All weekend I've felt socked in; a thick fog settled beneath my eyes.
There was so much happiness surrounding me, so much lightness and celebration at the wedding. I sat in the crowd watching the wind whip around hats as people clapped them to their heads. Ophelia and Beatrice stood against the background of the entire Monterrey Bay, holding their baskets in anticipation. The hills behind them were layed up against each other; slate against periwinkle against endless sky. Theta flailed in Rob's lap, whining and trying to break free. My eyes pinched a few hot tears, tears I didn't quite trust. I couldn't say and still can't whether they were tears of sadness or anger or something else. I didn't know what lay beneath and I was afraid to find out.
I slept deeply on the car ride home and when I woke I felt just a little better. That night when Rob asked me if I was ready for bed I finally let go and cried. Cathartic, yes, but again I woke today and there was something still sitting on my chest, stubbornly refusing to leave.
Depression is a strange disease. It can make you afraid of yourself, afraid of your diving and soaring emotions. These days I tiptoe lightly around my own moods, hoping, praying, that a two day sad spell doesn't mean I am about to plummet again. All morning I could feel it tugging me down. That ugly old companion had come back around. And for the first time I didn't just accept that it was back, that I was heading down that road again. I realized I had a choice in the matter. No, I do not have a choice in my propensity for depression. I do not have a choice in the fact that my brain does not exactly know what to do with serotonin. But I have a say in how I deal with my depression. And the first thing I did was to simply acknowledge it. And secondly, maybe more importantly, I didn't push it away. I sat with that hollow ache. I felt it move through my gut. I heard it whisper its nasty words into my ear, hissing my failures into the air. I let it materialize around me. For once, I felt my depression without being afraid of it.
What I've realized is that happiness, hell just contentment, will always be work for me. That is my lot in life. I can't say whether this is true for others who suffer from depression or people in general but I know it to be the case for me. It must become a practice, like writing or yoga. It is not something I can simply access whenever without having put in the time day to day. And I've realized that those seeds of happiness are planted in the little things. Watering the house plants. Wiping the counters clear. Fruit in a glass bowl. The symmetry of brown paper bags lined up on the counter. There is potential for happiness in every single moment.
I will never deny the enormity of depression. It is not my intention to say that you can study an orchid and be cured. But I am finding power in accepting that not all of this is out of my control. If I am willing to put in the work, happiness and I will always find each other again.