This article is written by Zero Forbidden Goals and National Poetry Slam poet, AndYes. To hear his work, and support his art and his message of love, go to AndYesPoetry.com.
Author’s note: I wrote these in 2014, during Depression episodes. They were written with the purpose of people being able to see directly what is in my head and what is going on.
During that year, I lost my job and my apartment because I became too Depressed to show up to work on time. And I attempted suicide shortly after.
The 7th entry is a month later, to-the-day.
These writings are intended for people who haven’t had Depression, and want to learn. And for those who have Depression but don’t understand it.
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There are days where you just fall apart. There’s no reason behind it – it just happens.
Despite all efforts (exercise, a diet that’s been improving, a lot of progress in my personal life that should be sparking a lot of pride, and getting plenty of sleep), today was the day where everything dropped out.
Emotionally, I’m exhausted at the idea of speaking or listening. The “Share” button on Facebook is just about the only mode of discussion I have. Every poem has been judged before I even touched the keys, and the grant I’ve been working on, to get funding for my idea, has been torn apart and left listless on the computer screen.
There is an easy judgment you could make here, without any information to suggest otherwise. And I wouldn’t blame anyone for making it – I’m used to hearing it:
There’s a part of me that just wants to hate these people, who don’t bother to get to know me and who throw those comments my way.
But, part of me also realized that, often, my Depression says the exact same thing.
There is so much inside of me telling me I’m worthless, and that life is pointless, and there’s no measure of logic that can argue it. I am worn out physically, mentally, and spiritually.
(Note: this is not an excuse for the things I haven’t done, or a means of me saying I’m not accountable for the things that I’ve not done. It’s just a fact – my hair is brown, this table is brown, some days everything just falls apart. )
Clear? I hope so.
My parents try to comfort me. The feeling of my dad’s hand on my shoulder is physically present (meaning the nerves in the shoulder still function) but there’s no emotional trigger that typically occurs when a loved one makes physical contact with you. I want there to be something. It sparks this weird feeling of wanting to be angry that I can’t be angry about not being able to feel.
A similar thing occurs, with crying. I well up, I feel the pressure of almost getting to the point of crying, and suddenly the bottom drops out of my emotions – everything becomes a flat affect.
A coworker, at a job I’ve long since lost after a suicidal episode, found out about my condition from a Facebook post I made.
He said, “You? You have bad days?”
My co-worker’s tone was a stark mix of incredulous accusation. As if the concept – that someone he’d always seen smile could ever let his eyes sag in sadness – would damage his very essence if he ever let himself believe it.
I do improv, give advice, and make people laugh, after all. I write poetry and spoken word, and sing. How could I have Depression?
It’s moments like this that have been repeated throughout my life. Moments where people can’t believe what I go through on a daily basis. We talk, they learn, I continue on.
I don’t regret my admission of my condition because of his reaction. At the same time I felt proud for knowing someone had this much faith in me, just seeing the surprise on his face made me disappointed – like I’d ruined his perception of me.
Like, now he sees Dave – the Depressed guy.
This is life, and this is the reality I have to live with. From time to time, I am going to hate who I am with no reason.
This is why, when I’m feeling “normal”, I try and live as much as I can. I listen to conversations intently, I enjoy the silent moments between two people – I love being able to experience the world even more, than some, because even the most banal DMV waiting line is so much better than this.
(Side-note: you can extrapolate, then, how much better it feels when there’s a whole group of people listening to my poetry or laughing with my improv, and loving what I have to say. I’d put it into words, but I just don’t have the words, yet. The feeling is beyond anything I could put into comparative terms).
Tomorrow is a new day. I don’t know if it’s going to be a continuation of today, or if a night’s sleep will end it, but no matter what – this life continues.
The more I learn to live within this process, and find my ebbs and flows, the better off I will be.