This is what it’s like:
Thoughts tear through you. Sometimes they crush and hollow you. Sometimes they conquer and torture you. And sometimes they push you to the brink and abandon you. They sometimes abandon you.
That’s the worst part, the inexplicable part: when you’re sitting on the ground at night, gazing at the tapestry overhead, fighting to step outside yourself, to scramble over the barricade of self and to flee to the other side; when you’re connecting the stars like dots and trying to focus on the sensations surrounding you, to try to escape the experience of you, you eventually at some point realize the emptiness and the hollowness and the drenched-to-the-marrow sadness devouring you dines on meat devoid of thought.
That’s when the situation seems unbearable—and tragic. When your emptiness and depression gnaws on you without a thought to trigger it, without a series of thoughts to sustain it, and your own sadness fuels a deeper sadness, you know the auguries seem grim.
And that’s the thing:
Your existence becomes a sort of double-helix of torment and sadness, and an unspoken or unexpressed—or even ineffable—acknowledgment links the torment and the sadness, and deepens the experience. And so even when you try to think, to distract yourself, you end on the terminus of a road truncated by self-awareness, by the awareness of dread and emptiness and futility.
And the physiology of depression mirrors the psychology of depression, and so even the meat of your body heightens the awareness of the depth of your emptiness. It sinks into your flesh and muscles, and so you feel weighted, like a piece of cloth drenched with water. Your flesh and muscles absorb the emptiness, the depression; and movement presents complications: like your body converts the depression itself into lactic acid and pushes out the oxygen, and you feel weighted, as if each step threatens to buckle your knees, and so you at some point limit your movement—or stop moving altogether.
This, of course, presents a sort of paradox: how can you feel both empty and weighted? And why does acknowledging either emptiness or weightiness produce a feeling not unlike crying but devoid of tears?
And that’s when you know the depression has metastasized—when you experience the physical and emotional sensations of crying without displaying the behaviors associated with them. And so you display no overt symptoms of your emptiness, which is something you tend to avoid without trying, really. But then you probably don’t even understand the calculus of your actions to begin with, so what the fuck does it matter whether you cry overtly or covertly?
It’s not like you intend to hide your emptiness, by the way; it’s not like you’re an actor playing a role, it’s not like you want people to think you’re fine or healthy or whatever: the problem is the nature of your emptiness; it so thoroughly devours you, and you so thoroughly absorb it, that for all outward appearances you are, at best, tired or grumpy or maybe even devoid of personality. And the ambivalence you project, the mixed thoughts you express—re: life, the universe, “reality,” and so on—assumes a sort of personification of the opposite of depression.
And that’s another thing:
An inability to articulate your torment, your emptiness, your pain blurs the line between arrogance and depression. Like, for example, you exist in a more or less perpetual state of struggling to articulate something with which you’re familiar, but the familiarity manifests itself in terms of physiology and psychology, and so putting it into words is more or less impossible. Like imagine the core of your existence, the feelings and sensations by which you’re defined, merge somewhere between your brain and body and vanish before it reaches the tip of your tongue. Then the tip of the tongue phenomenon heightens every moment of your life, which manufactures a new level of torment: like intuition suggests freedom lies on the other side of articulation, but you can’t articulate the feelings and sensations with which you’re intimate, and so you exist in a perpetual state of knowing what to articulate without knowing how to articulate it.
And so the failure to speak the ineffable, to transfer those sensations into sounds, to fucking share them, distracts you. Then when someone speaks to you, they trigger a response, and so you’re forced to respond to them while still struggling to articulate your torment, your depression, your emptiness. Speaking, then, becomes a fucking chore, and still struggling with the tip of the tongue phenomenon, you sort of bark out a response for the person speaking to you, and the staccato or abrupt nature of your response blurs the line between arrogance and depression even further, and so then pretty much everyone perceives you as an asshole—or least a strange specimen—which in turn furthers your desire to articulate the feelings and sensations devouring you. Like if only you could explain that the struggle against the tip of the tongue phenomenon warped and perverted your intonations. Like maybe people wouldn’t think you were arrogant or strange or whatever if you could only explain your emptiness.
So you sit and glance at the tapestry overhead, watching cigarette smoke curl away from you. The smoke collides and evaporates as you acknowledge your emptiness and weightiness, as you struggle to articulate the force beneath both sensations. This, of course, is done entirely without the aid of language. You neither speak aloud nor inside your head—it’s more of an intuitive state of existence, a state of mind-numbing emptiness. And this, of course, is part of the problem: if you could formulate the words and the sentences inside your head, then you could eventually push them over your tongue and past your lips.
Glancing from the sky to your hands, you picture your body and imagine yourself, almost as if viewing yourself from outside yourself, and acknowledge a feeling of awe, a feeling conjured by the act of wondering how so little meat creates so much torment, emptiness, and pain—enough to fill an entire galaxy. And so you cry without betraying the behavior, and you, at the very least, wish that you could betray the behavior.
But then … what the fuck does it matter, anyway?