April 13, 2015


This was the familiar one. The one which, if she let it overtake her, would morph into fear. A sort of quiet panic.

“Perception is reality”. How many times had she contemplated this, yet been unable to wrench herself free of its implications? Her self image, figure to ground, was fractured. An imagination that effortlessly created entire stories around a few, scant details could at once comfort, lull, and sustain her through long hours of solitary inactivity as a growing child; yet, now, that same imagination could displace her from a sense of belonging in any social milieu.

Who were these people, anyway? How much power did they really have over her choices and outcomes? Perhaps life phases had something to do with this. Perhaps hormone levels. Surely that. Still, this whole business of forging “healthy” relationships eluded her.

She certainly knew plenty about the unhealthy kind.

Yes; she knew them all. Dominance. Submission. Acquiescence. Resignation. Martyrdom. Bitterness. These were the hallmarks of her familiarity.

Bewilderment. Gullibility. Oblivion. Then, encroaching self-awareness. Shame. Embarrassment. Mortification.

And, now, Age.

On the one hand, she had so often heard about her gifts, some extraordinary. And, everyone seemed to have notions about how they had appeared and what should be done with them. Was there ever a time when she did not know that she was an artist, a talent, some kind of outstanding person? Certainly, she had forgotten who had decided that this was so.

Somewhere in the middle of all this, the headaches had entered the frame. Finally, a medication which, while capable of removing all the pain, had succeeded in robbing her of enough serotonin sufficient to feel no longer like herself. That self being the person she only dimly remembered.

There used to be a radiant sense of humor. A certain outlook. A way of coping, perhaps, but more a means by which she could connect with interesting people. Now, instead of being the first trigger, it might appear long after everyone had left the room, already tired of her long-winded diatribes and oppressive presence.

Thus, the essence of this depression. Silent panic, watching time suck the energy from the next moment.

Seasonally, her father had died just as the spring showed promise, and her mother at the peak of the stifling summer. Could the whole thing just be a kind of anniversary?

Perhaps a little food, certainly water. Chronic dehydration was the cause of many ills, so said the wellness pundits. She wondered if feeling better might change her outlook. She wondered if a different outlook would change her landscape.

Her inner eyes fixed on that landscape. The image of a moist, soft cake appeared, drizzled with frosting, and she could feel its texture on her tongue. She sat very still, waiting for the craving to pass. Time to take a shower and get something done. There were billions of living humans in the world, some arising, others retiring. Time to face one more day.  Alone.


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