Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Darkness Descends

There is a physical sensation of depression. For me it is a pointed drop in energy, extreme lethargy that is not just sleepiness. It is a droning state in which time becomes plastic and all I feel is the desire to curl up in the bed, on the couch, on the floor, anywhere. When sleep comes, it is a blessing because it is an escape from the discomfort of being awake and conscious, but upon waking it can be even harder to face he waking state. Distractions like TV can help pass time, but do not change my state of being. Two hours later I feel the same, but the clock has changed positions.

Monday was this for me. Intellectually I knew I should do something to break the state, get a reprieve from the situation. But in the moment, nothing else exists. Only the draw to lay down, only the desire for time to dissolve, only the wish that I felt better. It is ironic that in these moments when I most need to do something, move, act, change, my hands are the completely tied by the situation and all signs I see point to sitting, staying, and dropping down further into the abyss. It is a seduction I can't resist.

My state included no tears, often it doesn't. Tears are another blessing in a way, because they transform at least the moment into a catharsis. Instead there is just silence in the soul and the more I listen the more silent it is. Being home alone doesn't help, or perhaps it is a grace from the grating presence of others who aren't affected. It is hard to discern when you are in the fog.

I bring all this up, because creating a dance about depression has been an interesting journey in part because I have not felt truly depressed for a while and it is hard to remember the sensations. It is somewhat like being drunk. You can remember you were drunk, but you don't remember exactly what it felt like or what happened. It is masked in the haze of being drunk. But, just as it is hard to work while drunk (some artists might disagree) it is likewise near impossible to work while depressed. Not because you don't want to, but because you are handicapped by the state itself. You are striving to just exist let alone create a dance masterpiece.

Therefore, this writing is my attempt to get down on paper some of the realities of depression as I have just come out of the state, but before I forget it completely. This piece is in many ways the most challenging undertaking I have made. Not just because it is personal, but because it is attempting to concretize something that exists in me as a hazy, fuzzy recollection. Because as real as it is at the time, when gone it is hard to believe it ever existed.

Afternoon State

I curl on the couch
impressions on the cushion fit into the nooks and crannies of my soul
Clock hands pass in time as shadows silently shift positions
I eat, I lie down, I pee, I lie down, I check email, I lie down
I lie down into myself deeper and deeper
disappearing into swirling thoughts that are forgotten as soon as they arrive
Lying with a heaviness that promises sleep
The couch holds me patiently, unmoved by my state
The soul however goes silent when I ask it questions
Undone, I try to wait it out.

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