I often talk about depression in a certain metaphorical context – that it is a hole that I fall down, like the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland. That it has a certain size and shape, and that if I just reach out my hand I can at least try to reach out to the side to stop the fall through a variety of means. The most usual first action for me, in that regard, is to stop and remind myself that it’s just emotions, that the moment is just the moment, and that I will not feel this way forever. A variety of other self-soothing/self-care/reaching out for help activities might follow.
Since I began taking the Abilify, however, I am shocked by my new sense of just how deep and dark a hole I’d fallen down. The hole I was actually in was nothing like hole I thought I was in. The difference is kind of like the difference between a Columbus-era map of the world, and a current-day satellite map of the world.
Taking Abilify, for me, has been like taking a rocket ship to a spot just above the earth’s atmosphere for an afternoon, and then returning to earth.
I was so much more impaired by depression than I even had the ability to comprehend, until after I began to feel better.
What a reminder of my humanity. My status as a mere mammal on this earth. My vulnerability, I suppose…though I don’t feel vulnerable, so much as I feel relieved, and thankful for the perspective.
And I realize now why I couldn’t accurately describe HOW depressed I was. How variable my moods were. I could name the depression and I could name the mood fluctuations, but could not describe how sharp, or dark or brittle or deep they were, because I didn’t even know. It had been so long since I’d felt fully good and fully functional for any length of time, that impaired had become my normal. A familiar prison.
Even now, I cannot fully describe the hole that I was in because I’m still digesting the experience. I hope that I never fall that far again, but I also realize there are no guarantees. The advice I would give myself would be the same though…it doesn’t matter how far you may fall or have fallen and it doesn’t matter how dark the way may be…you must always seek to grab onto the side. The edge of the map. The edge of the world. To keep from falling off.