I don’t know if you’ll be reading this because when I felt like you do, I didn’t read anything. I had tuned out into a kind of dead zone where everything moved faster than I did, it was like watching the world through glass.
I didn’t know I was depressed because I thought depression was all about crying, and it is for some people. But for me it was a rift, a loss of connection, of my capacity even to think, and of my most favourite thing of all, my ability to dance. I remember the night – getting up to weave and sway as was the style and not being able to find the rhythm. I wasn’t shocked or distraught though, and this is the thing about some sorts of depression, I was just foggily puzzled and I went home. A bonus is that I was never suicidal, probably because I just didn’t have the ability to think enough words for that, although if left on a beach with an incoming tide, I may not have been able to think enough words to escape either.
It was a good few years before that mojo came back but it did. In the meantime, I ran home from the bus stop if daylight broke before the bus arrived, did filing jobs that didn’t bore me even though they would have bored absolutely anyone, plugged away like a barely animated zombie until one day, a small spark ignited somewhere. Just the tiniest light that grew brighter over the next months and slowly burned away the fog and cracked open the glass walls. I don’t know where it came from any more than I know where the fog came from but there it was.
It’s many years ago now but if this is you, I want you to know that the plugging away worked and that I didn’t know I was working on my recovery because I didn’t know I was recovering from something in the first place. I just discovered, with hindsight, that keeping going led to that spark, and the spark to a fire, and the fire to the colour and the music coming back. I still have the odd dark moment but that feels now more like a quick visit to the basement before getting back in the lift and cruising the upper floors again.
I’ll never forget that vacuum or the emptiness it created, but it’s made me who I am and I’m very happy with that person. So here’s to long haul zombie-plodding recoveries where you don’t even have to know what you’re doing to come out the other end. I’m wishing that for you now and every day from now on.