One of the most prominent thoughts I’ve had during my depression was a sense of deconstruction.
Instead of seeing my home as my home, it was only a building with four walls. It was knick-knacks and glass windows. I saw the house as it had been in the past. I thought about all the people who lived there before us and how they might have decorated it. The house was no longer my home. It was just a building constructed on a plot of land, and even the land didn’t feel like home to me any longer. It was just grass and concrete with too many cracks and a line of dying pine trees that were far past their prime. I thought about all the people who would live there after us. I imagined what it would be like when the house was no longer there, after it had been demolished or so old that it fell into disrepair. I viewed all of these things instantaneously, all at once, and it overwhelmed me, like the timeline stretched out before me and I couldn’t discern what was the present and what was the past or future.
Instead of seeing Pittsburgh as my city, I viewed it as any empty place with no one in it. There were no connections there for me. There were no memories to make it mine. There was no way to know the people in that city. I imagined what the city was like before I was there, and what it would be like in the future. I thought about how the city would be unchanged if I wasn’t there. I thought about how everything would be unchanged if I wasn’t there.
I no longer saw myself as part of the world. I viewed myself as an isolated being, disconnected from everything and everyone. The only comfort I had during this time was my art, my writing, which helped me leech some of that poison from my mind, but only temporarily before it returned. It was difficult to focus on the joys of simple pleasures. Food lost all taste, chores seemed redundant and pointless. Instead of living in the moment, I was stretched across the entire timeline of my life, seeing everything all at once.
It’s difficult to find meaning in your life when you see everything all at once, if you see all the possible ways it could end, and all of them are a disappointment to you. It is because of this timestretch that I adopted a general feeling of “why bother”. What’s the point in doing a load of laundry if it’s going to be there again in a week anyways. Why bother putting on makeup in the morning if you just have to take it off at night, and who has the energy to do that?
Some days I didn’t even want to get out of bed because I knew the daily routine, I knew how it ended every time, and I found no joy in it. Every day was exactly the same.
I no longer feel this way. Things are getting better for me. The obtuse view of life has finally narrowed enough for me to focus on the things that bring me joy. Like the opposite of tunnel vision, the narrowing brought my attention back to the small details of life. I began to take interest in cooking again, trying new recipes and finding excitement in the finished outcome. I come home now and see it as a place full of my own memories, things I had forgotten, and more than that, I see the potential for all the wonderful things that I can make happen there. I think about how wonderful it would be to sit in a nice clean room with a freshly vacuumed floor and enjoy some of my favorite food while watching a show that I like.
Life really is about the small pleasures, and for a person with depression, those finer details become lost in the overwhelming darkness. I just wanted to explore this feeling I’ve had in the past through writing. Can any of you relate to this? I’d love to hear from you!