Thursday, September 19, 2013

Reflecting on my Reflection

interesting experience tonight about part of the way my depression works. as most of my friends, cyber and otherwise know, i've  been in the midst of a nasty depression for around 2 years.  its severity ranges from feeling almost not awful to feeling deadly awful--and always, always sleepy [though it hasn't helped my insomnia go away]. anyway tonight i was waiting for the elevator to the T [subway or metro to you non-boston types], feeling pretty much down but okay, and watching the glass door to see when the elevator came.  you know how sometimes if you see your reflection when you're not thinking about it, there can be the tiniest fraction of a second when you see it not as you but someone else in front of you? well, that happened, and although feeling utterly homely and dowdy is pretty much a constant these days, the woman in the glass struck me as someone strong, attractive, and definitely with an air of 'style' that was her own and quite striking.

when i realized 'she' was myself and kept on watching her, she kept that air; it amused and pleased me that, totally polyestered as i was, i thought i looked great,  and grandly self confident.  this is an alien feeling these days: actually the idea that i looked attractive and strong has been alien for decades.  at the same time, i felt the core of the depression deeply; when it's bad it always feels like a very thick long gray pipe going from the top of my head to the bottom of my torso.  but here, it felt like my soul had divided itself, each part highlighting the other.  the proud ego pulled me ahead, and at one point i actually smiled. but the smile itself called attention to the stubborn, hateful gray pipe.  they didn't clash with each other; each claimed its place and stayed there.  then i got to my destination and my work took over.  i taught my class a bit over-intensely, and got way off topic, but in what i think, and my students clearly thought, was a useful way.

back to the T, and the pipe in my chest was announcing itself pretty clearly and pushing fear toward my heart and skin. the striking woman with the odd but effective style had morphed back into a tired and defeated frump.

but i'm interested in that early moment at the window.  depression is always very physical for me, but this time it physicality seemed divorced, briefly, from my other feelings.  does anyone reading this experience depression this way?  As i am tapering off one antidepressant to try another, i'm curious about the dynamics of the condition.  how much is an illness, helped by medication, and  how much a pure product of mind or soul?  i suppose pragmatically it hardly matters.  the antidepressant i'd taken for decades had helped it stay away, but its effect wore off;  the new ones did their best to take up the slack, but gave up pretty quickly.  now, bachelor number 3, it's your turn.  it would be nice to spend an entire day not envying the dead.

but i do wonder if the incongruously elegant lady in the elevator door was trying to tell me something.


Sam_Schumacher said...

That lady in the elevator window is the only Karen I've ever seen! Much love (and a deep bow) to one of the strongest and most inspiring women I've ever had the pleasure to meet.

Jim Lehmer said...

Maybe she was trying to tell you "I'm still in here! Don't give up!" I hope that was her message, anyway.

The worst depression I have had in decades has abated in the past month or so. It is still out there, circling just beyond the fire light - I can sometimes see it eying me in the dark. But for right now, it is not the day-to-day battle it was in the spring. May some relaxation come to you, too, soon!