I once read that being depressed meant living in a constant state of arousal. This arousal is not of the sexual kind, but a state of emotional hyper-sensitivity, I guess. It took me a while to get my head around it but now it makes complete sense.
I imagine a small bell, made of flimsy metal. I see it being strung out on this wooden post, on a vast treeless plain which is constantly buffeted by strong winds and gentle breezes. The bell is at the mercy of these winds’ even the slightest murmur makes it ring frantically. I am that bell. The smallest murmur, the slightest shift sets me swinging crazily.
It is a sobering moment when you realise that you fit the ‘crazy stereotype’. The unexplained reactions, the rapid oscillation from happiness to sadness to numbness in between, to the times when you think that your mind is running so fast in zigzag lines that you will be unable to keep up.
Why do we find it easier to recognise and accept a physical infection as opposed to a ‘mental infection’? Why does the very idea of being ‘mentally sick’ repulse us far more than being physically sick? I think this is because at some level we still look at our bodies as an external part of our being, if that makes any sense at all. I look at an open wound on my arm; the tangible, visual nature of the wound is also reassuring in a strange way. You look at a physical wound with some detachment, almost as if it is happening ‘outside’ you, so to speak.
Our minds, oh boy is quite another story, isn’t it? We regard our minds with an intimacy, a sense of possessiveness. Our minds set us apart from the millions of bodies that we set around us. Our minds can’t be seen, but we know that they are our prized possessions, to be jealously guarded and kissed. When our minds fall ill, we are devastated, we are broken. It is almost like something in our deepest core has been tainted.
Thanks truly to popular culture, depression is almost fashionable until it isn’t fashionable. Until the days of staring blankly at a computer screen, the ever increasing stench of an unwashed body, the unspoken yet constant craving for a kind touch and the headaches of one untimely nap too many start hammering their way into existence.
Living like this makes me feel like I am a figure made of ill-fitting jigsaw puzzle pieces. The cardboard pieces have frayed edges and shift around uncomfortably every time I walk. Also more importantly, there’s a piece missing in me. Yet somehow, I can never find it.