Depression is A Universe of Darkness

A physical body is a universe in itself. Each of us is made up of roughly a hundred trillion cells. In each of those cells is roughly a hundred trillion cells. In each of those cells is roughly that same number again of atoms. And our brains alone have a hundred billion brain cells, give or take a few billion.

The price for being intelligent enough to be the first species to be fully aware of the cosmos might just be a capacity to feel a whole universe’s worth of darkness.

Yet most of the time we do not feel the near-infinite nature of our physical selves. Instead, we only look at what is on the outside: arms, legs, feet, hands, torso, head. Flesh, bones.

Astrophysicist Carl Sagan called human beings ‘star-stuff’ because there is a universe inside each of us. Our DNA is our ancestry, our connection with humanity and with the essence of the universe itself.

A universe of darkness

Depression unravels you, and everything you have known. The price for being intelligent enough to be the first species to be fully aware of the cosmos might just be a capacity to feel a whole universe’s worth of darkness.

• • •

Depression distorts you and it distorts how you experience and what you experience. A year ago, I wrote about my experience with depression in a piece called Depression and My Appointment with a Hole. Below is a section of what I wrote.

Shrinking into myself. I fall.

Why do I I fight with myself? I call.

Skin crawls. Mind races.

Empty, I walk through my paces.

The unscratchable. Itch.

Why do I I fight with myself? I call. Skin crawls. Mind races. Empty, I walk through my paces. The unscratchable. Itch. The bitch that won’t stitch. I kick.

The itch is two feet under my skin. The bitch.

The bitch that won’t stitch. I kick.

The air with an empty boot. Thick.

And full of empty longings. Racing.

Head bangs. Empty mirror. Facing.

An appointment with a hole.

A hole in my soul.

• • •

Unless noted, all statements excerpted from “Reasons to Stay Alive” by Matt Haig, pp 41-42.

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