• Amber Shockley

I tried to have a depression. The cat tried to sniff my private parts.

Okay, so you know how, according to Judeo-Christian creation myth, Adam and Eve ate "fruit" from the "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil" and all of a sudden they knew All The Things they didn't know before, and they couldn't take it back, they couldn't be God-sculpted innocent dummies anymore, and their punishment was to be kicked out of paradise? And you know how, through some complicated result of breeding that somehow for sure doesn't involve inbreeding, we're all, all of us, descended from these two original humans?


So, right...long story short, I don't know how anybody is an optimist. Where does your genetic material come from? Mars? Whether or not you take the bible to be the-infallible-word-of-God, there's something that sounds very right to me about the idea that our very beginnings as a species involved, basically:


Oh, you want to know things? Guess what? Get the fuck out of paradise.


You can't know things and be happy.


My brain veers toward depression. When I get depressed, what it feels like is this: I know things. I'm aware. And, knowing those things, the possibility of happiness seems absurd. I don't feel like a curmudgeon. I don't feel like a depressive. I feel like the Only Reasonable Person in a room full of happy, shiny, bouncing idiots.



What's actually happening is that my brain is taking the balance of beauty and misery and placing its thumb harder than usual on the side of misery, death, and injustice.


Anyway, I was sitting at a red light waiting to turn and go get my blood drawn ahead of a cardiologist appointment the other day, and I started thinking about ants. I started thinking about how many ants die in a day, how many are smashed or poisoned by humanity's colossal boot, and how we don't know - have no way of knowing - how many ants die every day, and we don't care. I started thinking about how, the smaller you and your life are, the less you matter, the less anyone cares. I started thinking about how incredibly small and insignificant most of us are.


I started comparing myself to Mahatma Ghandi. I calculated the time I have left on this earth, and reflected on who I am, my abilities and weaknesses, and the likelihood that I might be able to pull off doing something really, truly impactful before I die.


I felt bad for the ants. I got angry on behalf of the ants.


The light turned green.


For several months, I have been using Effexor as a fairly effective veil over the Evil part of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.


But when I start ruminating on ants, and the absurdity of existence, I know that I am having a breakthrough Depressive Episode, and that perhaps my antidepressant is pooping out.


Then, yesterday, fatigue and apathy hit pretty hard. My movements were slower. I observed myself from inside myself. I found speaking difficult. I decided to fuck everything and go lay down. Just go ahead and have my damn depression.


I wasn't giving in, I was giving myself some grace. I was allowing myself to acknowledge that I was experiencing acute physical and cognitive symptoms, and that cleaning the toilet could fucking wait.


I was wearing my thin pink bathrobe that barely covers my ass. When I lay down, it in fact does not cover my ass.


Cue: cats.


They came in right away. CC got up on the bed and curled up into her tight, black hole of Judgement pretty quickly. Maddie was curious what I was doing. She got up on my hip, then she leaned down, and she...


Madeline "Maddie" Prue

She tried to sniff my private parts. Because my ass, and all other glory, was hanging out the bottom of my tiny pink bathrobe.


Somewhere deep inside my brain a neuron fired that registered the hilarity. It fizzled pretty quickly and pathetically, though. That's how tough depression is. It won't let me laugh at a cat trying to sniff my bare ass.


Maddie and I have, let's say, an intimate relationship that is more on her terms that it is mine. She asserts, I submit.


Last night, I was on the toilet when she asserted herself onto my lap.


Reader, to tell this story I have to tell you that I while I was on the toilet I was watching makeup tutorial videos on YouTube, with my headphones in.


Suddenly, the sound stopped. I was about to find out, for the millionth time, how to cut a crease, when all of a sudden - nothing. My first thought was something had happened with the phone itself. I pressed the volume button to no avail.


Then I saw it. The clean-chomped cord coming from my headphones.


She had done it in seconds. Like a bomb diffuser. Like she thought my life was in danger.


Morals of the story:


- The existence of optimists is not biblical.

- Depression feels like your regular, smart brain. Maybe even your smarter brain.

- Cats care not for the vanities of human experience. They exist to be served, and to satisfy their curiosities. They will, however, save us.



Bonus:


Here's how "fruit' from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil became "apple".


Here's the origin of the phrase "Ignorance is bliss".


Higher intelligence is linked to depression and anxiety.


© 2020 by Amber Shockley.