The Days They Don't Teach You Words For
“Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” ~ Dory, Finding Nemo
Today is not a good day. Today I feel bad. Today hurts.
I speak four and a half different languages but I still don’t know a word to identify the way I feel today.
I know that the clinical label is ‘Depression’ but that doesn’t really begin to do it justice. The closest word I can seem to find is ‘Nothingness’ but even that barely even seems to scratch the surface. It doesn’t convey so much as a semblance of how overwhelming it is, nor how terrifying; or of how much it hurts.
It’s not about feeling hopeless, or that I’m not coping. Or, rather it is, but that’s not it. It’s like the feeling of a giant absence of feeling – only when I look inside myself I can feel it, and poke at it – right in the centre of myself.
I’m at a loss. My hands keep shaking for no reason. I feel vulnerable and yet at the same time completely out of reach.
It scares me.
I want to get away from it. The little piece of ‘Me’ that’s left of me doesn’t want to share the same space as this Feeling.
The Feeling, on the other hand, wants to embrace Me. It wants me to give up. To give in.
They don’t teach you a word for days like these in any language. They don’t teach you that there are days like these. I think it’s because until you experience them it’s impossible to comprehend that they actually exist. And once they’re over your brain won’t let you remember that they happened. To preserve their relationship with you, your brain and your heart wash away all the evidence that only just last week they were in cahoots with The Feeling – trying to destroy you.
In order to not give in you need something to do, or something to take you out of yourself, or something that will do both.
Since The Feeling has sapped all but the dregs of your energy, and is keeping you from seeing the past or envisioning a future, all you have left is what’s next. You just have to make yourself do the thing that comes next.
And so there always needs to be a something next. You need lots of small, manageable next steps.
It helps if some these steps allow you to achieve something, it doesn’t matter how small. Small goals are good. That’s why I’ve baked so many cookies lately. And you need to try to remember to be kind to yourself. Take a warm hot shower, put some clean clothes on, snuggle under a blanket and lose yourself in your televisual equivalent of chicken soup – for me that’s shows like the Gilmore Girls, The West Wing and The Good Wife.
And if all else fails I’ve gathered up a stack of beautifully written books that will at least give me an excuse for all the crying.