Can’t (Rights Reserved)
What's it like, the mixing of shame and despair? I am full of the sense that I have no future, there is no point to living. This is no emptiness or lack of feeling, lack of affect, as they say. It is the intense feeling of hitting bottom, overwhelmed with shame, worthlessness, convinced that this is the real me, the rotten thing beneath the surface, the monster I can't bear to live with. I feel I've lost the essence of life, the will to live, to survive, to seize a spot on the face of the earth as mine where I can feel the good solid weight of my body pushing into the ground as I stand up and breathe deeply of all that is alive. There is no place like that for me in this world, there is no love or pleasure, only a searing palpable despair.
I can feel this when I'm at work. I'm plunged in grief about having lost myself, possessed by the conviction that I can't do things right, that each task will disappear in my hands, dissolve in my mind and what I miss through depression will cost me a job. So I have to hide it – this inner black hole, hoping no one will notice that I'm missing in action, that my soul has taken a walk for a while, body, voice and weak smile holding on for a time, doing nicely thank you, but don't come too close, you might sense that something's wrong, terribly wrong. Suddenly, it's not the office where I work nor the city where I live. It's Fallujah, ringed by marines. Who are they searching for, house to house, coming to kick their way in? I can hear them getting closer, that slam was the door of the next house flying off its hinges onto a concrete floor. The 20 year-olds are here to kill the threat of this useless, half-dead guy. Where the hell am I hiding? What weapons am I holding? I want to be out of here.
When I was a kid and hit that point, I had no choice but to believe completely that this was the real me, the mess no one usually saw. Now at least I can struggle to remember that there's a damned illness taking me over, and it will pass as part of a cycle. Something comes next. I may have to wait agonizing hours or days but the worst depth will be touched and I will start coming back from that. I try to see or force myself to remember that I am still here, despite this condition that surrounds and suffociates me. That's why I have to write this down, to assure myself there is something, if no more than a word, that comes next.