April 09, 2013

The flip side to sadness

Ashtrays are filled with smashed-out cigarettes; floor is ubiquitous with junk food wrappings. Knocks on your door go unanswered, tear stained sheets remain unchanged- to find in yourself a spark of interest in something has become an impossible task. Depression turns its sufferer into an emotional black hole. You live surrounded by a virtual moat of very real, mind-numbing sorrow. It leaves little room for anyone else or anything else.

If the urge to hide under your bed, behind locked doors and away from anything that grates at your oyster-shell of sadness, is overcome, you may convince yourself to call a friend. Or if you’re very lucky, your friends may notice your bouts of agoraphobia and call you, literally, out on it.

When your friends ring, you will find yourself unable to focus on what they are saying. You may ring them, but at the slightest hint of them being distracted, you’ll rush back behind that moat. The tragedy here isn’t that you are unable to find comfort in the people that surround you; rather, it is that they lose you, who could have been of some comfort to them.

The friends that ring you may have their own worries: dismissive spouses, dealings with death, career conundrums, parenting anxiety. You, however, will hear none of this. Since even the word love reminds you of your last heartbreak, you will not hear the fear in your friend’s voice when she talks about her up-coming nuptials. Since you’ve long decided you’ve got none, you will not hear how afraid your friends are of the future. The voices of your demons will drown any chances of empathising with those around you, who are also going through a tough time.

Your goddaughter’s birth, your friends’ hard-earned successes: What should be moments of jollity, moments you should celebrate, transform into voodoo pins digging into your heart. You will find yourself unable to participate wholly in someone else’s happiness, because all you can see is a life moving on while yours sinks in a quicksand of sorrow. In the meantime, the people around you will go on, living their lives like the roller coaster that it is. You, however, will remain stuck; numb from the effort of not feeling anything, you’ll have pushed yourself into a corner further dimmed by bitterness.

The saddest part about being sad isn’t that you float through loneliness, or having gnawed lips from holding back tears, or wishing for someone to lean on. It’s the narcissism that sorrow encourages in you. It becomes hard to see beyond your life, your hopes and how they were dashed. The worst part about crying is that it clouds your vision, and so causes you to reject any and all moments that could have held those tears at bay.