I’m feeling better. This is the moment that always scares me because it is in such close proximity to when I have felt my worst and I can still taste that bitterness and feel how it makes my mouth water as if I’m going to vomit so violently I can feel my stomach spasm. I’m feeling better but I still remember vividly how it was and how it could be.
Depression takes such a strong hold of me when I’m in its throes that I get to a point where I can’t really remember the feelings I had outside of it. It is like somebody reached inside me and took out the best emotions and left only the most shallow, dark, or destructive. I don’t miss being happy in those times because I don’t really believe I was ever happy. I know I was, at some point, logically, the way you just know the sun has risen before and warmed the Earth when you step outside on a morning mid-winter and it’s cold, dark, and you can see your breath more immediately. You have to prepare yourself for the uncomfortable chill that comes from stepping out of a hot shower and even if you’re so cold you can’t physically bring the feeling to your skin, you know that at some point you rushed outside half-clothed, sprinting across the grass to leap in a cold, blue pool. While your mind has memory of it, your body has none, not even the memory of a feeling.
But exiting depression is the opposite, like stepping out of a dark movie theater directly into the mid-day sunlight. It’s almost blinding. You’re glad it’s sunny but the jolt is startling because part of you is still sitting in the dark and trying to decide if you want to leave the familiar comfort of a seat you’ve been in for several hours, only starting to stir and not eager to wake up. You begin to brim with energy at the idea that you have the rest of the Sunday afternoon to get things done, to be productive, and to be outside in your neighborhood and a part of the world but you still know at some point it will get dark again. It won’t always be like this and the night will blanket your world and the dark black of it will fill the spaces between your house and your neighbors’ and between you and anybody else. It makes you enjoy the sunlight more but you do so reservedly this time, unable to love it without abandon. As good as it feels, as much as its energy radiates your skin and your soul stretches satisfying after a long nap, at the back of your mind you’re already afraid of the dark.