread of substance from my insides. Neat little curls of substance flung away into the void. And my shell is just floating here – lost in time and space – going through the motions of life and affection while I wait to refill. Refuel my life.
Every time this happens, do I come back as a different person? Do those same golden threads of personhood drift back into me and re-spark inside me as more or less the same person I was before? Or does my shell trudge on through the wasteland, collecting new sparks and tendrils like pokemon, until there’s a living person inside me, once again filled with the flame of life and joy and purpose. Maybe it just seems quite like the same person because my shell imposes its memories on those new sparks. Maybe it’s all a bit Ship of Theseus, and it doesn’t matter all that much so long as I can still fulfil the same purpose.
Already, overnight, sleep has gathered some life-force back into me. Time and attention – together will a healthy dose of faking it ’till I make it – will do the rest.
Normal Service Will Resume Shortly.