A Course of Obstacles
Essays

A Course of Obstacles

I dropped my shoes in a corner of the kitchen and emptied what remained of a flat Coke-a-Cola in the sink. I really need to scrub it with bleach, I thought, noticing the coffee stains and dark scratches on the white of the porcelain. I remembered I’d had the same thought the previous night before bed.

I’d gone on to dream of circling the drain.

Shining the sink had been a nightly ritual I’d long abandoned. Other things on the list of things-let-go: Making the beds. Folding the clothes. Showering daily and after-lunch walks.   

Getting back in the habit would get me out of this rut. Maybe I’ll get around to it tomorrow.

I looked up. Every surface was littered with the debris of our lives.

Piles of papers I’d deemed too important to toss: permission slips from long-ago trips to the fire station or petting zoo. Expired coupons. Coffee-stained registration forms for day camps and soccer clinics, swimming lessons and the neighborhood association.

This rut, as I called it, had clawed into me deep. With its release came a scar that’s still sore to the touch.

If life has a tempo then it’s too fast for me. I feel swollen, somehow. Immobilized. Stuck.

I’ve heard many descriptions for depression in my life: an ocean, wave-laden. A pit of despair. But for me it feels like this: a restless energy. A body trapped. A course of obstacles I can’t make my way through.

A Course of Obstacles

Honey. Honey! I hear him through my haze. Your daughter’s talking to you.

Her eyes are full with three year old pride. I went potty! I even flushed!

There’s a disconnect I try hard to bridge, a line between myself and the person I want to be. Sometimes I fake it, step into a role. I can manage at a party or a meeting of the PTA. I can function. I get through it.

But there are days lately when I cannot muster the energy to do much more than get out my personal Book of Wrongs. (Each chapter is filled with what I shouldn’t have done, but did. What I shouldn’t have said but did.)

Thankfully I never stay stuck long. I know what triggered the current episode and I’ll wade my way through to the other side. It’s mild, really. A blip on the radar screen of my life. A prick that will heal itself until the next tiny thorn pierces the skin.

That’s the thing about depression, and truly, all emotions. They come and go. They land and take flight.

They pass through like a weather front we can sense in our bones. When they change course the rain falls over a faraway valley, washing dry creek beds until they overflow.

Photo Credit: The Hills are Alive/Flickr

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