And then I was on drugs. It’s a strange feeling, knowing that you’re taking a chemical to make you better. That’s why we do it, isn’t it? We don’t like what we were and our own brains aren’t doing what we need them to do, so we turn to science to make it better. So far, it’s working. But, and here’s the big but, I’ve removed myself from my day to day life entirely. So, when I return to it, what happens then?
I am now nowhere near my little basement in the city, with its ironing board desk, the mould covered bathroom and the door less kitchen. I have left the country entirely. I am now in a space that is bright, open and full of air. I can see for miles around me and I can feel the pressure that weighed on my mind lifting, day by day, growing easier, becoming gaseous, floating away. I exercise. I rest. I sleep. I am a man with now a transient life – this too shall pass, but while I exist in it, I feel a certain peace.
I feel like a fighter who has stepped out of the ring for the first time in years. That close chested fear, the endless mornings waking up and staring at the ceiling, the hatred of the day to day is fading. Chemicals and situations are working together to help the environment improve, I know that. I will take my medication every day until I no longer have to. I feel that I need it, that it is guiding me and helping me. But I need to do the work myself. I feel like I’m beginning to care again about the things around me. I feel like there may be a point to surviving.
When we are locked in depression with no escape for as long as I was, there isn’t any hope of escape on your own. You and I need help. This world is a multiplayer game and too often we’re on single mode, sludging through, dragging our bodies through the muck. There are hands all around us but not only do we not see them, we avoid them. No one knows my pain. No one understands me. This may be true, but the third option that we tell ourselves – no one cares – isn’t always the case.
It has been a week and a half since I started to take medication. It’s too soon I know for the chemicals to have balanced out in my system but that’s ok. I’m doing what I can to help them. I haven’t sought therapy yet – this blog itself is a kind of therapy. I don’t often engage with anyone through it, I don’t host lively discussions in the comments, I don’t send it to reviewers. Although I know that people read this, it still feels personal, private, honest. When we write for others, we lose that sense of honesty. I’m avoiding that. I’m doing what I can to word the thoughts in my mind.
As they are now, those thoughts are for the first time in a very long time turning to positivity. I have tried, in the dark and without help, to turn it around before. For years, I battled a quiet war in my own head, telling myself that the need to stay positive outweighed the pain and pressure of the world. I lost. Badly. But this time I am taking is entirely to get well. I may lose my job in the long run. I may struggle financially. I may find other reasons to hide away from the world. But I know that this time, this fight, this purpose was to live. I want to stay alive and experience the world, the way it should be.
We live on a dying planet, I know that. We are surrounded by evil every day, I know that. But we are also surrounded by a lot of good in this world. There are a lot of people who care about what happens to us, day by day. Sometimes, when it isn’t enough to stay alive for someone else, hearing that someone cares about what happens to us might just be that hand in the dark that we can grasp so that, while not staying alive for them, we start to care about staying alive for ourselves.
I am at the bottom of a very steep hill. I don’t know if I will ever reach the top of it. I don’t know if I can. But right now, in this moment, I’m strapping on my boots and I’m preparing for the climb. I don’t know where on the journey that peace lies. Maybe its in my kit, hanging from my shoulders, joining me along the way. And when the darkness rears its ugliness again, I will think back to this moment and I will remember the time that I walked up that hill with peace at my back. I will think of it and I hope that it will keep me alive.