Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Hide or seek

My bed, like my grave,

seems the safest place to hide.

Life runs past. I lose.

It's an old habit of mine, sleeping away life. I'm sure a lot of people with depression can relate to it. It's not just the fatigue, the total exhaustion that comes from just getting through a day, of faking smiles and saying, "I'm fine", or even of simpler things like brushing teeth and finding clean clothes to wear. Of bracing oneself to open the front door and step out.

Who was it who called sleep "the little death"? Unconscious to the world, it's the easiest place to slip into and escape from all the terrors that life can appear to hold when I'm depressed. Everything is too hard. Drugs and alcohol are not an option for me. Nor is suicide. I have tried them all and I already know they don't work. But sleep ... sleep is easy, harmless enough? And so comforting (unless there are dreams).

So I sleep. Last month I slept a lot, struggling - not very aggressively - with a bout of major depression. I tell myself it is pre-menstrual. I repeat other people's assurances to myself .. all in my mind .. if I'd just pray .. just be strong. Sweet-intentioned lies that they speak to me - and to themselves.

Deep down, I know it is an illness. But deeper down, I still doubt myself. However, there is one thing I know: like any illness - diabetes, asthma - it may have a lifelong hold on me, but that doesn't mean I have to lie down and take it. I can choose not to play this game. I can choose to wake up. Even games aren't always fun. Snakes and Ladders has its ups and downs. The point is to keep going. Someone will win, someone will lose.

No comments: