yesterday, late afternoon in the office, I suddenly heard a familiar melody float from somewhere down the hall. I sat in my office for a beat or two, trying to place the tune, and then realized it was the debussy rhapsody. I got up and followed the sound to our graphics station, where the interim chorusmaster was studying the piano part.
"I played this in college," I tell him.
"Ah," he says, "so you are a clarinetist." we sit and listen for a moment, the opening peaceful, plaintive. "I'm playing this when I get back to virginia," he saiys "with some teenage kid." the music picks up, drops back, picks up, drops back again. "this part sounds like debussy," he says, "but this part back here was very unusual."
I stand with him through the whole piece, remembering how frustrating that time in my life was, my senior year of college, how I entered the concerto competition at the last moment, without a pianist, only because a professor of mine talked me into it. I didn't feel ready; I was suffering from a terrible depression, and on top of it I had been browbeaten a little by my clarinet teacher for not being ready enough to compete. I walked into the competition knowing I wouldn't win, and then won.
clinton and I sat and listened to the whole thing and just before the end I put my head in my hands. "I can't believe I ever played this," I said, in awe, despondent.
it feels like a small tragedy, to have had that skill and lost it. I try not to look that fact in the face, ever, because it's too big and too hard and too sad.
what it looks like
when you're not depressed it's really hard to understand people who are. because the hardest thing about depression is that there's all this stuff that you know you have to do, and it's stuff that isn't even that hard, but somehow you just do not have the energy.
yesterday I woke up five minutes before my alarm was supposed to go off, and I was still so tired and I thought no way and reset the alarm for an hour later. but then I spent the next 30 minutes in bed feeling riddled with guilt over how I was just there in bed, and not even sleeping, and so probably I should just get up, but I was so tired that I couldn't.
when I finally got up, I cast around pathetically trying to figure out what to wear. I didn't feel that good so I skipped breakfast and just brought a banana in my bag. I showered but didn't dry my hair. all I wanted in the world was to get up and drag all my blankets and pillows into the living room so I could curl up and watch TV all day. instead I managed to put clothes on and clip my hair back and put some things into a bag and go to work. all the while I was thinking that these are ordinary things that to an ordinary person not struggling with her mental health would be easy, thoughtlessly easy.
for me the worst part of depression is not the being sad. I am sad a lot, but not so sad that I'm crying all the time or anything. the worst part is the way everything becomes so heavy and impossible. depression makes everything hard, and on top of it for me there is absolutely no way to shake the "I just have to snap out of this, WHY CAN'T I JUST GRIT MY TEETH AND SNAP OUT OF THIS?" feeling. there is so much guilt about everything right now. I feel so bad about myself, which just contributes to everything feeling sad and impossible.
when things are good, even I can't imagine what it's like to feel like this.