So I got on the bus in St. Louis to go home, settled in with my new copy of the biography of the Brontë family, and all of a sudden experienced a bout of gut-wrenching, intolerable depression. It felt like everything just went dark and it took all I had not to start screaming and rolling on the floor in pain right there on the bus. This was one of the most horrible experiences I’ve ever had in my life and it was all the more painful because there didn’t seem to be any reason for it.
When I thought I was going to collapse for sure, my sister called me on the phone (we have a connection, so she was bound to call). We talked, and that helped me to get home in one piece. After the fog cleared a little, I started to analyze what could have happened. As I remembered how my day had gone, it became clear what caused the depression.
I’d had the entire day planned out but almost everything I’d envisioned got derailed. One store I wanted to visit was closed because it was Monday, another one was undergoing repairs. I wanted to take a cab but there were none. I took a bus instead, but it was the wrong one. In the meanwhile, I was receiving endless calls from work because people who were supposed to proctor my final exams kept getting confused. I went to Macy’s and discovered it had closed down.
These were all little, insignificant things. Of course, I normally don’t fall apart because I didn’t get to shop, I’m not that insane. But this feeling of planning something enjoyable, looking forward to it, and then seeing all of it collapse around me reminded of a similar yet much greater undoing of all my plans when Eric died.
When I realized what was happening, the pain started to recede.
The reason why I’m writing all this is that it helps me to put things down in writing. However, there is also a lesson we can derive from what I experienced because, depressed or not, I’m still a teacher. All of this blabber about depression being a result of genes, chemical imbalances, hormones, etc. is garbage. There is always a reason. When our psyche tries to tell us something, we should listen. If we disregard its message, there will be hell to pay later on. All week long, I had been stifling my feelings about Eric because it was the last week of the semester, there was a ton of work to do, and I didn’t want to face pain.
“I’ll think about it later,” I kept telling myself.
I’m not an idiot, so I kept wondering whether this avoidance strategy might not be dangerous but I still continued avoiding. And today I got to realize what a mistake this had been.
And now I’m going to sit in Eric’s room and cry until I get it all out. For now.