Usually, in the midst of a hurricane, there will a moment of deceptive calm. This occurs at the center of the hurricane, or the “eye”. It’s typically a circular shaped area that is serene, with blue skies or a clear starry night (depending on the time of day), slight winds and happy sunshine. Or something like that.
The point is, it’s deceptive. It appears calm, everything seems to be over and well and the inexperienced before venture forth into the just-destroyed world. What they don’t know is that in a few minutes, the eye of the hurricane will pass and the destructive cycling winds will once again pick up to re-destroy everything that’s already been destroyed.
It paints such a happy picture doesn’t it? You live through what looks like hell, and just when you see the light, just when you think you’re safe… BOOM. Game over part deux.
It’s not fair. Mother Nature, you are a bitch sometimes.
Depression seems to play the same game. It’s funny how all the destructive things in the world seem to play that game. The problem with depression is that it’s never as consistent. Sometimes that eye of the hurricane actually turns out to be clear weather. Other times, it’s really the eye and wow, you are screwed for letting your guard down.
People assume that in depression, the episode itself is the worst and most debilitating part. I’m not going to downplay this. A depressive episode IS debilitating, restricting and very very frightening. You enter this hazy world where nothing makes sense anymore. Everything you once knew about the world is useless because there’s nothing organized, concrete or logical about depression. The more you struggle to figure it out, the more you sink deeper into a hole that you’re not quite sure you can get out of. It’s suffocating and self-defeating. Depression is not something to take lightly.
However, for me, the most fearful part of an episode is just as it ends. But why, you ask. Isn’t that the light at the end of the tunnel that we all seek? Respite from the constant torment that goes on inside our own heads? But that’s exactly why. It’s because it’s that hope, that light at the end of the tunnel, that makes the end of an episode all the more scary.
Don’t get me wrong. I want that respite. I want that sense of peace and calm. After every episode, I’m so exhausted that all I want to do is embrace it and sleep. But I can’t. I can’t because I just don’t know if this is a false calm, if this is the eye of the hurricane, then the worst is still yet to come. If that’s the case, then my exhaustion needs to be put on hold and I have to get up to fight another battle.
When I tell people that I’m “better”, they all breathe sighs of relief and tell me that’s great. I agree with them, but inside I’m terrified. I’m terrified that my guard will be down when the worst of the storm hits and that this time, I won’t be able to save myself.
I’ve wondered if my terror causes the second wind. Maybe I’m hyping myself up for it. But at the same time, maybe not. Sometimes the storm does come and being worried helps me take the brunt of the hit early on. But just as many times, it’s been a false alarm and I eventually go back to being a somewhat normal human again.
The hard part isn’t being afraid. The hard part isn’t worrying or preparing for the worst.
The hard part is you just never know if you’re better… or if you’re just sitting in the eye.