Describing Depression: A Ship’s Analogy

6:00 am…

It’s Saturday, and the first thing that crossed my mind when I opened my eyes somewhere around 5:30am is disappointment. I wasn’t sleeping the sleep of forever.

*deeps breath*

Instead of regaling you with my depressive thoughts, I want to take a moment to explain depression while it’s striking me here and hard at this time. I’ve tried to do this a number of times, but the words wouldn’t come.

It’s always easiest to describe something while I’m in the middle of it.

Depression.

There are different levels of depression. It ranges from feeling “gray” regardless of the environment or events around a person to actively attempting suicide or, in my case, disappointed that when I closed my eyes the night before, I’ve come to open them again.

If your first notion as you read this post is to open up a message box to me to remind me of how you’re there and love me, that you’re all there for me, keep reading. There’s no need for that level of desperation. I already know all you can say, and possibly even more. ❤

If I have to describe my depression right now, I’ll have to give you a scenario of what a good day looks like to me. First and foremost, I have to apologize to a lot of seafarers and people who live by the sea, use the sea, and basically live with the sea.

Let’s pretend that I’m a ship/boat/large vessel on the vast ocean that is following a coastline from destination A to B.

Good days are when the skies are blue, cotton like clouds in the sky, and I can basically see as far as the curve of the globe makes the horizon dip against the ocean line. In the distance is the shore, and on top of that shore is a lighthouse.

That lighthouse is where all the people who mean a lot to me are. The candles they hold to illuminate the darkness lights up that lighthouse. That’s the place I look to when the seas are stormy and the sky isn’t bright and blue.

Depression would be the type of storms that can meander through. Some days, there aren’t any storms. Other days, it could be a light drizzle, or a persistent one. Other days, a tropical dip may come in. Hurricanes. Typhoons. Monsoons. Tsunamis. The list goes on.

Which means the visibility of that lighthouse is dependent upon how light or heavy the storm is. Right now, the storm is heavy enough to limit visibility to no more than 10 feet. The oceans are tossing me up, down, left, right, and like every Captain of every sea vessel, one hopes that the anchor – signifying everything that me as a person would have in my arsenal to keep me afloat – would hold.

I can’t see the lighthouse.

I may or may not sound the horn of my distress.

And this, dear readers, is what it may look like from the lighthouse’s perspective.

Friends can see that storm as well as I can because they know me. They know those storms as depression, and the well-versed ones will usually be on the lookout – like a master interpreting the signs at the horizon to know what kind of storm is brewing.

They’re listening for the horn of distress when the storm has hit… and continues to hit. Because just as I can’t see them, they can’t see me. It is always more difficult seeing from the light into the darkness. It’s like having the sun in one’s face, if I can describe it as such. They don’t really know what condition that I might be in through the depression.

So when I hit that horn of distress, they try to answer.

They light every candle they can find. Some of them try to figure out what kind of giant bonfire could be executed to make that small flame more visible in the howling winds, the pouring rain, and the turbulent seas.

Friends and the people who mean a lot to us are the proverbial light in the darkness.

Only depression’s darkness isn’t still. It’s not like standing in a dark room without light. Depression is like the hell storms that take a coast, that make people bunker down and stock up or pack the family into a vehicle and travel to a safer location.

People like to say “You’re not alone.” They also like to say, “Remember those who love you.”

I understand I’m not alone. I also know there are those who love me and will be horrendously saddened by my departure – if my ship was to sink, if I was to sink beneath the ocean waves. I would be lost, and it would be incredibly selfish of me to think “It’s because nobody cared in the first place.” However, those thoughts will emerge 9 times out of 10.

That is the depression – the storm – talking. The storm wouldn’t care about me, and it’ll make me think that because of its veracity, no one can come help me. That’s what fuels the thought that people didn’t care. I was alone.

A part of that is obviously false. Another part of it is true. I also believe that it is from the understanding of this that I’ve managed to turn, time and time again, back to the people I know who cared about me. It stays the hand holding the blade. It stays the hand holding the bottle of pills. It stays the hand that is determined to cause self-harm and self-demise.

It is because I understood that at a certain point of my depression, I am very much alone… But…

I am not abandoned.

That’s the difference.

Those who love me are there, but I can’t see them except for a random flicker or an errant, more powerful ray of light before the storms veiled the lighthouse again.

This part of depression, the part that often determines whether one lives or one dies by one’s own hand, is the most terrifying part of all. Sometimes we have drugs – like the passing of a storm – for things to settle back down. At that point we are able to reassess where we are, see the damages, and repair if possible. We can see the rays of light from the lighthouse pushing through the rain and the darkness for us to reset a course and find our way back to the ones we love and care about us, to mend the other parts we couldn’t fix ourselves…

Like a ship going back to port for needed repairs after a storm.

Not everyone has access to medication. Whether it’s because there was never an official diagnosis – due to lack of affordability or time, or one simply couldn’t afford the drugs…

Some of us simply had bad experiences and never gathered enough strength to begin again with someone new.

As for me, I’m like that ship caught through 2 storms, back-to-back, and I’m fighting it in hopes that the storm will break soon. It may. It may not.

But I hope this has given some of you a little bit of extra insight to what depression may really feel like from the POV of the person going through it.

~*~

Until next time, Wynter.

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While On Hiatus: Post 2

“Healing and Self-Knowledge: The Call of a Raven”

As I pulled the miles of ivy roots hand-over-hand out of the ground and grunted through the feeling of hands rubbed raw and carpal tunneled wrists pinging from hours of work already, a lone raven circles overhead to eventually come to a stop on the tree I was working under. It would caw at the surroundings for a full minute before taking off  and settling on another tree. More cawing. More circling and hitting the tree I was under, and it would do that for a good duration before going to wherever the rest of its brethren were congregating – most likely the roof of some poor home quarter of a mile north of where my house is. That was where they were two years ago. Directly across from my neighborhood park.

