The rite of spring

Depression isn’t how they paint it. It comes and goes like the tide, lulling you with gently sloped beaches and then inundating you. It invites you in. You feel the warmth on your shoulders. The breeze on the tiny hairs of your forearms. Seagulls echoing somewhere nearby. You want to cry because things are so profound and beautiful. You want everything to end because you cannot withstand the beauty any longer. All beautiful things end in decay and even then a different beauty is revealed.

But you should never turn your back to the sea.

Spring is this time for me. It has been as far back as I can look in my notes. By the time I work up the nerve to tell someone, over text with shakey hands, the feeling passes and I demure in the shame of overblown pleas for help. Until it comes again.

I feel guilt that I cannot read or even concentrate. I find fault with everything and every one. It takes so much energy to turn a day around that I come crashing down hard and end my night trying to fall asleep before the dread has me contemplating merciful ends.

The worst part is that it looks nothing like brain spasms. It looks like especially dark humor, explosive anger, bitterness, remorse, anticipatory rejection, rants, admonitions, self-deprivation, self-deprecating humor, flakiness. It looks nothing like a plea for help. It looks like pushing everyone away.

I am the master of deception during this time. For someone who doesn’t lie, I will concoct whatever story to cover my hide, but usually stories to lessen the disappointment others will heap on me for not doing what I said I would. When you are low, people will use you as a table or even a foot stool.

“You should have called me!”

You know how many people I reach out to in little ways? How many, “Sure, darlings” and how much love and light bullshit nothings come from friends who would curse your name if you did kill yourself and exclaim to others, “They could have reached out to me!”

I know the heartache of the romantic siren song. I see it in others who flirt with death on the edge of a knife. I’ve been watching Anthony Bourdain. It lets me feel. But I know what he’s thinking. Anything to keep the pain at bay. A wry comment. A chuckle. A meal that brings tears to one’s eye. And then there are nights staring at ceilings when the cameras are off, alone, confirming worst fears.

I feel sedated except when I’m consumed with anger. Then I get these rushes of energy that make me dangerous to myself. It isn’t the blues that get you. It’s the reds.

I need some healing. And a reminder to stay away from my father. I managed to get away from my mother and that did a world of good. But my father will play the good guy long enough that I forget and then he swoops in with manipulations, savagely taking advantage to make a quick buck at my expense. Insurance fraud, loans, tax schemes.

When I got a divorce I spent good money on a lawyer to structure my finances and medical issues so my parents would never have control. I was 33 and I still had to protect myself from them because they never stopped being a danger to me as long as they were in my life. No one would ever stop them on my behalf. They didn’t when I was a kid. Why would they when I was grown up?

This is what feeling alone is like. Where do you go to be vulnerable when everyone comes to you for the same needs? When you are the rock for others, you don’t get the open arms and countless hours you give.

Today I have Emily. And if I can stop crying long enough to get out of this bed and over to her sunny terrace then maybe I have a shot at getting through today. Not tomorrow or the next day. That’s way too much to ask. Just today. Give my brain a rest. Bullshit. Give myself a rest from my brain.

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