Depression is a black and blue mystery to some. To me it is a deep white pocket of emptiness. I slide in, I can’t get out. And then, suddenly I’m out. I don’t know why or when, but it does happen. It’s not because another person has helped me. It’s not because I’ve stopped and counted my blessings. Counting my blessings only makes it worse, because then I know for sure that I am an idiot for being depressed.
Lately, though, I have been learning that I might be able to control the sliding. That there is something that can keep me from slipping downwards. There is something that actually resides in me that can push up from the bottom, against it, and stay right there. This is not what some people might call “Picking yourself up, dusting yourself off,” or “snapping out of it.” Depression is not a moral issue. It is not a weakness of the spirit. It is a tremendous external force that saps your spirit, that makes you believe you are nothing and everything around you is emptiness.
But what I’m finding is, there might be a way that I can sight the white pocket opening up and hold steady… It is about living with the ugliness, knowing that it is just that, just gray feelings, and maybe just exist with those. The gray feelings are the pre-pocket. They feel like boredom and tiredness. They make themselves known to me and then my fear does the rest; it gallops towards the pocket, as if it has to once the grays arrive. It’s as if my mind says, “uh oh, you’re getting depressed, oh shit,” and then it happens.
So the last two times of hovering depression, I have instead thought to myself, “Hmm, maybe it can just be gray. Maybe it doesn’t have to open up to white.” And just the thought kind of makes it happen. But it means I have to dwell in gray for a while, which feels uncertain, ill-defined. Gray feels like a hairy dust ball, it is ugly but it is harmless, relatively. It is just there, uglifying the house. Gray does not mean hopelessness, it means blah, it means un-fun.
The discovery of gray has led me to wonder if perhaps, perversely, there is a safety to the deep white pocket? You just fall in and you’re trapped there until it tilts and spills you out.
So now I’m realizing that there is no Me to the pocket. The pocket is containing me and it just tips me out when it’s ready. But if I allow for gray to swirl around me, as uncomfortable as it is, have I figured out a way to close the pocket?