Just for Now: On Depression

A writer far more talented than I, Marya Hornbacher, once wrote,

There is never a sudden revelation, a complete and tidy explanation for why it happened or why it ends or why or who you are. You want one and I want one, but there isn’t one. It comes in bits and pieces, and you stitch them together wherever they fit, and when you are done you hold yourself up and still there are holes and you are a rag doll, invented, imperfect. And yet you are all that you have, so you must be enough. There is no other way.

So every morning, I wake. You wake. Millions of us wake. We stitch and glue and staple and tie ourselves back together, every morning, because we must.

Because there is no other way.

We slide the threads of a normal life, of a good life, of a stable life made of stable minds and neurochemistry that makes balanced equations through the eye of the needle. We brush our teeth, and we brush our hair, and we try to put on clean clothes, because we tried to do the laundry, because we did all the laundry, because the only thing we could do was laundry, the only thing that put order back into our life was laundry.

Sometimes, you cannot stitch yourself back together in the morning. You wake, and you feel it. There’s a weakness to your skin. There are fissures on your fingers. Your heart. beats. slower. You squeeze your hands, just to know you can do something. You lay there, your head on your pillow, and break your day into pieces, in hopes that you can manage it.

Sometimes, you can. Sometimes, you can’t. You convince yourself to get out of bed, and you slip through the day, a ghost barely managing to find chairs, steady hands, brush a smile onto your face the way a painter invents a scene.

You are invented, and imperfect.

You are not stitched together.

The needle of normality slides the sutures through your skin, and you break anyway.

But you have no other choice.

Some days, I wake, frayed, no edges to stitch together, no way to piece myself together, even for a few hours. I am invented and imperfect.

Some days, I can only tell myself, It’s just a moment. It’s just a day. It’s just the downswing. You know how this goes. It’s just brain chemistry. It’s just brain chemistry.

I am not drowning. I have no other choice.

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