trying to survive

That’s one of my answers for “How are you doing?” – “Trying to survive.” Keeping my head above water, struggling, battling myself for no apparent reason. Despite seeing the world through rose-tinted glasses (I believe people are innately good and that the universe is innately beautiful), somehow I manage to be depressed. I should have the necessary tools to succeed: brains, a functional body, some hard-won empathy, creativity, a loving family. Many people succeed with far less than what I have. Most times when I get rolling on something though, I lose my initial head of steam and gradually power down for some reason. I’ve struggled with jobs, struggled with college, struggled with the mundane tasks of everyday life. There are times that I feel my being here is somehow a mistake that the universe is trying to ignore.

It may just be brain chemistry. Perhaps I have chronic depression and that’s really the logical explanation for it. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to stick to seeing a psychologist for more than a handful of visits. This blog represents both the hope that I will reach an audience and realize at least one of my goals (namely, to be a writer), yet also it represents a distraction from getting necessary projects done elsewhere. Everything has a negative spin, a weal and woe, and if you aren’t careful it’s easy to only see that part of it.

A symptom of depression is being tired, yes? Well I feel crushingly tired right now, like I have weights strapped all over me during a hangover (no, I do not have a hangover, although I could be dehydrated). My head feels foggy and my bones ache ever so slightly. I try to think positively because I’ve heard negative thinking tends to enhance illness (i.e. don’t think you have cancer or you might get it, don’t think you have arthritis or you might get it, etc.). Some of that is merely superstition but there is some documented evidence suggesting a correlation between positive thought and recovery, so it seems reasonable to assume the reverse could work as well. I try to think positively.

Wish me luck. I’m going to try to get things done today, and I just might do it. The hard part is sticking to it and not letting a downward spiral of thoughts and feelings wash me away to some dark place. Being 30, not finished with college, unemployed and living with my parents is pretty crippling to my self-esteem, but I only have myself to blame for getting to this point. The question is how do I dig myself out of this hole when I know I have trouble keeping my resolutions and that I’ve met with failure so many times before? Believe me, I’ve had multiple instances of “pulling myself up by my bootstraps” and it works for a few weeks or a couple months at best.

I know people don’t like “Debbie downers” which is why I don’t talk about this much or even write about it much. I brush it under the rug, or grin and bear it, and go on with my day such as it is. If I’m really going to let my hair down here though, this is also a part of me, a part which is much too large in the tapestry of my life (a depressing piece of art at the moment). In the midst of my ramblings, in my quirkiness and rare zany moments and abundant love of music and cheese, there is also darkness, not darkness to be cool or darkness to fit a genre or darkness for a day. Depression underlies everything about me, and when I can emerge from that weight and enjoy my life I feel I have a temporary victory to be savored until the black sea washes back in at high tide.

Perhaps I see the world through rose-tinted glasses as a survival mechanism: if I believed the world was as bad as my worst moments are, I doubt I would have stuck around to see it.

on the black bleak shore
among kelp and crustaceans
driftwood bones
of loves long past
I walk in twilight collecting shells that cut my hands
low tide at Hell

there are no gulls along that shore
but vultures circle
hungry, patient
waiting for my misstep
when I can’t
– or won’t –
arise

the sky is grey
in sepia tones
the wind is guttering mournful moans
as I step from basalt
to obsidian sand
old eruptions linger in that land

my bucket full of broken dreams
I walk the trail
to the shadowed land
in time ‘fore the tide turns
– disturbingly swift –
to sweep me away
to oblivion’s depths

I remind myself
to don my shades
that brighten the world to a rose-tinted haze
so that I can live
as the mortals do
and avoid Charon’s voyage
one day more: adieu

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