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.