Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Focal Point

The terrible thing about depression is the stagnation. It's not pain. It's emptiness. It's not a cancer. It's a void. An ever expanding void, like our universe. One of the worst existential crisis I ever had was brought on by a physics book, which discussed primarily the topic of what is 'real' and what is not 'real', ultimately coming to the conclusion (one that I felt as a child) that almost nothing– including our entire earth and existence– is real, because what is real never changes despite the perspective it is viewed from.

Many things are mirages, we know this. The light that is gone when you turn your head to see it, the shimmering in the air that defies your grasping fingers, the water that slips through your hands, the certainties you had (if you had any) that one by one were proven uncertain, after all. 

There is a light and it never goes out... those lyrics, so beautiful and haunting, so untrue. All lights go out. All days end. All things alive, die. 

What comes to me is that depression is a long drawn in breath, held. A pause without tapping feet or nervous fumbling. Depression can be a teacher. It can also kill you, maim you, I know. I know. And, it can also teach. It can also allow for accumulation without expansion of energy. It can allow for subconscious creation. Underneath the frozen surface. Depression is pain, then, after all, but not pain as we think of it, a different kind of pain. The pain of disconnection, the worst kind of pain, the pain of lack: lack of love, lack of compassion, lack of emotion, lack of new thought, lack of response, lack of engagement, lack of connectivity. It is the pain of disconnection from what makes us human. It is the pain that lies behind pain, past when you stop screaming, into the heart of the moment when you go into shock, when what is horrible is suffuse and emboldened and unstoppable, and therefore no longer piercing or alive with shrieking, but silent and awesome and cruelly devoid– the way the idea of God can feel, when you are depressed. This kind of pain, depression, holds the end to spirit, but also, it can teach, if you are lucky enough, if you come out of it, if there is someone or something waiting for you on the side of the living important enough for you to train your eye there. A focus spot, they call it when you are in labor. I remember pushing Dakota out, screaming, begging for the pain of transition to be over, and my mother and her friend asking for me to focus, focus on something besides the pain. To have other people reminding you of your humanity when you cannot know it, to have something reminding you that you are not dead when you are burying yourself, these things are blessings. I have been blessed. I offer this blessing.

I'm starting to emerge from this amputated state, and the unbearable part of this is the awareness of the suffering in the world around me. The awareness of pain, so fine, so acute, so sensitized, that the clumsy banging of an over-sized grasshopper into the concrete walls of a shopping center brings tears to my eyes. This grasshopper, he only lives once. One life, one consciousness, mostly completely unknown and unregarded, her life, and all she desires is the plants, the green of grass and the naked heat of dirt expanding and rising underneath the undulating of worms. And she finds concrete walls. It's incredible, the cages we build when trying to build ladders.

It's raining today. I am safe, and loved, and lucky as hell in many respects. I think about my children as I breathe. I love them as I exist, unconsciously and consciously, with every cell of my body in unison toward this end. Love is an end to itself. I think about my family, my husband. I think about what I can do to help everyone and everything that crosses my path. I think about things until I fold, sag, relent, and then I can think no more. Hibernation. January. Focus. Love.

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