Sounding the Depth

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Is this the bottom? It feels like the bottom. Not the bottom of the stairs, with a clear path to get up and climb forward. Not the bottom of the ocean, its many fathoms, full of light and life and music. No, this is more like the bottom of deep well.

I do not feel sorry for myself.

How could I feel sorry for myself? I see around me people who are suffering more than I am. Not just “people” like amorphous children starving in far-off nations, no I mean real people. They’re dealing with terrible losses, or life-threatening illness, real crises. Not this kind of selfish malaise that keeps me from getting out of bed.

Or going to bed.

I started out nine months ago, chipper and whatnot, ready to get myself together. It went well for awhile. I stumbled, often, but I got back up again. I came to terms with living in a much reduced circumstance. I clipped coupons. I stopped going out for lunch. I figured out thirty-five ways to cook potatoes.

And then I stopped writing. And started arm-wrestling demons. I know what depression is. I did my five-years-with-a-therapist stint in college. One of the great reliefs of leaving the artistic community in New England is that I discovered that the rest of the world does not assume you have a therapist.

I could probably use a therapist now, but I can’t afford it. Hell, I can’t afford to go to lunch.

I’ve been sick since my birthday, January 16. Most of the time since then I’ve spent in bed. Yesterday, I went to the grocery store with my husband chiming in my ear about how we can’t afford anything. I bought it anyway, spending a hundred dollars on groceries that are supposed to last us until March 1st. They won’t. When we got home I was so exhausted I had to lie down. Later, I found a slip of paper on the counter where he had worked out  how much milk we would need, how much dog food, how much gasoline. He doesn’t understand how much that inspires my despair.

There is so little  joy in my life and that makes me cranky. Even the things I used to love ring hollow. When I’m cranky I alienate people and then I feel lonely and unloved and more cranky.

We’ve been waiting for our old dog to die. For months we’ve thought he was on death’s door. But not yet. And just as well, because we can’t afford that either. It may be a race to the pearly gates between my old coonhound and my grandmother. Don’t be offended, she’s eager for her heavenly reward and I don’t begrudge her that. I’d like to go and see her, but I have to measure the cost of gasoline against all the other financial considerations.

It’s exhausting, this constant weighing of importance.

So I sit, here, at the bottom of the well and look up and think it’s really not worth bothering, trying to climb out. I feel like just when my hands reach the warm grass, someone will step on them.

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One thought on “Sounding the Depth

  1. i so appreciate your perspective and keen awareness. it is a pleasure to read something that isn’t all fun and games and hysterically funny (though i appreciate those too, in moderation.)

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