Depression is a bastard.
I don’t know anything anymore.
You know, I used to be pretty sure about stuff. Like, I had it all figured out. I knew everything I was supposed to know; you put two and two together and you get four. Facts, not sentiment.
However I came to a realization; facts are not always truth. Two and two do not always make four; sometimes they make twenty-two. There are several ways to do any one particular thing, and no matter how much you think you know, there’s still so much you don’t.
What do you think will happen when your ‘truth’ meets a greater one? When you realize that everything you think you know/are is nothing but a dot in an ocean, a little something that is just a mark on the surface of things? When you find out, no matter how much you think you know, you actually have no idea?
I pray the sky doesn’t fall on you that day. I pray your world does not collapse like mine did.
I’m sitting here, on the railings of the Third Mainland Bridge, sucking the last drops from the bottom of an Absolut Vodka bottle. It took me a little over an hour to finish that bottle – but I’m as clear-headed as I was when I began. I look at the bottle again, and I realize it’s empty. I hurl it at the tarmac in frustration; it comes apart and shatters into thousands of fragments of varying sizes. They stare at me, looking at me with indifference.
The bottle is the one that’s all over the highway. Yet I’m the one that feels broken.
It’s two minutes to eleven on a Sunday night. This was not how I planned to spend my evening. I returned from Ibadan a few hours ago from a production meeting of sorts, a meeting that kept being stonewalled because of some people who think everything can be bought. I did my part and left – but I would be wrong to say I was satisfied.
I came home, there was no power so I just had a shower and tried to cook. I made pasta – but by the time the meal was ready, I was no longer interested in eating. I threw everything into the dustbin and went to lie down.
I tossed and turned for several hours. I was tired, physically and otherwise, but sleep decided to stay away. I couldn’t take it anymore, so I get up and get out of the house.
It comes to me to go check the closest thing to a girlfriend I have. We spoke extensively while I was away but I hadn’t told her I would be back that day. So I figured to go visit her, and depending on the reaction I got, I’d either stay there or return home.
So I’m headed to her place, but as the cab carrying me gets closer, my mood spirals downwards. All sorts of thoughts take root in my mind and start to grow. It’s not very considerate to visit her unannounced. What if she’s not home? What if she’s having her hair made – or she has guests over? What if her mother came visiting?
By the time I’m done with that thought cycle, the evening is dead on me. I’m starting to wish I hadn’t left my house. Depression; the kind I have not experienced since I saw a therapist last October descends on my spirit, pretty much like the curtain that signifies the end of a stage performance. Quite abruptly, I find myself staring out of the cab window contemplating the meaning of life.
I cannot go thru with this, I thought. Even if she’s not doing anything, and would be excited to see me, I am not in any mood to socialize. The smartest thing I can do now, for myself and people I might run into is to head back home.
I opened my mouth, intending to tell the cab man to take me back where he picked me up from when I saw a Coldstone signpost. Ice Cream always makes me feel better, and even though I hadn’t had any since the year began I wanted some. So I told the cab man to stop. He did, I got out, paid him what we agreed and we went our separate ways, him to find another customer, me to fill my guts with colored sugar.
The Coldstone yard wasn’t too full – maybe that’s why it was easy for me to spot her bright red Toyota Corolla, one of those fancy new ones. I stopped for a moment to pull myself together and to decide if I was going to leave or stay. I didn’t want to run into her feeling the way I was feeling, but I also wanted some sugar.
The sugar craving won.
So I went in, walked through the busy Dominos floor and up to Coldstone. It seemed people preferred pizza to ice cream on Sunday evenings, and I was grateful for the relative quiet. Quickly I headed to the counter and placed my order.
I was being attended to when a girl, one of the Coldstone barristers came behind the counter, her face pink and giggling. Another barrister asked what she was giggling about, and she started to say something about a very-in-love couple that has been sitting in the corner for over three hours, just looking at each other and sighing.
The other girls joined in her laughter – but I heard it from far away. Trepidation hugged me around the shoulders and effectively held my heart. I studiously avoided looking over my shoulder, instead focusing on the girl who was putting my order together. She wasn’t laughing. She was engrossed in what she was doing, and I mumbled a quiet prayer in appreciation of her treatment of me. Eventually she straightened and passed my order to me. Her smile brought my focus back to her, and I could hear her say clearly what my bill was. I paid and stood by the counter, eating my ice cream, reluctant to turn around because I knew what I was going to find.
Eventually, I turned around and looked in the corner the barrister was talking about. I was right.
I turned away, put the half-eaten ice cream on the counter behind me and walked out, walking and running as though I had to go. I couldn’t trust myself to hold it together in there. I’d rushed out and, trembling called a cab. “Third Mainland Bridge”, I’d said.
I’m pretty sure the poor cab man was confused. He just nodded and asked me to get in. We sped out of there, going like a demon on an errand. We stopped just once, long enough for me to pick up an Absolut Vodka bottle – and then we continued.
So, here I am with all these memories that threaten my sanity. Bottle shards winking like diamonds in the lights cut a pretty picture. I spent a moment thinking about the fact that nobody would notice when you leave, when you’re nothing but a memory. Nobody cares.
Puts to mind a movie I saw a while ago. The title eludes me now, but there was a hitman played by Tom Cruise. He was talking with this taxi driver and shared a story about a guy who died on a train and had been dead for eight hours before anyone noticed.
I thought about that – and then, I came to the realization that it doesn’t matter. ‘Nothing ever matters,’ I say out loud. I taste my tongue, feeling the numbness that comes with ingesting too much alcohol at once. I looked around as a car came screaming out of the darkness. It went on for three heartbeats – and then, it stopped, brakes shrieking like a banshee let loose. Slowly, it started backing up, no doubt for some concerned citizen to attempt talking me out of my intention.
I smiled over my shoulder before straightening on the edge of the bridge I was standing on. And without preamble or drama…
Depression is real. Call any of the following lines to share your pain.
Someone’s always listening.