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  • Writer's pictureTobi

The Inertia of Depression

Introduction: Great Weight of Terror

I'd been there for hours, I think. My face pressed against the rough gray textile of the rug.  Inexplicably, unable to move under some great weight of indescribable terror.  A dread fear of everything and nothing.  At some point, my usually self-occupied beagle padded his way into the recording studio.  He sniffed at my face and then without fuss or delay, lay down.  His front legs criss crossed with my arms, as he anchored me to this world.   


Great Weight of Terror


Chapter One: Crackle and Pop, but No Snap

“It's called a retarded depression”, my psychiatrist informed me.  Chance would have it, I already had an appointment booked.  Apparently, the synapses in my brain had snapped out and should have snapped back in again, but my antidepressants had failed in this regard.  “So, what you’re saying is, I have crackle and pop, but no snap,” I joked [I joke even when I’m depressed, in fact, I joke more when I’m depressed, it’s weird].  The next minute or two were spent explaining the advertising for Kellogg’s Rice Crispys to my Luxembourgish psychiatrist.  We would have to increase my dosage by 50%.  “Ah, so then I will have, snap, crackle and pop,” I replied.  This time my psychiatrist got the joke.  


sat staring into space

The next few months were spent in a protracted state of extended periods of suspended animation.  Making the bed would take hours.  Putting one walking boot on, consumed tens of minutes.  My beagle-anchor would sniff me out, huddled on the sofa or sat staring into space, and, in an act too simple for any human to render, he would stay with me.



Chapter Two: Monsters in the Dark

I take a MAOI [link] for depression.  It has a complex history and not one I’m inclined to go into right now.  It, like any medication, has interactions with other medications and side effects, which is why I knew they were not really there.


Monsters in the Dark

I enjoy taking my dog out in the quiet of the night.  Out in the fields, where the light pollution dies away, and, on the coldest of nights, the heavens shine massive and bright.  I could see them shifting in the shadows of the treelines.  I knew they weren’t there, but I could see their contorted forms, inhuman and ancient.  Shadow demons lurking between branch and bracken, they watched me and they knew me.  They knew my sins, and my fears.  They knew the little lies I told myself to keep the pain locked inside.


But it was alright, increasing my dosage was triggering hallucinations.  I knew they weren't really there, but I could still see them. 


Chapter Three: Recovery is Tidal

Recovery from depression is tidal, it washes in and out, there are good days and bad, but for five years, my recovery had been a rising tide.  Face down on my studio floor, a great tectonic shift had drawn the tide back deep into the depths of the ocean, and had dragged me down with it.  And with that, the nature of my recovery, or at least my perception of it, changed forever.  Depression no longer resided in the rearview mirror, a vanishing specter gradually lost to the horizon.  Now I knew that from out of the darkness, depression could open up a great rift in me.


Recovery from depression is tidal


Chapter Four: Inertia of Absence

Not for the first time in these blogs, I find myself coming back to the question of whether it is wise to engage in a practice where rejection, criticism, and indifference are commonplace.  Releasing new music is like a Spaghetti Western before the action starts, all tumbleweed and vista haze.  In the Western, a lone rider manifests on the horizon and the tremolo guitar of Morricone strikes up.  In releasing new music, it’s just tumbleweed and vista haze.


Inertia of Absence

With each new disappointment, the tides roll back some, and with them the great weight of depression begins to build upon my shoulders.  The nameless inertia of absence.  The absence of a sense of direction, a sense of hope, and a sense of self.  Each task, each plan and idea is held back by the fatalism of terrible possibilities. Why submit music to the blog, playlist, or radio station when it all ends in rejection anyway.  Why keep up with socials, only to be ignored.  Why make music, when no one will be there to listen.



Conclusion: The Days of Small Tasks

The energy it takes to make even the smallest thing happen can be massive.  A simple post across socials wrecks me, and as for making music, that feels all but impossible.  These are the days of small tasks.  Tasks, so easily put aside.  The sink that drains, but should be unblocked.  The clutter and junk that, though not really in the way, should be cleared out.  The website update, though not essential, could do with being done.


With each small task completed, I feel the unseen load upon my back become a little lighter.  And soon enough, making music will feel possible again.  I know this because I have crawled my way out of the depths so many times before.  I’d like to tell you that it gets easier every time, but it doesn’t.  Everytime I haul myself out, I leave something of myself behind.  I am so much less than I once was.  Only by working my recovery, will I ensure that the next time I am dragged back under, it will be a little less deep.


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