Allow Me to Introduce Monsieur Noir

Despair is like one of those animated private investigators, a black silhouette on the corner of a dilapidated building.

It lurks.

It waits patiently, stealthily, tracking your every move. It spots a weakness, and pounces. It reveals itself with a swirl of cape, crying: “Bwahahaha! I’ve caught you! You’re in my clutches now, my precious! It is I, Monsieur Noir! I have come to reveal your every flaw to the world!”

He rubs his hands with glee.

I wallow.

For days, I’ve been dragging. Dragging myself out of bed, sludging out the door, leaning against the bus stop, weighed down by gravity. Staring blankly through the days, the only thing getting me through hour after hour is constantly repeating to myself that tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow is always better.

Then I wake up, it’s morning, and it’s worse.

Every morning, I wake up more tired than the morning before. Every day, the tears are that much closer to the surface. Any little thing could tip the balance, knock me over.

This is the horror of depression: having perfect clarity and at the same time having the perfect inability to do anything about it. I can see myself clearly, a mile away, with absolutely no power to intervene.

I know I’m not myself. How do I know that? Because I am myself, but that self has had a sudden and inexplicable demotion. I’ve become a side-seat driver in my own looming car crash. I have no idea why or how, but have a vague notion of when the demotion occurred. I don’t know what is required to get back in the good graces of the Grand Maestro orchestrating my brain, and get Monsieur Noir out of the driver’s seat. I’d settle for a chance at the brake pedal.

When depression hits, I spend a lot of time hiding. Hiding my feelings, suppressing my tears, trying to reign in the volatility.

I become furtive.

Everything becomes louder, harsher, brighter, sharper.

Harder.

People’s words become accusatory, layered, mean.

Nothing goes right. Nothing tastes good. I’m always tired. Everything aches.

Everything aches.

There is no such thing as reason. Reason relocates. I understand reason, I know it exists, it just doesn’t happen to live here anymore.

Despair moved in instead.

Depression is a strange disease. It’s one of the few that you actually forget you have. Not deny – forget.

When you live with depression, you routinely forget that you are living with it. You forget that it’s always there, waiting, lurking. You have a good day or a great weekend, or you get that lovely stretch of an upswing that lasts a month or a season or even years.

And then it hits.

You’re never prepared.

At first, you don’t even realize it – you start to have some trouble sleeping, you don’t feel so great but nothing is really wrong, but you know, that’s life. We all have our days.

And then, it’s only those days. Unrelenting.

Day after day of gray.

You just want to sleep. Or there’s a book you can’t put down – really can’t. You realize you’ve been staring at yourself in the mirror for 15 minutes, not really seeing anything, not doing anything, just standing there. You’re always late. You’re always in a rush. You resent the rushing. You resent anything that gets in the way of sleep. Nothing in your closet fits.

You’ve forgotten how long you’ve felt this way.

You figure it’s time to start doing something about how you’re feeling, that maybe you’re not quite right. But there is no energy, no reserves left.

So how do you do it? How do you start to pull yourself out of the hole when the hole just keeps falling in on you? I don’t know. Sometimes the sun peeks though, for an hour, for a day. Sometimes it’s enough to let me fit one piece of the puzzle in – call a friend, go for a walk, write. I’ve had enough experience on both ends of the spectrum to build a toolkit that works for me, a support system of people that I trust. People that have seen me in worse places than I am right now, and haven’t given up on me yet.

They remind me not to give up on me yet.

And when the good days come, as they always do, I know that they are good days.

This is the blessing of depression: having perfect clarity to recognize the good days, and truly know at a visceral level just how precious those days are.

Because tomorrow might not be one of them.

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2 comments so far

  1. Lynn on

    Hee hee…Asshole Noir is funny, Moosilaneous :).

    Hope you find your way home soon.

  2. Moosilaneous on

    Sorry to hear he’s visiting – you have my everlasting sympathies. It is astounding how that creep can always, always catch us off guard. Hang in there.

    BUT although I give you the fact that he is incredibly sneaky, do you really think M. Noir deserves such a suave moniker?
    I’m thinking epithets perhaps inappropriate for a family (!) blog, but maybe we should refer to him as Asshole Noir.

    We are on such familiar terms, I just happen to know his first name.


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