I feel too often like I have nothing of myself left, like I’ve poured it all out and I need to wait for the rain to come again to fill myself back up.
There are many different wells within me, and they fill up at different rates. There are strategies to make them fill faster: My creative well fills more quickly the more I consume art, my physical energy well fills, either via the long term investment of physical activity or the short term investment of caffeine – but there’s one well I always find it difficult to maintain: The well of giving a shit.
There’s something absurd, on the face of it, about those science fiction robots who are unable to feel emotions and somehow perceive this as a deficiency, keenly feeling that absence, though this longing is surely an emotion of its own. It’s goofy, it makes no sense, it’s one of the laughable constructs of mid-grade science fiction.
It makes sense to me. I think it makes sense to anyone who’s had to deal with some degree of depression. Some days, you go to where your emotions are kept and find them missing. It’s kind of relaxing, in many ways. Emotions are certainly not always comfortable. But they are fairly necessary in order to get things done, and their absence quickly becomes distressing – a certain distant kind of distress, felt on behalf of someone else, but none the less poignant because of that.
I don’t know. I still laugh at things that are funny. I still curse when something goes wrong. I feel sad. I just don’t care, not really. I just don’t care.
I really wish I did. I’d feel much better, I suspect.
The thing is, I don’t know how to refill this well. Maybe there’s a knack to it which I have yet to realize, or maybe it’s just a matter of time. Sometimes art makes me feel better, maybe, or maybe that’s just time. Sometimes sleep makes me feel better, maybe, but maybe, again, that’s just the passage of time.
Realizing that more often than not I seem to suffer from anxiety rather than depression is extremely useful, not least because it makes it much easier to identify the actual depressions I encounter. Anxiety makes me feel trapped, pulled in a million directions which sum up to equilibrium, wordlessly frustrated, irritable. Depression feels comfortable, like a blanket. It makes me numb, makes everything quieter and more distant, less important. It doesn’t feel that bad, it doesn’t make me angry, though it might make me slightly sad. While both make me inert – the reason why I had them conflated for so long – the mechanisms differ, one being the immobility of chains and the other being the immobility of paralysis.
Oh well. Oh well. Live and learn. There may be a way to reinforce this well, to remember on cue. There may yet be a little man waiting in my wings to tell me what my motivation is. If not, perhaps with time I will learn to remember longer how to care, why to care, when to care.
Or, perhaps, some days I must be a mere automaton, if only for a little while. A second sleep, taken during the day, resting under a blanket of apathy. Today, perhaps, there is snow behind my eyes, but the sun will rise again.