That Old Familiar Blues Guitar

Yesterday, when I woke up, I was well rested and generally in good spirits. It was a mid-sixties gorgeous day, the sun was shining down through big beautiful clouds that kept the heat at bay; there was an abundance of promise that filled the air. As I got in my truck for the drive to work, I was full of hope that the day would be a good one.

As I navigated through the streets, making my way to the house I was to paint, something changed, I became a vampire. The sun no longer felt like a gift from the heavens, beaming down the lifeblood that we require, but a malevolent deity hurling rays of radioactive light down on me in an attempt to char my skin and shine a light on the abomination I suddenly felt like.

I knew, almost as soon as I felt the switch, what was happening: depression. I am an old hand at spotting it and—sometimes—I can stop it before it gets too bad. Yesterday was not one of those times. I began questioning my life, the people in it and their motivation for being my friends.

I felt the all too familiar clench in my stomach, that signals a hard day to come. All this before I even get to work. So, as I pulled up to the job to be done that day, and saw the people I work with, I knew it was time to start the act: smile when someone tries to be funny, keep to myself as best I can, but don’t let on that there are seeds of a coup d’état brewing in my brain, about to overturn me as its ruler and supplant its own dark and unforgiving dictator. “Fake it ‘til you make it” as one friend calls it, but as the hours passed and I struggled to find the cause of this darkness, I grew ever more disenchanted.

All the work I have done in past months to shore up my life and become better able to deal with life’s many trials—gone. As I looked at the people I work with it became harder and harder to pull off the act. So—before I lost the ability altogether—I called my boss, told him I wasn’t feeling well and left, I just wanted to be alone, to not have to pretend for a bunch of people I really don’t care about. That can be the hardest part of days such as I found myself in. As I drove home I tried to turn the radio up loud to drown out the constant needling that my brain was twisting every thought into. This, too, was a wasted effort.

“Jesus, I feel like I might cry.” Before I could finish the words, tears started rolling down my cheeks. The torrent lasted until I got home, there were no sobs or sniffling, no apparent reason or cause, just tears that made me feel weak and alone as I struggled to hold myself together. I sat in my truck for a while until they finished, not wanting to chance seeing myself in one of the many mirrors that adorn the walls of the house.

Now, I sit here having called into work for day two of my battle with my old enemy and write these words trying to exorcise the demon that has taken over my mind. I am alone, which is where I am most comfortable, and fighting to find peace once again. The only thing I know for sure is that I am battle weary, tired of the fight and hoping I have enough strength to win just one more.


9 thoughts on “That Old Familiar Blues Guitar

  1. Jason,

    I am so very sorry that you find yourself in the grip of this again. I’ve only dealt with mild bouts of depression throughout my life, but none so crippling as what you describe.

    I don’t know what the answer is. I don’t know that being alone is the right thing, but I know how it is to have trouble looking at another person and have to put on that act.

    I don’t know that chemistry is the right answer, either. It’s never been the route for me; but, there are plenty of others that have found relief in some sort of anti-depressant.

    Just know that there will be a break in the clouds sooner or later. Use your writing as an outlet. We are rooting for you.


  2. I’m going to repeat something that a wise man once wrote in my comments section:

    “It saddens me that something like this happened in order to have given birth to these beautiful words.”

    Keep fighting and may you find the peace you seek or in surfer terms get out of that trough and ride the wave.

  3. I know this moment well. I know how to fight and I know how to throw in the towel and give myself over to the darkness. I admire your willingness to give of yourself so freely… the easy times and the hard. Peace, friend, to you.

  4. i, too, know these moments, though i mostly deal with it from the other side – extreme anxiety. i was especially touched when you described the switch turning on (or off). i hope hope hope this is a short episode and that tomorrow, or now, you’ll find some baby steps to help you begin to move forward again.

  5. In times like these I always refer to the history books…

    Children used to cry a lot when they were younger as apposed to older. Adults didn’t know what to do. One man had an idea he would gather up toys and distribute them once a year to all the kids who were good children. Those children that weren’t were fed to lions in front of cheering crowds. That man was Julius Ceasar. He eventually was murdered for not giving out the cool toys, but the items his children were gifted that they didn’t want. The man that murdered him was found to have depression and was set free and roamed the dessert for 40 days and nights. He eventually built a boat filled it with as many animals as he could and sailed it around the world. The trip took 80 days to complete. He finally landed in Mexico but claimed it as America. And that’s how we learned that Oreo cookies are a fix all for almost anything.

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