I search for a pattern to cling to. Something to explain the ups and downs and the violent plunges to the depths. But there is none. No pattern, no logic, no warning. There is no maths or science that can explain why in a quiet country town, well-fed and comfortable in a bright white hotel, I can be so despairing and yet in a busy airport on an unfamiliar continent faraway across an ocean I can deal with problems stoically and, to the outsider, perfectly calmly.
And that’s what makes it hard to explain to people who doubt the severity of my feelings when they see that I can work. I don’t know why my mind clicks into autopilot when it comes to work. Or why it clicks out so suddenly and dramatically when I’m out of work.
It’s why when I suddenly fall, I can’t answer the question what’s happened?
When I first accepted my depression, I was still of the opinion that there was a right and wrong way to react. That there was a simple task in hand: find something that works, be that pills or therapy or travel or meditation or yoga or whatever, do it and wait for recovery. Depression is more complicated than that. It comes and goes. For nearly a week now I’ve felt even and able to cope. The feelings of edginess and panic are lessened and dulled. I take hope from this. I will it to be the start of a climb up. But I don’t assume anymore.
Depression is at once full of surprises and yet also achingly predictable.
It’s always there. Waiting.