The public term is depression. But, what the hell does depression mean? I don’t know.
I know it doesn’t seem to remotely address the myriad aspects of darkness I experience.
A friend denoted a few that seem to fit much more descriptively-if possibly too complicated for use in simple conversation with the masses. I’ll use a little of her explanation and some of my own to outline some of my experience of this darkness.
Quiet, introverted, guarded, unsocial. This is a time when I seem to be unable to handle very much physical touch (this from someone who is a touchy-feely, huggy, lovey-dovey cuddler). I literally feel tingly all over my skin and the lightest touch can be as significant as someone dragging their nails across the chalk board-except its on MY SKIN. I can’t handle loud noises (from someone who is notorious for playing music as loud as the system will allow). I find interruptions beyond annoying-they infuriate me. Groups of people can send me into aggressive bull-dog behavior patterns.
I just feel a NEED, a desperate need like starvation-to curl up in the hot tub with a book, to escape, to hide. I tell my lovers, I need to go to my hidey-hole. A reference to a silly vampire book where the vamp went to his hidey-hole during the day to “recharge” and avoid the sunlight.
I tend to read a lot, write a lot, sleep little, workout little, socialize little. This darkness isn’t black. It’s just…. well much like I envision the mother of a character in one of the Kushiel books (maybe the 4th or 5th book)-who raises her daughter in the woods alone. She avoids towns, people, and communes with nature. It’s an alone place. Where I MIGHT be willing to allow one or two people in (not together) for a SHORT period of time IF they are able to be silent watchers.
Generally, this time is a time when I crave my son’s companionship-because he and I can silently sit together in a room or outdoors and never feel the need to speak. We can sense one anothers love and support, without interrupting the… internal mental and emotional “work” that we’re doing individually. We can commune-without speaking or touching or even acknowledging one anothers presence.
But, I can’t stand the presence of most people because they have to interrupt the silence OR just as significantly, they are silent in that way that you can FEEL they are not TRULY present. Both are emotionally destructive for me in the cave. If someone is going to be with me, I need them to be present and connected by the sinuous, invisible fibers of emotional and intellectual connection-but quiet, pensive almost-but in a more positive way then that word evokes images of, conscious and calm.
Lost in Quicksand
This is a frightening place. Not painful, but terrorizing. I’m reminded of the horse in The Never Ending Story, Atreu’s friend.
My mind feels confused, confounded, unable to put together the pieces of the puzzle that allow me to operate daily. I become anxious and jumpy, distrustful. I long for a solid, reassuring arm wrapped around me snugly, supporting and protecting me from the unknown threat I perceive. I need the person near me to be strong, almost forcefully so. Someone ready and willing to pull me from the corner of the shower floor and into their lap, curl me up in the safety of their arms and be the “watcher” so I can close my eyes and let go.
I can’t handle questions. I don’t know how to find the answers. As though I’m in a room made of file drawers, all filled with millions of answers-but uneducated in the order they are filed in. Just considering the possibilities is overwhelming.
I cry easily, and feel shaky. I lock myself in bathrooms with the lights off, running hot water because the steam seems to “hide” me from whatever it is that is plaguing me, attacking my mind and leaving me lost in confusion. The noise of the running water shuts out the overwhelmingly distracting noise that surrounds me and invades me. Some of the noise is my own panic thoughts-but they are compounded by the sounds of daily life that I can’t manage to comprehend.
I absolutely can not handle strangers or even most people I would identify as friends. The paranoia, the fear, the confusion, all combine to make the presence of another person “work”.
People who want to “help” ask questions, make suggestions-they talk. The sound of their voices is like screeching birds of prey and I can’t make sense of any of their words through the sense of terror-filled need to escape their attack. This can push me over the edge to the next place.
My hands over my ears, fingers in my ears to block all sound, I breathe through my teeth, intentionally making a hissing noise that blocks sound and echoes in my ears due to my fingers plugging them. The need to release the pain and agony that writhes inside of me like a growing snake consumes my mind. I rock rhythmically, eyes closed, desperate to wait out the urgent need to draw my own blood and let out the pressure. I can’t ask for help, because the sound of my own voice is too much if I could get it to say the words, but I’m too afraid that other words would come out if I opened my mouth.
If it doesn’t stop, if I can’t get out of it-the blood flows, so I can avoid the last.
I seek ways to commit suicide. The blackness is complete, I can’t even manage to fight the attack, because I’m already locked in chains.
(images from the films mentioned)