It has been a long time since I shared the workings of my mind and what state I hold after recovering from clinical depression.
I still speak about my depression without shame or discomfort although I often see that in the eyes of those listening. It is still not understood that depression is an illness and not something that anyone would choose.
I would no longer consider myself someone who is suffering depression. It is something that I sometimes fear returning but I don't see myself ever returning to those dire straights. There are now too many tools under my belt to allow that regression.
There is however something very different to me now that never existed before my illness. I have a higher pain tolerance. I am happy but there is an undercurrent of chronic pain that exists as part of who I am now. My pain threshold does not allow it to overwhelm me but like chronic back pain, it is something I have learnt to live with. Unlike chronic back pain though, there are no pain killers or anti-inflammatories that will ease the constant ache. And no, antidepressants are not my friend because I am not depressed. This is an ingrained hurt that is laced between the atoms that make me. It can not be separated. It can not be dispersed.
I described my life recently to a friend as though I live on a super yacht that is my current happiness. This yacht is sailing on a giant lake of pain where at no point you can see all the edges. There is a thin film of sadness that reflects pretty colours and is often left in my yacht's happiness wake. However awful that may sound, it is a state that I understand and survive in quite happily... if not relatively.
Recently, I experienced immense happiness. Not just happiness but a spark of hope. Hope is something that was beaten out of me a long time ago and although I hold optimism in life and the future, I do not hope for more than what I am gifted with now... which is a lot.
Today that happiness fizzled and whisked away in the wind. I was left on my yacht on the lake, relatively happy.
The problem with this is that relativity has shifted. From the joy of beautiful hope to a sweet pensive sadness and down to what now feels like a comfortable numbness.
There are still endless reasons to smile. There are still reasons to be optimistic. There are still great moments to be sailed. The problem is, the numbness leaves me feeling it all as if I were floating outside my body watching someone else pilot me. Being John Malcovich with me as the puppet.
A part of me knows that the numbness will recede and I will sail my yacht of happiness again but the yacht will feel smaller and the pain lake bigger and the oily film of sadness slicker and thicker.
This all makes me wonder why I'd ever attempt or accept a happy state again if it ever presented itself because when it rejected me and left me floating unmoored, the vessel I travel in will be smaller.
I shall ponder this as I ponder many things, all the while feeling comfortably numb.