A Summary Of The Rut
You won’t get into what triggered your depression because that is all moot. Rarely does it matter how a person became depressed because there is a smorgasbord of reasons, events and other miscellanea that result in this unhappy state, and the more important and crucial thing is sorting out how one is going to cope with it for however long it is to be a companion in their life.
You call your own unwanted friend The Rut because that is where it takes you once every few weeks. It pulls you down into a hallow ditch where the walls are covered with your nail marks from the times previous when you stupidly clawed away at them, desperate to escape. Now you know better. Now you know that eventually you will find yourself outside this ditch and you will almost forget what it was like in that dark chamber of melancholia. You’ve learned that the best thing to do while you’re facing your solitary confinement is to accept it as something that happens to you periodically.
A few months ago you got a tattoo that reads, “when she was good she was very, very good and when she was bad she was horrid.” Most people incorrectly think it’s a tongue-in-cheek commentary of your bedroom habits, but in actuality it is the most apt way you have found to describe your life with depression. You say “life with” and not “war against” because you have accepted that depression is something that may be with you for the rest of your life and, if that is the case, you believe it is wiser to learn to cope with it than constantly fight a battle you are destined to lose. Your arms are full of scars of attempting to cope which are the result of self-harm. While the sight of these is frightening to strangers and heartbreaking to your loved ones, to you they are marks of victory. They remind you that you have fallen in The Rut in past and instead of letting it destroy you, you managed to deal. To you, these scars are the souvenirs of a time when you believed you only alternative to be suicide; so, they are the result of a decision which happens to be the lesser of two evils.
Many people wonder what triggers these bouts of depression that take you prisoner and transform the person everyone has known you to be into a morose monster. You tell them that you yourself wonder this as well, but that if you had an answer you’d also have the cure. Secretly, you have some ideas of what causes these moods: disagreements with your mother, an unkind word from a stranger at the wrong time and PMS are the most likely culprits, and more often than not you manage to keep a wide berth between yourself and these things. But recently, it’s been mostly due to a new factor: rejection.
Occupational rejection you’ve gotten well used to, but personal — or worse, romantic — rejection still stings more than you care to admit. It’s funny how you continue to have the utmost faith in your professional skills and none in your personal ones despite the fact that you’ve proven to be more successful personally in the long run. You haven’t a job, but you do have a devoted group of friends who span continents and have dropped everything to remind you that you are worthwhile and loved when you have needed to hear it most. Yet, the fact that you have been paid in past for your professional services and will likely again in future acts as a certificate of legitimacy which maintains your motivation.
However, people, you feel,are likely to befriend anyone so long as it’s at seemingly no risk to them. So, you’ll always look upon your personal accomplishments with suspicion and habitually wonder if you’ve gained a friend or lover because your personality is so coveted or because the other person has low (or no standards) when it comes to choosing who to add to their social circle. This is rot, of course, and in your right mind you see it clearly. But through the shadows of The Rut when your only companions are your dark mood and antagonistic feelings, you manage to convince yourself with astonishing ease that you are insubstantial and worth nobody’s time, energy or love. It’s a feeling that you fall victim to time and time again, and you have started to wonder if the people in your life will one day get sick and tired of having to set you straight and just give up and agree that you aren’t worth it after all. Sometimes, when in the deepest corners of The Rut, you wish that they would realize this as truth for it would give you a legitimate reason to end this unfortunate life with which you have seemingly been cursed.
You have never been able to take that step to end your life, though you have thought of and even planned it in detail. The one time you had the opportunity to do it you stopped short because you realized that it would be the real deal this time: no one would be able to save you and you would undoubtedly die. Suddenly you realized that you didn’t actually want to die so much as just not suffer anymore. For some reason you’ve always associated sleep with peace and when laying in The Rut, sobbing and clutching at your chest which rooms your pained and inconsolable heart, you always resolve that the eternal sleep is the only viable solution.
Sometimes you’ll smell something — a hot dish prepared, some candy you used to devour as a child, the air on a humid summer day — which you unknowingly have linked so strongly to your happy, carefree childhood that upon the activation of your olfactory senses your throat will be unable to keep itself from giving out a quiet, injured moan. It’s as if the thought of the happiness that once summarized your life is such a long-forgotten memory that the reminder that you were ever so much at peace is both unbelievable and enviable.
It’s taken a long time, but you’re finally starting to see that you can live with this. It isn’t easy and you will never be as carefree as you were in youth, but it is not impossible to maintain that version of yourself of which you are so proud. The version of yourself who illustrates with words and is touched by all art, who is lovely and quirky, and who is beautiful in many ways despite having such a troubled soul. The burst of the dark cloud that has been nestled in you for the last week is an opportunity to start afresh and make the most of your time with your pleasant self before you inevitably fall back into The Rut. Instead of lamenting your periodic descent into The Rut, you have finally started to enjoy your time outside of it.