As the day has gone by I can’t help but notice the colors, the smells and the textures of everything. Was it like this yesterday? the day before and the day before that? Was the sky really this deep cornflower blue? Did the wind actually feel like this as it ruffled my jacket and pricked the little hairs on my arms?
It is like awakening from a dull dream. A dream without color, or sensation. I am in awe of all that is around me today. I somehow existed without noticing. Without being truly mindful of what was here. It is like some switch has been flipped. I have spent the day reveling in the beauty of the experience. The joy of my unfurling senses coming alive and taking in this vast expanse of stimuli all around me.
I wish there was a way to adequately describe the change, but I find my fingers failing in an attempt to put words on the page.
When the DSM describes depression symptoms it gives you a basic rundown of what needs to exist in order for a person to be clinically depressed. It doesn’t come close to actually describing what the existence in a depression is truly like. It takes a day like today, for me to even comprehend it myself. The degree to which it dulls the senses, and the way it blunts the architecture of the world as we experience it. That isn’t there in the DSM-IV. The slowing of time as we move through it. The way it creates a sensation of treading water, never really moving forward, just fighting to stay afloat. The way the days blur together, no defining edges, or moments, just the monotony of existence. A depressed existence. I think it is as much the absence of stimulus as it is the sadness and hopelessness that makes it so awful. Life is so much more than what we feel. It is what we see and taste and smell. The world brims with so many opportunities for our senses to come alive. In a depression there is no response. The world is still there, just as it was yesterday. I just couldn’t see it, or feel it, let alone taste it.
I think it may have to do with the intensity of the emotions and suffering. There may not be any room for all the world has to offer. It would be too much. so rather than allow ourselves to experience everything, our brain shuts down. Only allows the most severe stimuli to register. Only the most powerful of emotions. Our existence becomes so small and confined. So rife with exhausting emotions with nothing to balance them. It is different when our senses are all alive and functioning. The stress suddenly has to compete with the most beautiful of sunsets, or the deep luscious red of the climbing rose outside the window. There is something more to life than just the negative. There is beauty, there is magnificence. If only we are able to open up our eyes and see it. Depression robs us of this ability. It robs us blind.