Depression is a hole

Depression is a hole, and it sucks you down again and again. Sometimes subtle, sometimes slow, you wind up in a hole so vast you think it’s a landscape, and you can’t even see the shadowy watercolor of sloping walls at the edges.

Depression is a hole, and specifically, sometimes it’s the small, jarring shock of a pothole that your smooth ride crashes down into when you were driving home in the dark.

Depression is a hole, but sometimes it’s also a pit trap, and it fucking comes out of nowhere when you’re only trying to eat some cherries you saw sitting on the ground.

Depression is a hole, but sometimes it’s also a bunker, and you think it’s pretty cool with the generator-powered TV and VCR and the stacks of Digimon episodes you taped in 2002 and the excuse to eat ramen noodles all day. It’s all glory days until you realize there’s no sunlight.

Depression is a hole, and sometimes you let it dig itself when you know better, you KNOW BETTER, and you watch while a bunch of shovels gleefully fling away the dirt like wizard Mickey Mouse’s animated brooms, and you think it’s all going great because now that there’s a hole you’ll have a far-fetched idea to plant an edible forest garden with lingonberries and chives, and then you realize, “Oh shit, I can’t plant anything in this hole when I’m stuck down here.”

Depression is a hole, and you can walk your way out. You can accrue miles step by step, walking in circles and circles around the bottom, wearing a track until at some point you find a little niche big enough for your toe. And then the pressure of your toe opens the whole thing, and what was a niche is a wide off-ramp-out-ramp, and it curves away up the walls and out of the hole, and you can walk your way out.

Depression is a hole, and you can write your way out. Even though the first few words are hard and heavy, eventually you can scrawl recklessly and type in mad clacking waves, until your hundreds and thousands of words pile up one upon the other, until eventually there’s a hill of gravel. It grows and it grows and you slip and slide as you make your way up, but eventually it fills the hole and you can stride toward the ocean as it collapses into sand behind you.

Depression is a hole and you can draw your way out. You can scribble and scratch, doodle swirling, idle abstractions. Or you can take the time to observe, watch the curve of a line, your eyes flicking up and down from your subject to your paper. You can add shading and find that a bridge pops out at you. And when you let your hand go free and draw the things that aren’t realistic but maybe are needed, you find you have drawn trampolines lining the sides of the hole like mushrooms on a tree trunk, and you jump your way out like a video game character, until you pop up in a meadow, and you walk out and down a cobbled path into a town you saw once in a dream.

Depression is a hole, and you can declutter your way out because sometimes the hole is filled with moldy old furniture like 1970s yellow couches with mysterious stains on tweed fabric. And sometimes there are also old ashtrays and books with worn corners, salad spinners and coin sorters, and you can shove them into boxes, not once or twice, but repeatedly, strategically, until they form a teetering, tottering stair that you can step up precariously until you climb up over the edge and walk out across tiles that shine pearlescent if you don’t look too closely, into an empty mall where you find the fountain you threw pennies in as a child.

Depression is a hole, and you have to engineer your way out again and again, but you can.

And you have to remember that.

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