When you have carried a weight behind you for so long that it starts to feel like the normal, every-day challenge and chore of your life, you stop questioning its significance. It is merely something that must be dragged from room to room, from house to car, from car to office or school or chores, and you begin to structure your day for its obligation. No, you cannot make the ordinary train into the city that morning because the weight, your challenge, has added to your own weight and you cannot move as quickly. Take an earlier bus. Or schedule the meeting later. Make arrangements to meet a colleague on a middle ground. You will not adjust the weight. This is a given. This is a rule that must be adhered to. You are not going anywhere without it, so everything else must change. This can be the burden of being a single mother, of being alone, of never being alone, of being an addict or alcoholic or compulsive gambler, of suddenly one day waking up and realizing the culminating years of all your heartache and discontent and depression have crystalized into a hard, heavy stone in your soul and makes it hard for to breathe and to swallow and to smile…and to hope that things will ever get better or easier or even just tolerable. You are the guardian of the burden. You are the WatchGuard. The warden. The keeper of the flame, no matter if that flame is keeping the inside of your body warm or if it is incinerating you from the inside out. Good or bad…and these weights can be good or bad…our acceptance of our fate and willingness to carry this weight wherever we go predicts our progress, or lack of progress. We are the prisoners of our own love. We are the convicts of our own convictions. We are the judge and jury of the accused and whatever life sentence we have passed down, remains imbedded, tattooed, branded upon our matrix, seared into our identities and we carry that weight with pride, baby. We carry it brave and true, unapologetic and even proud of own our resolve to fight the good fight, until it kills us. There is a lot to be said for stubborn persistence. There is a lot of be said for a resolute nature that will not give in, that will not let go, that will give up before the last bead of sweat falls from our brow, before the last drop of blood drips from our veins. But to what end? At what price? They are fond of saying in the medical profession that “benefits often outweigh the risks,” but do they always? If you are looking at 25-30 more years of depression and anxiety and suicidal ideations and yearly shock treatments, isn’t it acceptable to consider the option? I could stop now and die not yet hallowed out and demoralized and hopeless and bereft of any imaginable ending to all this that could be considered good or reasonable or even slightly acceptable…or I could go through 25-30 more years of it getting worse, becoming more destructive, become putrid and polluted and corroded and infectious and putting this horrific cloud of toxic energy into the earth until I finally just die a lonely, decrepit, haggard, nothing, insignificant homo sapien who had little or nothing to add to the world’s beauty in the first place? If our lives are indeed a speck of dust in the wind…if our lives truly are just blinks in time, a span of one moment ticking into another on a grandfather clock, what difference does it really make to end it now or suffer thirty more years and go out of this world worse off than if I did it now? I am nothing here. I am not affecting world policy. I am not changing mankind. I am not actually changing or making better the existence of one human being’s intrinsic or extrinsic value of the world. Maybe I have been making too much of the importance of my life when it has always been a quiet, unassuming, run-of-the-mill, passive aggressive outsider’s view of something not real anyway? I have stood up and been counted and raised my hand and casted my vote and in the end, it never really matter at all.
I was admitted into the hospital last Tuesday and discharged today. I received my first of several ECT treatments yesterday and will follow up with the rest as an outpatient. They have worked for me in the past. Still, I have no hope they will bring me back this time. The weight is no longer something I’m dragging behind me. The weight is now, entirely, just me.