The Cloud of Depression
Unexpectedly the cloud moves in. I feel my mood slowly start to change. I know the storm is lingering. Will it be a strong one this time, or will it quietly pass by with little fanfare?
The storm continues to linger. It hovers over my soul slowly draining my ability to think for myself. Almost without warning the negative thoughts emerge from the darkest depths of my soul.
“I’m a failure.”
“I’ll never amount to anything.”
“I offer nothing to society.”
As these thoughts bounce around my mind like a ping pong ball, my mood continues to deteriorate. The storm is not passing this time; now it is growing stronger. At first, I am able to fight off some of the negative thoughts and remind myself they are not true. As the storm grows, I lose more and more control over. Feelings of despair and loneliness engulf my soul.
The further into despair I sink the more the outside world seems to fade away. Those talking around me disappear into the background. As I sink, I fall further into my own mind and the more negative thoughts take control. While only a few moments ago I was able to fend off these thoughts, the strength to fight them has waned.
When the storm emerged, I reached out to a friend asking for prayers. A Hail Mary I know but worth the try. This time the prayers don’t seem to be helping. I don’t know who is in control, but I know it’s not me and I don’t believe this could be from God. All I know is this day is only getting worse. The storm has rolled in, and all I can do is hope to hold on long enough to survive.
Before long I start to lose the ability to move. My eyes stare straight ahead at my computer screen. Co-workers walk by thinking I’m intensely working on something, but in reality I can’t see what is in front of me. All I can see are the negative thoughts bouncing around my head.
Every once in awhile I snap out of it for a minute or two. I spend most of those minutes trying to remember what I was doing before I went into my trance. Today, I barely remember what I was trying to get done.
The cycle continues for a few hours until it is time to clock out. I slip out of work a few minutes early hoping to beat the traffic on the way home, knowing that stopping will only trigger another trance. Fortunately today I was able to make it home without any incident.
I stumble through the rest of my evening. My to-do list from earlier is left undone. Maybe I’ll be in a better place tomorrow. I do my best to attend to my kids and to be a good father, even though it takes every last bit of energy out of me. After they go to bed, I pour myself a glass of Scotch and head outside to smoke a cigar hoping some time alone outside will clear my head enough. Some days this helps… today it takes the edge off, but the negative thoughts are still lingering.
After an hour or so, I head back inside and get ready for bed. I reach for my sleeping pills knowing if I don’t take them I will be up all night fighting this storm. As the medicine does its job I slowly see the storm fade into the background, not knowing if it will return in the morning.
With depression not all days are like this. Some days are worse. Some days are better. Most days it takes everything out of me just to appear normal. I have hopes and dreams, but most days I don’t have the energy to pursue them. Today, I outlasted the storm. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
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Photo by Timothy Ah Koy, via Unsplash