It goes by many names, the space invader, the infiltrator, the head fuck, to name a few. Arrives unannounced and unexpected, taking residence in your comfort zone, droning on incessantly with negative speak, the stuff that hurts your head, while you hover uncomfortably in your own space, out-of-place. Welcome overstayed when none has been offered, sapping strength as the clock ticks and panic builds because you have things to do, life to live, but you can’t turf it out because you don’t know how, and you’re not that strong anyway. So the invasion prolongs and it grows darker and your brain grows numb with the pointlessness of it all, and your chest hurts, and your stomach feels hollow; but finally it grows tired of your boring, catatonic company and you brace your exhaustion against the portal through which it slithers away; the portal that opens ever so slightly to let the light in. Sighs of exhaled pressure leave your chest and you swear that you’ll be ready the next time, braced and protected; but that’s all just fuckery thinking, and well you know it, for it will be there when you are not looking, when your guard is down; when you are content – or think that you are. It will come again alright, but you just hope that it won’t be for a long while yet.
More often than we care to admit, sensitive, intelligent and creative souls fall down into the pit of depression sometimes. And I’m not talking the ‘blues’ here, like when your favourite jeans don’t fit anymore, or you didn’t get that job, that ring, that funding for your project; that house. No, what I’m talking about is that big black dog, the silent visitor that comes along every now and again, scratching its ugly claws at the door while you keep pretending, keep trying to ignore it. Keep trying to drown out the hunger of its need to get inside your head, to hang out there with its incessant negativity. You’re not good enough, you’ve nothing of value to say, to contribute, you‘re going to fail and nobody really likes you anyway; you have failed. You’re shit and the world would probably be a better place without you in it.
Complete and utter fuckery with your mind.
But when you are under siege, you can’t see that, can’t hear that it’s all bollox, and in your own unique way, you will let it in, because its growl is louder than yours, and it bites. And some of us don’t cope, because we don’t know how. No-one talks about ‘that’ anyway, and no-one admits to being defeated by it, because that would be complaining, and sure, what have we got to complain about? We don’t want to be annoying anyone, or worse, showing that we are weak, that we can’t cope; that we are not perfect. And so, we hide it, and we fall, sometimes so far down that black pit, that for a while, it is too dark to see any way out.
Most of us ‘manage’ it; some might talk it out with that one friend who arrives at short notice, having stuffed her pockets with tissues on the way. Some of us want to be alone, to hibernate and let it all work itself out, to avoid upsetting the ones we love, to allow space for the brain to process, or more often, to allow the fucker to just do its worst and mentally kick the shit out of us, so we can then lick our wounds, get back up and get on with it.
I don’t know when the next hit will come, as ‘it’ won’t be making an appointment first, but this I can say: When it does come scratching at your door…
WAIT. Wait five minutes, then ten, then thirty. Then wait some more. TAKE TIME. Time out to rest, breathe, create [write, paint, draw, doodle, strum, sing, sculpt, plant, bake – doesn’t matter what the results are!] in the best way you know how to heal, and WAIT for TIME to bring LIGHT. Light shines harshly on that black dog, shrinking his negative presence, diminishing his power, his bullying growl. And the light will always come, eventually.
Maybe, if we keep reminding ourselves of that, next time, the climb out of that pit will not be so daunting.