“Don’t overdo it, lass,” it seems to be saying to me. “This is supposed to be about healing.”

“Oh, I know,” I’ll reply back as I glance up. “And swinging this pick axe is quite stress relieving.”

“Surely, lass,” it would caw. “But you have young ‘uns. Remember to take care of you so you can take care of them.” (Have I mentioned I have quite the imagination and I often talk to the wildlife that meanders through when I think no one else can hear me? I have trouble with the deer, however, as they are quite skittish animals and run at the first sound that isn’t Mother Nature.)

With a grin and a crack of laughter, I thanked the bird for its concern and hefted the pick axe over my head as I chased a thorn bush root. Those bastard things are not allowed to linger in my yard. Not with young ‘uns around.

This lone Raven has been visiting me everyday I’ve worked outside. Everyday it will land on a tree close to me if a tree directly over me wasn’t an option. Every time it will caw. No other raven ever came to join it. For whatever nature’s reason this may be, I choose to take it symbolically.

For those of you who read/follow/dabble in the arts of spiritual animals and their symbolism, a raven signifies introspection and healing. There are others, of course – courage, self-knowledge, magic and mysticism, creation and rebirth, the keeper of secrets, and plenty others.

This Raven appeared exactly 2 days before I slammed the door on the world for a Hiatus. I haven’t felt the urge to come back yet, and this Raven lingers from one day to the next. I have something I am to accomplish for me, and it seems that as long as this Raven is around, I’m still on my journey of Healing and Learning-About-Me and am quite at peace with whatever it is I am doing for now – yard work, cooking, projects, writing, and planning. Lots of planning.

And coming to terms with a deed of the past that haunts me in the darkest of corners.

Yes, I am well aware the Raven might’ve just been hanging about to see if there was something edible it could snag from me. Unfortunately for it, I don’t typically have food outside when I work. All I have is a bottle of water cut with cranberry juice for the sugar kick. I sweat like a torrential downpour when I work during the Spring, Summer, and Fall months.

It’s not a coincidence I call myself Wynter. 🙂

There are numerous hawks in my area, and there is also an owl who I pay close attention to, also for symbolic purposes. I have an affinity for owls. The one that lives near by doesn’t always hoot during the daylight hours, but when it does at a time I can hear it, I learn to watch for things. Changes, it would warn, and those can either be good or bad.

So… where am I going with this?

Porn is such a big industry, isn’t it? One that entices millions every year. When I first joined Tumblr, I was in awe at how much accessibility – legally or illegally – this medium provided everybody uncensored everything. Sure, I followed a few of these risque blogs myself… until last night.

I’d gone and purged my list on Tumblr follows. I enjoy reading the Astrology things, Spiritual things, even magic and anime and fanfiction. I love the photography that graces me each day from various parts of the world that showed me there is something very much worth fighting for in the big picture. I love interacting with the friends I’ve made, and I love their blogs and the content their blogs bring – risque included. I’m just tired of all the other stuff. I don’t care about the fashion, about the models, about the nudity for the sake of nudity, about so much else. What ended up happening was how much time Tumblr was taking up because I’m scrolling through picture after picture of things I don’t care about.

Time that was better spent working outside or writing on the couch. I loving my Book 2 right now. I want to keep pushing with time that is now reclaimed from the depths of waste. Book 3 is already itching to get out of my head.

So now, with the exception of the pretty pictures my friends post on their blog, there are no more porn on my Dashboard, and having been back this morning to take a look at my handy work, I find myself smiling at the clean feeling of it all.

I was never a highly social person. I like keeping to the walls and in the shadows. I like seeing people. I get scared when people see me (but I’m working on this). I affect the world around me in subtle ways. Changing that makes my world hum an ugly tune, and it buries me.

Finding myself, right? I’m sure the Raven would caw its approval later. Today is too wet to be working outside thanks to the much needed rain last night. New Jersey has been dry this season, humidity levels barely scraping into the 20s (that’s in Percentage). Most days, it’s between 16-18%. Even now, after the rain, it is only registering at 33% humidity outside. Burlington county already lost 4 acres of forest to the fire that broke out. We are simply lucky in that we have seen plenty of rain thus far and the fire fighters have water to fight the flames with.

California and Oregon is not going to be so lucky this year. Keep your thoughts and prayers for these dry states. We are going to see a rise in produce prices as some of the big producers are getting a big hit from the weather. The years of plenty are giving way to years of little. It seems to be a lesson we’ve been long overdue for a revisit.

As the day dry out, I’ll probably be back outside on Thursday or Friday, through the weekend and to keep going. There will still be little of me to be seen online because we have trees to drop, playgrounds to budget and buy (or create depending on what the kids want), and a deck to go out back that I desperately want.

Until then, you can find me commenting and participating along with AF Henley’s Blog Tour that started this past Sunday (May 3) and will run for 13 individual days. As of today, his newest release – Baby’s On Fire – is now out and rockin’ it. Just be warned that it is an m/m romance novel that contains some explicit (tasteful) content. Pick it up on Amazon (Kindle | Paperback), Barnes and Noble, Less Than Three Press (Ebook | Paperback), or anywhere else you’d prefer. There is a lottery running tour wide where AF Henley will give the winner of the draw a SIGNED copy of his novel *crosses fingers and toes*, a gift card to Less Than Three Press, and a set of earrings. Drop on by. Try your luck.

Until next time.

~ Wynter ❤