Depression is a motherfucker.

Depression is a motherfucker.  Yeah, I could have thought of a more eloquent adjective, but the thing about the blues is that you are so busy trying not to succumb to feeling low that you don’t have time for thesauruses.  You might get distracted from your original purpose and spend two hours down an internet rabbit hole searching for the etymology of the word, “loblolly.”  Trust me, it has happened.

Another thing about depression is that it’s already telling you that everyone already hates you, so why not throw in some curse words to really draw the line in the sand.  It will beckon you to scream and offend to defy anyone who might be having doubts about your put-togetheredness.  Is that a word?  It is now.  Depression said so.

Wanna grow your depression?  Spend lots of time on social media.  Everyone is hotter, having more fun, with more people, and birthing more babies than you.  I bet none of those people are depressed.

Depression likes hyperbole and absolutes:  It will always be like this.  You will never succeed.  You have completely failed.  Everyone hates you.  And maybe you read that and think, “Oh gosh, how can you say that?”  And then want to present me with facts to the contrary.  Save your efforts, because this isn’t a fight you can win.  Depression is a fine boxer.  Just when you block the jab, it will come in for the uppercut.  It has fancy footwork.  When you think you have it down, it will dredge up that one time you said something really dumb in fifth grade.  How dare you even think you could win?  Depression doesn’t have rules, standards, or ethics.  No punch can be too below the belt.  There is no belt.

But Depression is flexible.  I can shove it into a box to teach a class or go to the grocery store, but sometimes it spills out.  Oh, someone just saw my depression…something else to be depressed about.  I’ve had people tell me that I shouldn’t put it in a box.  That I should get in front of a room of people and “speak to my present experience.”  When I figure out the right way to say, “Everything feels bleak, heavy, and alone, and although I know logically that’s not true it feels real as my two hands.  I’d like to wrap that all up with a bow and tell you how to fix it with this pose or this breath, but I have no fucking clue.  There are no clear answers.  We’re all driving blind.  Child’s pose, please.” I will let you know.  I can’t decide whether that would be the best class ever or if people would run screaming from the building.  Again, depression speaks in absolutes.

So, I’m letting my depression air out a bit.  It turns out when you shove it into a box, it just ends up leaking everywhere.  Maybe one of the good things about depression is that it takes all the fucks you have to give, and you don’t have the will anymore to try to hide your leaky depression box, your watery eyes, or your shaky inhales.  You are pretty sure that people will be turned off by the open acknowledgment of personal pain, but depression already convinced you that there was nothing left to lose.  And sometimes….just sometimes you CAN use that against depression.  When there’s nothing left to lose, no reason to hide, and no one left to impress you can be open about it.  And while depression had you convinced that no one cared or understood, you will find some that do.  True, not everyone will.  Some are holding onto their own depression boxes so tightly they will run at the sight of you opening yours up.

But the people who will sit with you, your depression, the box you jammed it in, the seemingly endless mess it created, and be steady through your tears and shuddering can see you through.  And maybe your depression says, “you don’t have anyone like that around.”  That may or may not be true.  Depression is a damn liar after all.  We can always learn to see ourselves through (mental health care professionals can help too).

Buddhist teacher, Reggie Ray, says that when you get really depressed and you can’t see a way out, you can always offer your depression to the gods. “They love the display,” he says.  And up until recently, I thought this depression offering was me sitting down and praying that someone or something take this shitty feeling away.  I would lie in bed and cry, “Here, you can have this now.  I’m done with it.  I swear.”  And I think about what Reggie said…they love the display.  The show of it.  They don’t want my crusty hidden secret depression.  They want my open, devotional, and theatrical depression.  If you were to make an offer to a god, you wouldn’t give it something dirty or shameful.  You would offer a prized possession.  Here’s my depression, sealed in a delicious fruit pie, or contained in this family heirloom necklace.  Take this precious thing.  It has been my greatest protector, a companion to me always, and even my best teacher.

But…I’m not there, yet.

Until then I’m sticking to the old reliables: cuddles with my husband, walks outside, writing, yoga, airing out what I can, crying if I need to, and not judging myself.  These are the offerings I can afford right now.