My co-worker sent me this message when I texted him that I was taking today off, despite the fact that I had taken Monday off as well and prior to that, we were on Christmas break for two weeks.
I rolled out of bed at 2:40pm. It was time. I’ve been exhausted the past couple of days, since new years day really, from battling myself. I’ve lived with depression long enough and know my warning signs and process well enough to know when I’m in danger of falling into a deep pit. And I was in danger.
I had the most hideous dream. I dreamt that I was with people I knew and didn’t know and for whatever reason, we had to kill these dogs in order to keep them from attacking us. We figured out that by killing the more gentle sibling of the attacking dogs, that they would stop.
One of the dogs was a small white poodle who was laying submissively by my feet. The others told me to kill her. I could not. I didn’t see a reason to. So this woman did it, took a small bat and pressed it into her head until it caved. I felt awful. But it was not done.
All the other dogs, the one’s I had killed had died, quickly and painlessly. But she was still alive. So in order to have mercy on her, I pressed the bat into her back, hoping severing her spine would do the trick. But it was not enough. Her little chest gave a sigh and her foot twitched. She had survived. So others tried doing the same in other places, until finally, she was still.
But then my father was convinced that she was still alive. He was concerned about her because she had moved. He swore it. I didn’t want to believe him. It was too painful to imagine. He was insistent and wanted me to lean over her to listen for breathing. I couldn’t, I could barely stand the sight of her poor little beaten body and the blood.
He told my mother to come look. He touched her and her leg flexed. “See, I told you,” he exclaimed. He touched her again and this time she whimpered. Suddenly she was looking at me, whimpering in pain. My heart broke. I couldn’t stand for this poor creature to get beaten again in an effort to put her out of her misery. She had suffered enough at our hands and still survived. So I told my parents, “Maybe we should try saving her instead.”
That’s when I woke up. I felt sad and guilty, like I had unknowingly been a part of torturing a real being. It took me a minute to realize it wasn’t real and thank God for it.
But the more I think about this dream, the more I feel like the helpless white poodle represented me. She survived all the attempts that others and even myself made to finish her off. To kill her spirit. But something inside kept her alive despite those efforts. She would not be killed.
My body is unassuming but my spirit is a voracious giant, strong and powerful, resilient as fuck. This is what others see when I am whole. The strong, scary woman who doesn’t give up. Who keeps going no matter how broken she is or has been.
I feel like my motivation and will to live are in tact. I think the danger of my falling into a deep depression is passing. I can feel my resolve growing. It’s shaky, but it’s there. I may dip and sway, but I feel deep inside of me that I will not get to the level that I almost fell into. Not this time.
There’s intensity in the way I experience life. Every emotion I have is intense. Love, anger, sadness, happiness…I feel all very deeply and completely. My life’s work has been and continues to be figuring out how to find a balance so that I’m not ever consumed with just one emotion.
This fight, the one I’m in, is part of that process. I think I’m doing pretty good considering. I’ve lived most of my young life in grey. I have no intention of going back to it. I’ve experienced colors, vibrant, rich colors and I intend to fight to keep seeing them.
My friends, each person who has shown me love through your concern, I want to thank you. You make this process easier to get through. My heart is filled with your warmth.
I’ll never apologize for my darkness. It’s a part of me, it always will be. But I will fight to never let it consume me. That is a promise.