Author: Robert Poposki
The Storm Lingers Over the Horizon
I shall begin with a joke.
*Taps cue cards on table and adjusts tie*
A pro golfer is playing 18 holes with one of his friends. They’ve played golf many times before, and though the friend, John, is a very good golfer, he can never beat Chad, the professional.
One day though, after Chad has jokingly mocked John about his poor golfing abilities, Chad decides to take matters into his own hands; he decides that today will be the day he beats Chad. And so, to put his money where his mouth is, he wagers a bet.
The posited bet: $20,000 – whoever gets the lowest score, wins. However, Chad is given a handicap. The handicap: John is allowed to, during the course of the game, hit Chad in the testicles, as hard as he wants, three times.
Chad accepts this bet.
The two tee up at the first hole, and it is Chad who is to swing first. Just as Chad is about to take his club back to shoot, John hits him in the balls as hard as he can. Chad drops to the ground in pain, writhing and squealing like a small pig that has just been slapped on the snout.
John ends up obliterating Chad, for the first time ever.
The reason, as stated by Chad himself: “Have you ever played a game of golf, with the expecation that you will soon be hit in the nuts? It makes it impossible.”
This was quite obviously a terrible joke. I heard it many years back, but seem to have forgotten what made it funny. Nevertheless, the parable accurately outlines one of the unspoken pains that depressed people experience .
One of the worst things about living with Mr Arsehole Depression is the waiting phase. Knowing that, although in the present moment you feel chipper, and if you’re manic, perhaps even God-like, a storm is welling yonder the horizon, a storm that might knock the literal life out of you, is exhausting.
I’ve spent the past year in a state of wavering depression. There’ve been ups and downs, but for the most part, underlying these ups and downs, there’s been a fog that has shrouded my entire being.
The fog isn’t so bad when you get used to it. You learn how to manage the chronic aspect of depression after many years of practice. It’s a pain in the arse, but it’s possible.
The most annoying part of this fog however, is that it distorts your ability to predict when the next storm will come. And, like our friend Chad, it leaves you in a perpetual state of fear, which comes as a result of not wanting to be sucked into the fog’s cold, lonely chasm of pain totally, and irrevocably. An abyss that remains hidden in the fog, beyond the horizon.
Mixed in with this fear of not knowing when this wave of destruction will hit you, is the anxiety caused by not knowing how hard it will hit.
It’s impossible to determine. Just when you think you’ve got it under control, and feel that you might have freed yourself from its nefarious stranglehold, it sneaks up on you from behind, and floors you with one blow.
When it strikes you in this tacit, incognito way, the pain almost multiplies. Living with the expectation that the yokes stringing you along as Depression’s puppet might have finally been completely cut from your being, makes the pain of being wrong all the more difficult to face.
“Expectation is the root of all heartache” – Shakespeare.
For this reason, I do my best to live without hope. To me, and I’m sure to some others, hope is what brews the storm in pain. Without expecting that the depression we live with will one day magically disappear, it makes weathering its tempestuous surge much more bearable. Sometimes even pleasant.
This is a sort of mentality that, I’d imagine, goes against the collective norm. I say this because hope is something normally valued. We’re taught to hold hope, to cherish it, to conjure it. We’re told that it beds the floor of our salvation, and that without it, with only hopelessness, we’re lost.
But what if it is this hope that keeps us stranded at sea? What if we’ve been looking at our dis-ease in the wrong way? What if hope is what keeps the storm suspended?
I can’t speak of anything except for what’s real and true for me. But perhaps it’s something to consider.
“Losing hope was freedom” – Fight Club.
It’s a manic world.