WALKING IN THE ABYSS

by Dominic Watson 3 months ago in depression

THE SUBTLE SHADOW

WALKING IN THE ABYSS
DON'T LOOK DOWN

I've levelled out. After weeks of clinging on for dear life - literally - I have regained some semblance of balance. Careful though. One misstep and you will fall, Dom A pebble in the void, the only direction, down.

So, how can you harness yourself? Attach to something worthwhile and sturdy. Something grounded. The Sertraline has helped, eventually. I'm picturing the chemistry in my brain as my anchor, to keep me straying from life's constant ebb. Like an old boat I have my blemishes, on the inside and out, barnacles and weathered skin, creaky innards and a trail of bubbling wake. Too much protein.

I'm trying to get fit. As my pills have grounded me, tethered my wandering subconscious my body is crying out! The mind is healing and yet my body is turning into a facsimile of Jabba The Hutt. Recent health checks have illustrated the point of my fluctuating obesity. Perception is a malleable thing, I always likened myself to a youthful James Mason. I have had a rude awakening.

Prior to Christmas my hands were in a state of severe pain. Every morning was akin to a repetitive nightmare. Numbness, tension, the feeling that they were going to explode. Only the flow of heat or a warm surface would alleviate the pain, even then I had to take anti-inflammatory meds to quell the discomfort. A steroid injection in both wrists alleviated the pain - and still has - and I have continued to carry on with a brave front. Unfortunately, for me, this form of impairment was an invite for other forces to stir once again in the id.

I'm good. To a degree. Seeing some specialists about my hands I have come to the conclusion I'm not the toned athlete I thought myself to be. I'm overweight with a fatty liver, no doubt the weight gain has inflamed the carpal tunnel adding pressure and pain throughout the hands and arm.

Diet.

You know its coming don't you? As definite as Christmas. You are poked and prodded and you feel some moment of doubt in your brain. He can't find anything can he? He has checked my hands, my feet, my reflexes and the agility of the bones and muscle.

Diet.

He tells me to diet and come back in six weeks for an ultrasound on my hands. He can't prescribe anything because it may agitate the fatty liver. He sends me on my way with a pat on the back and a booklet on rheumatoid arthritis.

My partner points out that a steroid injection can potentially upset people with mood disorders . . . well, that probably hasn't helped. Did anyone read my file? I can hear the depression laughing in my head. Dirty laughter that comes with it the smell of shit and damp rooms. I feel a little belittled, a mockery of a man, subject to the laws of elder gods toying with my life. My existence as arbitrary as the throw of a dice. What is the point?

Don't fall.

Please.

I drag my knuckles into the warm light of March and take respite. There is warmth here, a chance to take stock and cast the shackles of winter aside. I take the first initial steps of exercise. Long walks to school and back. My diet a mix of protein and gossamer carb. It works and for the first time in a long time I feel more alert, awake, less bloated. The sun is shining still and for the first time it seems in years the sun is warm on my skin and the blue sky sings to me of better places and times. Of limitless possibilities.

You took so long sweet March.

The long stretch of winter withers into shadow, a memory best forgotten. I don't want to set foot there again. But I cannot step out of time, I am as constant as the moving Earth and its circulating seasons. Winter will reap my soul once again. But this time I must be prepared. I'm not going in naked, not again. I must arm myself with health and knowledge. I have therapy now, the sun building my resolve, literature and knowledge.

I cast you out.

I'm tethered. The abyss below looks less dark these days. I am walking across it and the sun is still shining. A few days of tawdry rain do little to besmirch my recovering essence. I have this.

I keep my mind keen, sharp. Immerse myself in literature and writing. You have no sway over me now, Depression. You're losing.

Every reaction has an equal and adverse reaction.

A friend has died. A friend who has been walking across the abyss with me in our respective paths. It aches, this deep pain that smothers your heart. It has its talons within you, embedded so deep that no warmth can reach it. I can feel myself falter on the path, a force like gravity telling me to fall with my comrade.

Where's the sun gone?

Come back.

JUMP

No

You're nothing

I teeter, the insipid words urging me, coaxing me with a painless sleep. The thought of darkness as beguiling as a lottery win. I will want for nothing.

I can't.

Something snaps.

I'm going to beat you. My resolve on the high wire of life above the abyss reasserts its balance. I need to educate the masses about you. You may smother me with your shit fingers and undulating stench here and there, but I will not give in to you and your familiars - those in my domain who would wish us harm and intimidate.

The sun is shining.

My diet and exercise fluctuate. It's more exercise and therapy of the brain right now. I have took to cycling, visiting the haunts of my town and surrounding villages, biking along roads I never knew existed, ancient roads that yearn to see unfamiliar faces. I have embraced them dearly, exploring the fathoms of my own heritage of green fields and old woods.

The barrier is up. Ready for the next battle. It will come. This is eventual. It's waiting, there in the depths, plotting, seeking a way to mould the world and the life I coalesce with.

I bike down unfamiliar roads, the sun shining on my face and the sky is humble to be here. A cold wind, circumspect in this close heat of the day laps at my neck and shoulders. It makes me shiver and for one second I waver above the abyss, the allure of darkness all too real and its promise of darkness enticing.

It is momentary, the sun rescues me and the landscape cradles my soul. I'm buoyant, biking over the abyss with possibilities forming in my mind

depression
Dominic Watson
Dominic Watson
Read next: Never In the Cover of Night
Dominic Watson

Dom is the author of the soon to be released hyperfantasy novel The Boy Who Walked Too Far. He is currently writing his next novel, Smoker on the Porch while constantly dragging himself through the molasses of life. He loves pizza.

See all posts by Dominic Watson