I’ve been so blue lately, beyond blue. Melancholy is a distinct affliction unlike actual depression. There is a passive morbidity to melancholia. You have no desire or intention to harm yourself. You can’t even muster the energy for that but if you failed to wake in the morning or if lightening struck, it might be considered an improvement in the state of affairs. Walker Percy’s family had an outstanding family history of morbid demise. One truly disturbed family member tied a ballast stone around their neck and jumped off a short dock into a lake and drown in maybe…..10 feet of water. True Southern Gothic madness, the creeping kudzu of apathy. Maybe it’s because I finally weaned off the prednisone. After a full year on immunosuppression therapy, I feel it’s time to see if the Plaquenil will “hold”. I can’t stay on this stuff forever. I’ll turn into the hunchback of Notre Dame. Add that to the melancholia and it’s a bad mix. So, I weaned slowly over a few months and quit it on Monday. Viola! The tears returned. They say prednisone can cause “euphoria” and I supposed I’ve had some of that benefit. The vacuum left in its wake allows for this bleakness to grow.
I must combat this creeping edge of darkness.
I’ve had these bouts before. Post-partum was undeniable. The first episode was in the summer between 10th and 11th grade. I ran away from that, literally. I was Forrest Gump. Run Forrest, run! I must attribute some of my driven-ness to how I manage my mood. Just keep moving, Sweetie. Plant a shrub, sew a quilt, read a book, write a novel, build a house, plan a party, fly to London. Go baby go! But I have learned to sit still, too. I float in the tub and watch the shadows on the ceiling. I lounge on the couch and watch the fire (in the winter) while the cats camp atop me. I sit in my office and stare out the window and watch the birds or the butterflies. And I can clear my mind of the noise. But I am reminded of things. A friend posted on Facebook yesterday that a child can be happy because they do not have a file in their minds labeled ‘All things that can go wrong’. It’s true.
And as of late, I have been doing some filing. Filing away all those things that were misfiled under friendship, trust, loyalty. I’ve had to move them to betrayal, deception, cluelessness. It is a particular insult to call a black man a FOOL. Maybe it is a Southern thing, but the word FOOL is a harsh and judging word. And I’ve been a fool. I can’t deny it. I have no defense. And there in lies the melancholy. You get to a certain age and you think you are beyond deception, you think you are too old and cynical, too skeptical to be deceived. But when the deception comes from within the walls of a carefully constructed safehouse, who could prepare for that? And then, you question everything; you must doubt everyone. Most especially, you must doubt yourself and your competence. For if you are truly competent, how could you miss all THAT?
So I arrive home after a month of juggling chainsaws and come unglued. Like the cats, my sons come and gather around me. They are quiet and companionable. It is a familiar tonic. When Cameron was maybe three – and I might have been pregnant with Evan – I was in the middle of a medical malpractice case made insurmountably worse by the medical insurance industry’s collapse that left me uninsured. I think Cameron and I saw Tarzan in the movie theater four times. I’d pick him up from daycare and we’d go to the movies. It was my method of escape. Me, Cameron and Percy (his doll). So, today, in my melancholy, Cameron says……”Do you want to go to the movies?” It was an old familiar thing and it lifted my heart. It was the best tonic.
So, the three of us piled into Cam’s car, drove to Butler Plaza and saw Lucy. We even made the 15 previews….and my sons know that the previews are my favorite part. A little retail therapy at Old Navy afterwards (a little for them and a little for me) and the afternoon was repaired. My mood is a wee bit repaired, too. The chainsaws are still there, the filing cabinet still needs re-organization but I know I love my sons and if for nothing and no one else but them, my life is abundant and blessed.