I was chatting with a friend today and I said that God had "healed" me from depression by showing me how to keep myself out of it. The friend asked how I did that and I told him I do it by cordoning off segments of my thought life and put up "NO TRESPASSING" signs. There are lines of thought I simply cannot pursue. Areas I durst not tread. He asked me how I visualized this (for him, he puts things into mental boxes)...for me I told him it was Police Tape. Setting up lines that I cannot cross. He asked me what percentage of my thought life this involved. I said "85%" Thinking on that now, that may be too high. 65% might be more accurate.
He asked me if there were certain people in those barricades. I said "no" but thinking again, that is not true. There are at least three people whom I cannot even think of briefly without some darkness descending. I know you are all wanting to know who so I will tell you: 1) My brother 2) my best friend in college who committed suicide and 3) my dog when I was back in my early 20s. Mandy
There may be even more people in that list but those are the three who came to me readily.
There are topics like the huge "what if" piles of thought. Those lists predicate anxiety. And there is the pile of questions that despite all of my theological thinking and studying on the topic of suffering...there are unanswered questions with which I might accuse God of injustice. And then there are the recollections. Memories of past madness. Restraints. self injury. Nights of total desperation and angst. I cannot go back there.
So you ask, "how did you write a book?"
It was hard. partly I did it in the way that I typically handle conversation. I keep it light and shallow. The depths are dark and I am not a good swimmer.
I also at times looked on it more as art. I explored my skill as a writer and in that sense it distanced me and shielded me from the raw emotive recollection.
But there were times while writing.....that I cried. The pit yawned and I teetered............
I don't know about my book. I don't know if it is sufficiently honest. I don't know if it will induce emotion in the reader. In that sense I may have failed. But I am really not sure. Maybe my truth is so very far "OUT THERE" that even to travel along the outskirts of it seems like a great leap into dark space. One tiny step for man. One GIANT step for mankind. That kind of thing.
Is this a cure for depression?
Or is it repression?
Will all the demons burst out of the box (to borrow my friend's metaphor)like a mad jack-in-the-box ready to scare the bejeebers out of the baby who was just busy cranking out a happy tune? I don't know. I seriously hope not. When can you say you've "dealt with it"? When you can casually talk about it without wanting to slice your wrists afterwards? I don't know. Even when I DO talk about it I am mentally and emotionally detached and shallow. I have never ever sat down with anyone anyone and recalled things with my feelings connected. I've never described the nightmare I've lived to a living soul so that they would really have any kind of idea of what it was like. My book is the closest I've come to that....but because I would not want my readers to fall too deeply into MY pit....I backed off, I rounded the edges. I tempered the heat.
Anyway. This is how I get through a day. By avoiding the police tape around that gaping hole that drops to hell. And for this amount of distance, I am grateful.