A Little Reminder

It’s 4.37 AM and I’m awake. Brilliant.

“I should have been a pair of ragged claws. Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.”

One of the kids woke in the night. She’s all settled now, but I won’t sleep. My misery is hanging around.

I tell myself that it is hormonal, that it’s just poor brain chemistry. It doesn’t help. This body and this brain are all I get. I have to experience this.

Imagine waking up to find out that your loved ones were dead. That’s how this feels. Imagine waking up to find that all your hopes were futile. Imagine waking up to the knowledge that your life history is one of failure, humiliation and guilt.

Top that off with the fact that the oceans are rising, the fascists are rising and hell itself is rising up through the cracks in reality… well, it’s no picnic.

My depression has a personality. It’s me. It’s a sadistic, cynical and furious version of me. It knows where I live. Right now it’s busy explaining to me everything that makes me pathetic, including this blog post. My depression is reading over my shoulder and sniggering. It’s not laughing with me.

It wants me to remember that it knows where I live. It knows what I care about and it knows how to hurt me. I can try to fight, but it knows every weak point. It can remind me of the bullying at school and point out that I deserved it, I’m a freak. It knows every shameful or embarrassing thing that I’ve ever done. It fucking hates me.

I should stop personifying it. It’s me. I fucking hate myself. I hate myself so much I won’t even kill myself, that would be too easy. I deserve to suffer. Fuck you, me.

It’s strange, because I know it’s fleeting. I have little tricks that take away its power. Writing this is one of those tricks. I don’t indulge that self-hatred. Sure, I’m a selfish, hypocritical, cowardly social pariah…. but I’ve done the washing up. Yeah, suck on that, low self-esteem. There’s tangible self-worth in a rack of drying dishes.

In my worst times, I used to feel like this for days and weeks at a time. I would get a bright moment for an hour or so, but depression would soon shit all over that. These days, it’s the opposite. Depression gets its moments, but mostly I can sellotape my soul back together.

It annoys me, this misery. That’s an understatement, but you take my point. It annoys me that, in these moments, I can’t fathom which aspects of my life are actually failures and which are just normal character traits? Am I as selfish as I think I am? Am I cruel? Am I as bad as all that? Mrs Viper says not, but she’s blinded by love… I have literally NO IDEA why. Thank goodness she’s asleep. She has work in the morning. I’ve just got to do household stuff. I’m pathetic. You see my problem?

I’ve had a toasted tea cake and some coffee. Gripping details, eh? Now it’s just me and the ticking clock and the quiet tapping of the keys and the black words that creep over the screen like ants. The people I care about are asleep and safe for now. The fascists and the oceans are rising, but they’re not here yet, so I won’t wake my loved ones and share this fear with them.

The fear and misery aren’t so bad. I can wallow in them, like Gollum in his lake, happy with his despair and his cold, blind fish. It’s the anger that scares me. Sometimes I think that it isn’t my fault I’m like this. I start to examine some of the things that were done to me. I can’t describe the rage and I’m not sure that I want to. I fill with a hatred that makes me slightly nauseous. It sounds like an exaggeration. It isn’t.

Anger is no good. It probably leads to hate and the dark side of the force, or somesuch.

I did not make myself this way. I can, however, work on slowly making myself different. I am a sculptor. The world has created an ugly, jagged mass of rock. Slowly I chip away at it. I try to find something good in the cold, indifferent stone.

It’s five AM now. At six, I’ll have a shower. I’ll get on with the day. I’ll re-read this later and flush with embarrassment at such self-indulgent, bourgeois, self-pitying shit. I’ll know that I meant it when I wrote it. I’ll know that the time will come when I mean it again. Never-fucking-mind. Tomorrow we’ll be sober and all that.

I love it when my depression has to slink away. I hear him grumbling and cursing as he goes. Yeah, buddy, I know you  know where I live. I know all your tricks, too, you sadistic sack of shit. I’ll let you into a secret, old pal. I may be all the things that you say, but you’re really getting boring. It doesn’t hurt like it used to. I’ve heard it all before, you fucker, so get some new material. I’m not dead yet and we both know I’m not going to top myself. Cowardice is useful, see? You couldn’t get me to do it before, what makes you think I’ll do it know, you vicious bastard? At my very lowest, you couldn’t finish me off. I guess we’re both a little cowardly, eh? Both a little weak?

He doesn’t like it when I turn the tables. One thing I’ve learnt is that hatred carries within it the seeds of its own destruction. My self-hatred is the same. If I give it long enough, it turns on itself. It sees how juvenile it is. Its universal cynicism tears it apart. What’s left? Compassion. Compassion for all of us, even me.

Hate is on the rise in the real world, but that hate will destroy itself. The rabid dogs of hate will turn on their master and then on themselves. They can always find new division, new reasons to loathe each other.

Mostly, I don’t believe in God. When I do, I believe that God is infinite compassion. There is a sad patience in the universe as it waits for us to see how futile all this rage is. Hate is full of destruction and it eventually destroys itself. Love and compassion are the only things that can create. We will suffer until we can find compassion, compassion that extends to all. Even to me.

For those that have it worse than me, hang in there. Try to find compassion for yourselves. I’m a self-pitying, narcissistic bag of offal, but I belong here as much as the trees and the rocks and the rivers. So do you.

Bless you all, even those that hate.

Much love, Viper.


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