Saturday, December 21, 2013

From inside

I wanted, in a way, to go on a walk.  After weeks of atypically cold weather here in the mid-Atlantic US, today's winter solstice weather was 60F with a light, warm breeze.  Yet as much as I knew perfectly well a walk in our local prized amenity, Rock Creek Park, was in order, I couldn't go.  I lay down for a couple of hours instead.

At 3:30 I did force myself out.  The park naturally was packed with people taking advantage of the day.  I managed about three miles without much difficulty.  Then it hit.  The trail seemed to jump; every crackle of a twig from the step of a squirrel or a deer hurt.  I was afraid to turn my head for fear of increasing the dizziness and tunnel vision.  I wasn't even sure I was in myself.  I just knew I had to get home one tiny, slow step at a time.  Luckily, as I emerged from the park for the last few hundred yards to my house, an older neighbor was making her own laborious way up the small hill; I talked to her as we wended our way, focussing on her and our small talk until we got to the corner, and just that little break was enough to still the pain and panic before I entered the house.

Depression is a murderer, a rapist, a thief, a batterer.  It kills desires, abilities, awareness, consciousness, thought, sensibility, reality.  It hurts, it burns, it aches, it causes so many pains I can't verbalize.  It even steals my language at times.

I would never kill myself.  I know that my children and husband need me if only as a warm body, a shell, in their lives; and it's unfair of me to ever consider taking what they need away for my own selfishness.  Though I feel I hold them back and keep them from achieving or accessing things another person might gain them due my depression and other inadequacies, still a mother and wife at all whom they know has to be better than nothing, a loss, a hole, a gap.  But I completely understand how another person could feel that nothingness, negation, nonexistence could be a better choice than this.

We know now depression and related diseases are caused by non-healing neural damage, possibly related to inflammatory disease, perhaps not.  With neurons designated to control the flow of hormones throughout the brain damaged, there simply is no way for the brain to regulate itself properly.  There are clear bases for many of the concomitant parts of the disease other than mood which previously were not understood.  Being told to be more mindful, to count blessings, to snap out of the bad mood, any of this, will not heal a sufferer's neurologic system.  It will just put the blame on him or her for his own physiologic disease.

So I am imprisoned by damage to my brain cells.  They may heal with time, they often do for many of us in a way still not understood at all by scientists.  They may improve.  They may not.  They trap me and cage me, they torture me in ways I can't even describe thanks to their own work on my ability to communicate.  I am here, but only those parts of me forcing their ways through twisting, hidden paths amidst the jungle of damage, wishing to be somewhere, anywhere, outside of the enclosure.

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