I thought I would begin this post by saying “Here is what I do know.” But I don’t know much, really.
Actually, I know nothing at all.
I am afraid of the things I should not fear. Emails. Phone calls. Text messages. Running into too many people on campus. Traveling anywhere outside of some invisible boundary I discover only once I’ve crossed its line. Then the panic.
But I don’t know how to stop it — the fear, the anxiety, the depression.
Some days I want to teach. Other days I want nothing. But I am pretty sure I don’t want to lose my job.
I’m quickly learning how difficult it is to find help in navigating the university system for documenting a disability like this. [I didn’t even know major depressive disorder could be considered a disability.]
I am also discovering I may not have any true protection in all this.
Sometimes, I suspect depression is akin to interacting with the world through beer goggles (those vision impairment simulators). No focus. Disorienting. Debilitating.
Once in a while, I catch a glimpse of something. A hint. I can understand where I am. The world makes sense. Only for a moment — even then, I still worry about the next depressed episode or anxiety attack.
The goggles never come off. There is no break.
Right now, I know nothing. I feel only a little. To paraphrase Joyce Carol Oates, each day I rise to impersonate Suzy. In the morning, I look in the mirror and I think, “That is not a person. It is no one. No one is living this life.”
If my life were a story, I would expect a revelatory statement to surface in the narrative right about now: “Her depression and fears had come to pass.”
I don’t know whether I believe that. Not right now.
Right now, it feels as if all of these troubles have come to stay.
But I’m going to keep working on my next action plan from Dr. Jasmine:
[In response to the silence daily prompt — because depression can be like the lonely sound of silence on a dark, snowy night, and it can be the deafening drumbeat silently pounding in my head.]