TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Editorials

February 1, 2013

Into the abyss and back

CORBIN — Why don’t you want to?

I’m not in the mood.

Why not?

I don’t know.

So, what kind of mood are you in?

I don’t know.

Do you want to talk about it?

No.

Why not?

I’m not in the mood.

Why?

I don’t know.

And around and around... and... around.

It seems all of us have been on one end of that conversation at one time or another. Although, I don’t think anyone sees it as being much of a conversation.

Who knows what can send a person’s psyche spiraling down that slippery, moss-covered rabbit’s hole into the abyss, a tunnel so slick that for every step you take, you slide back three — or four — more.

It’s called depression.

And I am in complete agreement with the television commercial that says, “Depression hurts.” It hurts a lot more than just the one seemingly affected by it.

Now, I don’t claim to be a doctor or shrink or know anything about the science of psychiatry. I just know what I know, and like most people, at one time or another I know I’ve been either inside or standing just outside that abysmal rabbit hole.

A good friend of mine recently lost her husband, her soul mate. Taking time out to mourn was understandable, but as time went on, it became easier and easier to slip inside herself, spending days upon days sitting at home, ignoring the phone, ignoring the house, and in a sense, doing absolutely nothing.

Even her young grandchildren, who had always brought life and exuberance into her home, realized their grandmother was not herself. The kind, generous, spoil-the-kids grandma had been replaced with an irritable, short-tempered woman they simply didn’t recognize.

The more depressed she became, the more she rejected the world. The more she rejected the world, the more depressed she became... and so on and so on.

My friend and I have spoken about this at length on many occasions, and I think I may have it figured out.

The longer one leaves the car’s lights on without the engine running, the weaker the battery becomes. The weaker the battery becomes, the less anyone notices how dim the lights are becoming — until the battery closes in on itself and gives up.

So, how do you bring the battery back to life?

A quick jump from an outside source usually does the trick.

Occasionally, it’s that same jolt from an “outside source” that’ll begin bringing someone out of the throes of depression. Granted, it usually takes a pretty big jolt to get the old body up and moving again.

As I said, I am just making an observation from both sides of the fence. It took a really swift kick in the pants to jumpstart my friend – or maybe it was two or three. The “poynt” is, no sooner did she get back into life when she turned and gave ME a swift kick in return. See, I have owned this house for more than a year and a half and, until a few weeks ago, the place didn’t look any different than it did the day I moved in. The place was depressing.

There’s that word again.

My friend assured me that although the house was clean, there was nothing impressive about the “climate controlled storage unit” I had created.

Ouch.

She was right. It was time for me to haul myself out of the abyss — and I didn’t even realize I was down there.

Together we dug our heels in and got to work. We started on Friday and by Sunday the house looked, and felt, like someone actually lived there. It now feels comfortable, like a place to live, not just a place to sleep.

I guess, in this case, depression truly “took one to know one.”

My friend and I talk almost daily now, oftentimes about those rough patches in our lives and the circumstances leading up to them. Perhaps, by keeping the dark thoughts up and out in the open, they won’t be able to pull either of us back down into that black abyss.

Here’s to good friends.

And taking it one day at a time...

Bobbie Poynter is the community editor at the Times-Tribune. She can be reached at newsroom@thetimestribune.com.

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