I am struggling. Again.
It’s the “again” part that is hard. For much of my adult life, I have battled with depression. There are many contributing factors: repeated trauma, biochemical imbalance, personality, philosophical bent. But knowing the cause doesn’t help to deal with the numbing heaviness when it once again descends upon me.
I have been blessed with relief for much of the past six years. Some of that is due to extensive work on tough issues. Some of that has been thanks to appropriate medication. And some, a huge part, has been because six years ago I met the woman that I would marry, someone who has given me the safe haven and unconditional love that I had been seeking my entire life.
As a bonus, my wife also reconnected me with animals. I had strong relationships with a childhood dog and cat, but had not included animals in my adult world, partially because of my itinerant proclivities. Now, when I come home at the end of the day, I am greeted by the faithful lab Ripley who holds a special place in my heart, the adorable kitten Kenji who can always make me smile, and dogs Houla and Teo, parrot Barney, and cats Bailey, Dozer, Gordy and Idgie, each one of whom loves me in that unrelenting and uncomplicated way that only animals are capable of.
Also, I have found in the past years, for the first time in my life, a spiritual home. Sangha and zazen and teachers…all have been an incredible comfort and source of strength and growth.
And yet – here I am. Barely making it through the days.
It is so familiar. The weight, the dreariness, the fatigue. The inability to concentrate, the trouble getting motivated to do anything, even the things that I enjoy.
But it is also different. Before, I didn’t have all those “good” things from the paragraphs above. Now, I do. Before, I couldn’t think of one reason to keep on going. Now, I can make a long list. Before, I truly believed that it was never, ever going to change. Now, I know that the depression did finally lift in the past, and that it will lift again.
It will change. Everything changes. For right now, though…the rain.