Wednesday, July 20, 2011


The other day, sitting at my desk at work, I began thinking of what would be an honest answer to the question, "How are you?" and my first response was, "Battling depression." Sometimes I ask myself questions in my mind like, how are you feeling right now? what are you afraid of? what is it that's really bothering you?
They are questions I think I should already know the answers to, but for whatever reason, I don't always have a clear idea of how I feel or what I'm feeling.
So, when my first response involved depression, I surprised myself. And as I analyzed that thought more, it seemed like perhaps I was describing a particular moment because as I've noticed of late, my moods and feelings fluctuate a lot. I'm sure that's how most people operate, so it must be "normal" — as if there were such a thing.
On the other hand, I do have the tendency to get depressed, which really bugs me because it goes against so many other tendencies I have such as being optimistic, enthusiastic, hopeful, resilient, and carefree. I can chalk it up to my creative side since creative people tend to get down easily, or so I've heard.
Sometimes I think life is one long battle to survive, heal, and overcome tragedies. I had a lovely childhood, but it wasn't perfect or wonderful all the time. Lately, however, I find myself thinking back on those days with intense feelings of nostalgia. When I was a child, both of my parents were alive and my nuclear family was my world.
One of my most vivid memories from childhood is of a day when I was maybe four or five and somehow convinced myself that I needed to run away. I packed a brown banana and bruised apple in a backpack and set off to test my luck and the road ahead — or so I thought. Nonetheless, my heart felt heavy like boulder.
I walked to the front yard where my brother and sister were playing a game. I sheepishly approached the front gate with my head hanging down. My siblings noticed me and said, "hey, what are you doing?" Through a tight throat, I answered, "I'm running away."
They broke into laughter.
"What? You think you're running away?" My sister asked.
"Where do you think you're going?" My brother quipped.
Then my brother looked in my backpack and laughed even harder.
"You're only taking an old banana and apple?"
"Go back inside," they commanded.
Who knows if it even happened in the way I remember. What has stuck with me all these years is that I could count on my siblings to talk some sense into me when I really needed it. The other part is that they didn't sugar coat anything or coddle me, instead they laughed. And it was kind of funny, me thinking I could survive away from home with two pieces of overripe fruit? That's childhood for you.
Maybe the experience was a precursor, a premonition, of my life to come. I eventually did leave the safety of home and became independent, but at the same time lonely.
Maybe there are vines of depression that run through us all that need to be pruned and cut back like weeds.
As much as I love life, everyday brings new battles.

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