I must do something I do not believe in at the moment.
I must do something I do not think will do me any good.
I must go somewhere, say something, plan something that I’m convinced is futile.
This is part of the nature of depression: going through the motions of life when we think it doesn’t matter. For over a month, I had been postponing making an appointment with my psychiatrist. Why? Because I feel it will be a pointless exercise. Wearily, my mind churns out the tale: I’ll show up. He’ll ask questions. He’ll express concern about my level of depression. He’ll recommend adjustments to my meds. I’ll agree to try them. They’ll do nothing, or worse than nothing.
I have enough observing ego to realize that, although it might be true that our first attempt at adjusting my meds won’t work, the voice telling me it’s all a futile exercise is a symptom of my depression.
I’ve needed several reminders from family and my therapist to make the damn appointment already, and it’s made. I still think it won’t do any good, but I’ll go.
What does it mean, to take a leap of faith when we seem to have no faith? Is it a different kind of leap, or is it just that we do still have faith although we aren’t conscious of it?
The weekend before I went to rehab for (hopefully) the last time, I woke up from a long, overdose-induced period of sketchy flashes of memory and felt empty. Something had been burned out of me, and with it–thankfully–had gone my pride. I did not have hope; I was utterly convinced that I couldn’t live without my drugs and was now also convinced that I couldn’t live with them. I knew I was fortunate to be alive, but had no idea what to do with my last chance. Almost mechanically, I began making phone calls to rehab centers and checked myself in a few days later.
Why did I do it, if I was so sure that it had no chance of working? What made my empty shell put one foot in front of the other long enough for hope to start returning?
The simplest answer would be that I was not truly devoid of hope or faith, and a deeper level of my psyche acted on it. Another answer might be that a divine power lifted my empty self up and walked me along for a bit. A third and logical one could be that my shreds of sanity felt an obligation to try once more before leaving my family with a legacy of my self-destruction.
So here I am, nearly four years later, still free of drugs but not of my other demons. Why will I go to my appointment? Why am I enacting a ritual that feels hollow?
I conclude that all of the possible reasons are true: I care about my family, I am helped by my God, and there is some flicker of faith present.
I believe that I’d already be using drugs if I did not have some kind of hope and faith. What would be the reason not to, if I truly believed everything so pointless? Why would I not have sought a momentary pleasure? Why would I be tolerating so much hunger for the sake of repairing my health?
My actions betray me. So what’s one more betrayal?
I will do something I don’t appear to believe in at the moment.
I will do something I don’t appear to think will do any good.
I will go somewhere, say something, plan something that I appear to be convinced is futile.