The ground gave way again. It was never very stable, I was balancing on a crumbling ridge, holding on by toe-tips and fingernails, and then the ridge collapsed and I fell.
Depression invades the mind. It’s like an unstoppable force. Were it not so evil, it would be impressive.
It zaps the joy of sleep and relaxation. It causes aches and pains and exhaustion. And then it weighs this tired body and brain down with apathy and robs you of enthusiasm. And just when you get used to the apathy and accept that you will amount to nothing more than a TV-watching, Netflix-browsing, Candy Crush-playing robot, it hits you with panic.
And the panic makes you crave company and someone to stabilise you and tell you that it’s fine and only then do you realise the full extent of the invasion. It has conquered you and you didn’t even notice. Because there are no friends. They got sick of it all. You asked for help one time too many, you cried and broke down and scared them or bored them (or both, sometimes within minutes) once too often. And they were kind so they let you do it again and again but eventually they had to look after themselves and their own sanity and they backed away while you weren’t looking.
And so the second wave hits. It hits with self-loathing It hits you with all your foibles and all your huge gaping faults. It opens your eyes and makes you understand in graphic detail why everyone hates you, why you’ve been alone for days, why you’ll always be alone, why friendship and companionship is something for other people. Not for you.
The second waves leads to the third: regret. Regret after regret after regret. All the things you said and did wrong. All the misjudgements and missteps, all the failures. Life wasn’t meant to be this way. But, depression reminds you, you only have yourself to blame.
And then the final blow: happiness is gone. Not just missing but gone. There is only sadness and regret and panic.
I can’t remember the last time I was happy and I can’t remember what happiness feels like. I know there were times, lots of times, when I was happy. I try to recall them but I can never get a clear picture. Was it a night out? A country walk? A hand held? A roller coaster cresting a summit? I try to summon up these moments and the people I spent them with. It’s like looking at a stranger’s photos. No emotion comes to the surface.
Depression is sadness for times gone and chances never taken or not exploited enough. It’s missed opportunities and a missed future. It’s missed friends.
It invades and the ridge gives way.