Signs and Symptoms of Depression

A slow burn, perhaps.

Many years ago, a troubled, depressed young man lay in his apartment, wallowing in darkness only deepened when he woke up in the morning and realized he couldn’t sleep in.

Desperate to find relief from his thoughts, he took out his cat, stroked its soft fur, and felt the thick muscled folds of his depression come undone.

So he lay down in the moonlight and watched it move under his eyelids, imagining all the emotions swirling beneath the surface, trying to decipher them as his fingers moved through the soft fur.

And he thought of depression itself, with all its implications, and what he’d been feeling lately.

Depression, even in its mild form, had been a part of him for years.

Of all the times he’d been depressed, he’d been depressed most often since he’d moved to Florida and had no one to share his feelings with.

What kind of life was that?

He could understand why people attempted suicide because he knew the deadly danger.

The instinct to avoid it, even when a stranger gave you the opportunity, was just as strong, but he was much stronger.

So even if he couldn’t understand why people wanted to end their lives, and even if he could never understand, just as he had never felt suicidal himself, he knew what to do to prevent suicide.

He wasn’t one of those types who believed a person was indestructible.

Of course, he believed a person had the power to survive any illness or sickness or circumstance, but he also knew people were so depressed they couldn’t take care of themselves and maybe wouldn’t take care of anyone else.

So he sat up in bed and got out of bed and made a long-overdue trip to his local Walgreens.

He filled the prescription and hoped it would begin his descent to the eventual light that would shine within, revealing the beautiful depth beneath.

But it didn’t.

Depression still controlled him, and depression won the battle.

And it wasn’t depression that stopped him from seeing the beauty and strength within.

It was an overbearing depression that robbed him of the ability to feel it.

But depression could not stop him from trying.

And so he stayed awake for the next few nights.

Sat up in the darkness, searching for that elusive light beneath the darkness, searching for that inner beauty.

But all he found was the darkness around him.

He kept searching for that inner light, hoping when he found it it would overcome and perhaps even turn the darkness to gold, like the two stars that shine in the darkness of the sky at night, but all he ever found was darkness.

Days passed.

The cold, heartless winter stretched to its bitter end and spring approached.

The days warmed and the water in the pool began to flow, gently moving the water and inviting him to the cool water’s embrace.

But that didn’t happen.

He went to the pool and sat on the benches, leaned against the concrete wall, and stared out into the darkness, feeling the emptiness.

All he could see were the endless stretches of darkness around him, marking his passage through the endless days of the winter.

And his gaze traced back to his own existence and considered the agony he’d endured, and all the time he’d spent in hopelessness and despair, from that moment when his mother died, over twenty years ago, all the way until today, when he had to face that loss again.

He felt anger, and his fury was matched by his compassion for the darkness around him.

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