Ive been at pains over the last week or two about the fact I haven’t posted anything worthwhile for some time. I’ve internalised the issue and have been beating myself up about it. “But why?” I have pondered. Sure I’ve shared some stuff from other pages and posted some photos of our days, but why have I been stuck for original content?
Because I have been, in semi-restrospect, going through one of my regular apathy stages. Which for me, is how the black dog, aka depression, comes to visit.
You all know from previous posts that the start of April, and Easter, are the apex of shitty times for me. But this year I had a few additional factors that served to drag me down deeper. A serious family health scare, news of two childhood acquaintences’ deaths, and word that yet another dear old friend is battling cancer have all contributed to a wall that I have struggled to leap over in my usual dismissive, she’ll-be-right manner.
The insidious nature of the dog means that it is not until you are either at the depths of its clutches, or on the cusp of breaking its shackles, that you in fact truly understand that you have been in its terrible grip.
For me, depression, as mentioned, comes in the form of apathy. “Big deal” you may mumble as you read this. Yeah, big deal indeed. I know it sounds pretty soft and inconsequential, but apathy, when it is total and consuming, is truly a scary state of being.
Sure, I’m not lying in bed unable to deal with the very thought of the day ahead. Yes, I am not lying on the couch, curled up in the foetal position with tears streaming down my face. And no, I don’t have such an immense fear of the outside world that I dare not venture past the front door. In all appearances, I look and seem normal.
When you wake up every morning, whether it be fully rested or after a night of restlessness, and your first and day long feeling consists of the singular thought “who gives a shit”, life takes on a whole different feel.
You don’t care about food. You don’t care about money, you don’t care about the kids. You don’t care about yourself. Every thought and decision had no consequence, or for that matter appeal.
It’s like there is no point in doing anything, that if you just disappeared, that if you simply sat in the corner and stared at the wall all day, nothing would change.
Which is one of the hardest things when dealing with what I like to call “chronic apathy”.
Even when you know that you are being apathetic, because you ARE apathetic, how do you summon the courage to give a shit about anything? How do you break the cycle?
It really is a scary state of being, which you only fully understand in retrospect.
For me this time around, and it’s different each time, it was a brief chat with a new friend. She inadvertently made me realise that I have indeed been floundering in a state of apathy for some weeks, simply my asking me “so what’s new?”, to which I had nothing to say. And that, luckily, was enough to allow me to view the last few weeks from outside of my stupid mind and see it for what is was.
Regardless of what there was to look forward to, there was not one ounce of excitement or anticipation. It truly would not have mattered to me if I had been taken by a shark while surfing in 24deg water on a glorious Byron autumn day. Fucked. Up.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not writing this to fish for sympathy or words of encouragement. I am not even writing this for cathartic purposes.
This article’s sole purpose is to draw attention to a form of depression that many “sweep under the rug” and pass off as but a mere moment in their life. Because it’s not. Continual apathy towards life IS NOT NORMAL. Do not assume that “being down” or “feeling flat” for extended periods of time is a normal part of life.
Seek out your friends, call up your family, fuck – take yourself down to the pub and offload onto a stranger, or even better – PM me. Just don’t sit around not giving a shit about anything. You matter. You are meant to be happy. Things can be better.
Life is not shit unless you allow it to be. It’s hard, yes. It can suck hairy balls, frequently. But you are alive, and that (if you’ve led a life like me), is somewhat of a fucking miracle.
Don’t let the black dog win.