Revelations on My Shadow

I was sitting in my little corner of space today, part of my universe that I define as myself and I noticed a dark, forbodding shadow that recurs at various times when I least expect it . I said to myself, “self?” What is this black shadow that inhabits my world and causes me chaos. Its part of me , yet not. Why then am I so defensive about it when I notice it and try to understand what it is and what meaning it has in my life.

Why are things so close to what I think is my awareness, seem so familiar and yet feels so alien simeoltaneiously. I ponder these questions often , as I successively review my considerably inadequate existence that others say is meaningful, But I , perhaps in haste, conclude is insignificant and inconsequencial.. How could they possibly be right about me when I am so sure my life has lacked a substantial balance and richness that I envy in others.

I have come to the reluctant conclusion that I suffer from a malady that is so pervasive , and so integrated into my personality, that only at special moments can I see it as a distinct shadow. And only in a fleeting quiet moment when I clear my thoughts of emotions and attempt to listen to what is going on around me in a world that sometimes appears clueless harsh and filled with empty , uncompromising events.

In that isolated moment, I suffer myself an answer. “ why, you jerk, you suffer from depression. Depression? , I respond?, looking at my reflection in the mirror ,” why this is always your pattern of emotional responses since you were a child”, I say to my self who I am now convinced is actually listening to me. Explain yourself , you lurking collage of maladaptive interpretations. Simple, I hear a response in my minds eye. Your depressed, and your greatest problem is that you are so focused on preventing people from seeing your depression , that you cover it over with a sense of false well being, a pattern of cohesive, articulate responses that are so convincing and make so much sense , that your greatest claim to success is your ability to hypnotize people in to thinking you actually make sense.

By now , Im quite confused. Have I confused myself, or has this shadow, which sometimes I think is part of me and sometimes not, layed claim on my rational soul and taken hold of my sense of reality. Shades of Gollum, I think. What is happening to me?, am I really so split in my thoughts and feelings that I have depersonalized myself into a dark slinky wide eyed apparation that actually responds to my own self questions when I find myself perplexed by life, my personal failures, and my hopes and fears for the future that seems so elusive to my touch. Does this mean I am so unable to accept personal responsibility , that I cant accept my own feelings , whether good or bad as mine?.

We all suffer from depression. Some suffer from it more and others less. Some people experience it so severely that it acts as physical and emotional quick sand in their lives, preventing them from acting in ways that give them happiness, and rather reflect neurotic patterns that are so second nature , they go unnoticed.

I think of depression as a big black hole in space, that sucks my energy into it almost unperceptably at first. It comes , often out of nowhere, and encapsulates me before Im aware its even there….and initially uses its long ugly tentacles to pull itself towards me , while im distracted on other things that I deem as legitimate focus’s of my attention.
Once its tentacles encircle me, and I feel its presence moving closer, there is little I can do to counteract and dispel its growing effect on me . I begin to feel the anchor of its weight affecting every movement I make. Every effort I think of , fails to affect its growing pull. Sometimes , the onset of depression is slow and laboured, and at other times its quick and infective over the course of hours. But either way, the nature of its effects on me and on my way of thinking and acting is the same. It becomes part of my shadow that I argue with as if its an external “thing” that contains nothing of the real me.
It confuses me , it questions all the things that I have previously defined as the good me, and it makes all the comments that people say, condescending comments on a life that is by and large inconsequential, and personal acts of achievements as failures in comparison to the lives and accomplishments of others.

I often think of the Renassainse man. What makes a renassainse man so special , is their ability to do so many things well as if its so easy, as they flawlessly move from one ability to another impressing everyone watching them as if they were born with all these traits fully matured and expressive. In comparison to that, Im such a dismal failure, my shadow asserts. Why you have no skills. You have no patience, Your not as attractive , your not as worthy, your not as important, and certainly, No one cares as much for . Just look at your life. What have you really accomplished. Are you rich, where is your creativity, where is your magnanimity?, where is your empathy?

The questions of doubt just keep coming. The self doubt becomes so overwhelming that it looks from the oncoming distance as a sunami approaching and threatening to drown me in an ocean of total uncompromising negativity, that the hopelessness of my location seems only to place suicide as a small path of escape from this deluge of this dark place. What first seemed like a black hole , now becomes a dark world I inhabit that brings no light , and no possibility of relief, short of not existing, not thinking , and not feeling. I have no way to dispel this kind of darkness. My shadow even asserts that I lack the intelligence or the sensitivity to percervere. So it seems quite logical that non existing is a better alternative than continually suffereing the onslaught.

As I review all this, over the course of my life. And as I have tried to see how the evolution of my shadow has progressed as I have gotten older, I have, in certain isolated moments of lucidity come to certain conclusions about how to deal with depression, that help me hold on as if im on a small raft in the middle of a dark current.

Regardless of how deep, I have always had an innate sense that depression is not a permanent state for me. As I recognize that, it helps give me the stamina to hold on and not give into it. I realize that I need to wait till im off the roller coaster ride, when light seems more part of my reality. As part of that line of thinking, I make it a rule not to make any important decisions when im caught in a depressive state. Many decisions that we face may have effects lasting for years after we make them , and may result in other choices that could become available. Therefore I have made it a rule to defer all decisions until after the depression passes, for better or worse. I also honestly acknowlege my desire to “not exist”, and recognize that although the way to get to that point is suicide, I really don’t want suicide as that path. Not existing is another way for me to say that I don’t want to feel bad about myself or that I am hopeless, or that I have no possibility for growth and renewal, so I also recognize that in the end, I do want to exist, but I want an existence where I am happy, where I accomplish something positive, and where my affect on people refects personal growth and insight on their part. So when someone says to me, that what I said makes sense to them, that I feel confident that, I can say ,” yes self, you actually do make sense.”, and feel that in some way, I have become dyogenes holding some kind of light on a path that most people travel at one point or another.

More on this at another time……