Living With The Shade

Today’s post is a guest post. I asked my good friend Kristen to write something for the blog. And this is her generous contribution. Thanks, Kristen.

I was humbled when andthenislept asked me to write something for this amazing blog. I was not sure I had anything to say. I have been diagnosed with neither depression nor PTSD, although I probably could have at various points in my life.

But let me focus on the one I know the best – depression – the one I have nearly come to view as just another facet of myself.

It has nuances. It is different in each place. It shifts in subtle ways as I apply pressure to it, as I pursue life in spite of it. It submerges while I “function”. But I know it is there, under the surface.
It has shades. It is a shade. A shadow.

Me and my shadow.

Not quite a friend, but neither an enemy. It can’t be an enemy – it is an expression for my sake. It speaks my pain. The pain ignored. The anger and bitterness ignored. The shade needs attention – it needs to be heard.

It will not be silenced, that is the thing. It speaks on my behalf when I have not been able to speak. When I have not been able to see. When I have ignored so that I may function. It speaks in a cloudy pressure of grief and despair. No one hears it but me. The cloud passes through me, and stops, and waits there.

And I think, “Oh, no, not this again…” and, “Oh yes, there it is, it’s here.”
The fog insulates and separates me. I feel the fog, but no one can see it.
Except maybe through the windows of my eyes.

Have you ever been shocked by the sadness of your own eyes in the mirror?

And maybe you thought you were hiding it.

That look of grief we want to turn away from.

I have no advice.

I only know it passes – it lifts – it lessens.

You can cry large volumes of it out of your body.

And then you can go outside and feel the air, smell the earth, soak in the sunlight. You can walk a little. You can play in the dirt. If you are lucky, you have an ocean nearby and you can feel your smallness right away, you can remember back, quite easily, to when you were floating in that first sea.
You may ask, “Why am I here now, in this world that I struggle to barely fit in or function in?”

Maybe you love and raise a child. Or maybe you listen to someone who needs to be heard. Or you love another earthly creature – a cat or a horse.

Maybe you just exist here and now and experience the sunlight, and the moonlight.

Even when your body hurts with the blues, you are alive in this amazing moment. Your heart is beating.
You are as alive as any other person on this earth – equally alive – but maybe you feel more. Maybe you can’t filter out the suffering of the world and of your own life.

That weakness, your sensitivity, may be your strength, in the end; your special superpower.
The phrase, “it takes one to know one” may apply here. You know it when you see it. And that makes you super useful in this world. So stay while you are here – even with the shade – because it will evaporate as it is seen by you and heard by you.

2 thoughts on “Living With The Shade

  1. Wow. How powerful. How very thought provoking. I love the shade analogy. Things don’t grow we’ll in the shade…but they do grow. “It speaks my pain. The pain ignored” I will sit with that one for awhile. Very poignant. Thank you, Kristen. “It takes one to know one” you knew this one.

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