I awoke from my slumber this morning to find myself drowning within the depths of a deep and inexorable depression. The confused and frantic scenes of my dreams just concluded seemed a better place to be – lines without end, life without form, people without their inevitable attachments to dead matter like gadgets and clever furniture, people without their servitude to greed and popularity.
I slumbered again intermittently for another hour; each time spying from my face-down position my feline companion in different positions, anxious and waiting for me to wake up. Occasionally, he would be curled up next to me and I would put my arm around him. When the alarm finally bleated its klaxon weaponry in direct assault to my senses, I very nearly pressed the termination switch instead of falling into a repeated snooze cycle. I could see myself calling into work and telling my superiors a lie – my stomach is on fire, my brain has become liquefied and made a mess on the floor that will take all day to clean up, my hands have fallen off, my eyes are marbled with doubt and I can’t complete tasks for fear that I wasn’t intended to do them, I’m so sick that I’d rather lay in drool and develop a bed stench and slight slime to my unbathed body than to endure another minute in the company of my work associates. So, I hit snooze to avoid having to talk to someone.
Each time the alarm went off, I imagined myself waking up in a different situation. I saw my apartment turn to a comfortable house where everything in it was where it was supposed to be. I imagined waking to eggs in a bowl with fruit. I saw huge bay windows bathing my bed in large swaths of sunlight as a promise to a wonderful day. By the time I finally resolved to extricate myself from bed, I was yearning for darkness and cold. I wanted to paint my windows black and crank up the air conditioner. I would shut my door and wait patiently as my room turned into a morgue. Perhaps then I could find the peace of mind to prepare for the day. I would rise from death later in the day, a zombie to feed on the inequities of a culture I despise, using the unforgivable injustices of the life I was born into to empower me and turn me from insignificant waif to unstoppable aberration of life.
When I finally lifted my girth from the surface of the bed, I felt in my head a lightness, as if it were filled with helium. I had felt the sensation before when I had refused to take my prescription medications that had been pushed on me by a psychiatrist. It is a floating sensation that dulls the senses momentarily before a sudden uncomfortable “zap” washes over the brain. You can feel it inside your skull and its not difficult to imagine that when this happens, if you could see your brain, you would witness a line of electricity pulsing over the surface of the grey matter, electrifying the lobes and burning off the detritus of a unquiet mind. The only difference between this morning and when I was weaning myself from the drug was that the “zap” was missing, my head and my brain inside it felt light and vaporous. My head wanted to float gently with the breeze, away, up, out.
The monotony of my morning routine was doubly upsetting this morning. It was too late to eat breakfast. I trudged to the utility closet to tumble the clothes I’ve been too lazy to iron and hang up, in hopes that a bit of heat and gyration would satisfactorily smooth the wrinkles out. I glanced at two other piles of laundry with disgust – one a pile of socks I had not sorted, the other a pile of miscellaneous cloth debris. I couldn’t remember what was clean except for what had been left in the dryer.
My cat meows at me when I’m in the kitchen. I cannot translate what it is he wants when he does this. His dishes are full of water and food and when I reach down to pet him, he shies away. The scene was repeated this morning. Next I trudged back to the bathroom where I blindly palmed the drug I still take each morning. With the swallow, I felt a pang of regret or guilt –I feel old, weak, mortal.
The shower is hot and comforting, but I realize it is fleeting. I feel disgusted as I have to run my hands over a poorly crafted and poorly maintained body. I hate myself and resolve never to eat again anything, ever. My giant mirror does not allow me to escape from myself. I see every blemish. I turned my eyes to the floor, gritty with bits of litter and pieces of crickets. I had just cleaned the floor the previous night. My beard seemed too full to me, my hair on top too thin. My legs are too thin, my arms too atrophied, my gut too bulbous. I feel unattractive.
I slipped on warm underwear from the dryer, and cold socks from the pile unsorted. I pulled my jeans over my legs and wondered when I last washed them. I suddenly hated my clothes, what little I had. I felt a moment of severe detachment from the world. I almost felt held back by society, chained, imprisoned.
I left my apartment without food. I cannot eat anymore.
As I packed up my laptop, I saw all the things in my life that are useless. Games, CDs, DVDs, weights, musical instruments, books, art supplies – all useless because I cannot bring myself to use the ones that would make me feel better for using my talents, or because I cannot bring myself to stop using the ones that pull me downward into a rut of escapist delusions.
When I finally exited my apartment, I could hear the activity of people in the other apartments, people laughing, people yelling, people having sex. To me, all I heard was the sound of machinery – every man and woman and child a gear, a sprocket, a lever, a pendulum … all of us just a part with a task to be performed. I closed my car door and heard a heavy silence followed by a deep sigh that might have been mine.
The drive to work was not worth my time to focus on. My mind was floating and I gliding down treacherous canyons of construction without really paying attention. The evening before I had felt urges to purposefully cause accidents, but this morning I only felt myself being guided along the streams of traffic. The river welcomed me back to monotony. “I’m glad you’ve decided to do as you are expected to do again,” it said.
As I make my exit to work, I hear my voice in my head say, “I awoke from my slumber this morning to find myself drowning within the depths of a deep and inexorable depression.” I know I must write, as I always do when it is time. Any other time, I find it difficult like trying to drink from a glass of water that hasn’t been refilled by your waiter yet – sure you can get a bit of ice to munch on, but you are left wanting. I want to write metaphorical suggestions of my depression as a tsunami, a supplementary disaster caused by rumblings deep within and far out to sea. I imagine my levees not being strong enough. I see my life swept away, only the most important parts of my life tall enough to survive the onrush of water.
I feel huge pangs of guilt now. I see my potential, my best future, like an obelisk of obsidian rising a thousand feet above the tsunami – indestructible. I should be there close to it. I should let it comfort me. But alas, I flounder in these seas alone and my potential is at a distance, towering over disaster. I realize now that if I continue to distance myself from it, it is going to fall to reach me, spanning the waters with its height turned length. If I let it do this, it won’t be high enough to survive the next tsunami. Oh, deepest regret and tears and shuddering anger at myself and my life. It smacks of stupidity to let a depression such as this detach me from the one thing in my life so solid and so pure.
I float now, wading, waiting. I know how to swim, but it hurts. It pains me to have to swim across to the future through the detritus of my wasted life. I’ll have to face all the things that weren’t worth keeping, all that wasted time. These things are the cause of my depression. All this stupidity that I can’t stop doing.
I imagine my future regarding me from on high, regretting its patience with me. I wonder if it feels frustrated with me, irritated. How could it not, so high above this disaster?