In 2017, depression ate my brain.
I wish the years were neatly separate, distinct like they are on paper
segmented like an earthworm you can tear apart and watch the old parts writhe and bleed
while a new one generates —
starting over, over, over
hard reset, the days would have an expiration date
live through this, and then you get to start again
with vocal cords that work and a mind that doesn’t will itself
into oblivion, just for the hell of it.
Social media’s a hopeful place, full of photographs of bubbly glasses, gold leaf and fireworks:
“Here’s to a better year, next time!” A dumpster fire, they call it, as if the ticking of the clock will put it out and we will Come Together To Make Things Better! and Make 2018 Awesome! and start fresh, resolution-bound and hungover in the morning
Happy New Year
but it’s not, when depression eats your brain.
I spent my days in the company of children, and the ones who cared for them also cared for me. I tied the shoes and bandaged the scrapes and explained a hundred times that cottage cheese is cheese, but not the kind you slice. I sat criss-cross applesauce on the big rug and read stories written by other people’s brains, the brains that worked. Shoes on, coats on, water bottles, line up: The routines that shaped their days helped stitch together mine.
I stayed put together and the year went on and it ate away a little more each day, and when people say Reach Out I don’t think they understand that all the things you’ll say, we already understand.
I know I’m not alone. My stuff happened alongside your stuff and her stuff and their stuff and it devoured us from the outside while we were battling the inside. The world was burning down, our heroes were dying left and right and everything seemed darker than it should. In the dark, it’s hard to see the things you should create. We are not alone, but that doesn’t make the aloneness any less.
I lost my voice, and my muscles atrophied; there was no reaching out because I know: The solid marriage, loving family, stable friendships, roof overhead wheels underneath woodstove fired up warm quilt wrapped around babies thriving sunsets starry nights and all of those things are real but the list is punctuated with the knowledge, too, that it’s all there in spite of me and there is nothing relevant
living in my bones.
Depression eats your brain and you can’t sleep or you can’t
wake up or you can’t
eat or you can’t
shower or smile or think
or hold a conversation past the canned fake plastic words you spit out on Facebook so that nobody
suspects there’s something wrong (because there’s not; it’s just your bootstraps wearing out)
You can’t do much of anything but follow the same old script but you can sure as shit argue
with the idea that there is something valuable
I lost my voice and people didn’t think I could, they wanted me to make them laugh, to mock the president, to say something sweetly vulgar because saying FUCK is trendy now and hey, what’s behind this song and hey, tell me stories that the music men told you and I just
The words were stagnant water in my mouth. Nothing new could live there, nothing would come out; I lost the words and then I lost the chance to say
Depression ate my brain