I tried, over the weekend, to really explain to my mom what depression - or being bipolar, or whatever - feels like. And I explained that it's more an absence, a void, than something definitive. There is no future; there is no access to happy memories; really, one becomes (I shouldn't generalize, this is how it is for me) unable to conceive of what being happy is. You lose all inner resources. Maybe it's what some would call the absence of God. When I am in this state, it's not that I want to commit suicide, exactly, because expending that kind of energy, and even feeling that intensity of emotion, is inconceivable. Rather, I wish to disappear, to evaporate, to go to sleep and not exist any more.
When I get better, it is hard to access these thoughts and feelings, which is why I am making an effort to get it down now. Indeed, in normal circumstances all this is unthinkable. Intellectually, it is repugnant to me. But self-disgust, at such times, is hardly helpful.
There is a good book on the subject, You Are Not Alone. I find its existence very comforting.
Perhaps it seems funny that I can continue to work, but having a series of small, achievable tasks to do is ideal, for me at least. It is not easy, and my work slows down, and sometimes I have to stop, but I think it's good to continue. It's very important to remember you are accountable to people, be they employers or doctors or whoever. I forgot an appointment with my psychiatrist today, which is the worst thing to do, but it's a bit of a catch-22 that way, since the will to treat oneself grows inversely with the illness.
M is wonderful to me. He brought me a carrot cupcake. He took me on a walk to a neighborhood in Queens to see an old house he likes. He read to me from a Robert Irwin book. And he made dinner of chard and leftover quiche and tomato-avocado salad. I can only resolve, in my mind, to make it up to him when I am able.
What I think of, all the time, is going to some kind of Magic Mountain-style sanitorium - pure mandated nothingness and rest and a total freedom from obligation. Can you imagine it? My mother says that's just running away. Of course it is: that's the whole point of the novel, after all, even if such places did still exist.
I always debate entries such as this since they are dreary and repetitive. But it's good to get it out, to put words to paper, and to stop the reflexive isolation I'm prone to. Besides, I always find reading such accounts comforting.