The line that, once crossed, destroys any last remaining sense of hope.
It’s not as far behind me as you think.
I’ve healed from grief, I’ve learned to live with chronic fatigue, I’ve rewritten lost drafts, I’ve even adjusted to the changes in my family life (twice! in four months!) but when my own mind turned on me again, goddamnit, that was It.
I thought I was going to be okay. I really did. I thought I had some bounce left in me. Lately I’m old elastic, as liable to crumble as to snap back. — Old. Oh, everything about me is old. I’m aging. You laugh, but I move into my late twenties in a few weeks. Kind of an Edith Crawley moment, here. I’m the spinster daughter. I’m not going to have what other women have, though I’ll be damned if old Claudius ties me down in my middle years. It’ll be his own stupid fault there’s nobody around to see to him.
I wonder if I’ll live long enough to complete a degree when it’s this bad. I wonder if I’ll lose my shit some night, light off into the darkness and jump into the creek with my pockets full of stones. But of course I’ll survive, because the bridge is low. There’s no need to worry. Every time I have even a quasi-suicidal thought, this is how I bring myself back: I believe completely and utterly that any attempt I make will fail.
If that’s not depression, shit, I’m not sure what is.
The same old fears blow past like tumbleweed. He will leave me because I am depressed. I will remain reliant on others all of my life. I will never know what it’s like to live anywhere but a modern-day rookery. Which this is. I can’t call it Bleak House any longer; I don’t feel the same joy here as I did when I named it. It’s a damned rookery, crowded beyond capacity with people and ghosts and things. (Notebook after notebook I can’t bear to throw away. I salvage some of the papers — inspiration. I should shelve the damned things instead, so I can use them up and pitch them out when I’m done.)
Somewhere inside me I trust I won’t be left, a deep place inside the last impenetrable fortress. If I keep trudging forward, I will get somewhere. For now, though, it’s only a trudge, not a march, nothing jaunty in my step. It’s the mental equivalent of a classic dystopian future; none of your pathetic YA attempts, please. I mean a dusty, irradiated, burning-sun-or-pouring-rain climate in which no living thing survives for long because the environment has become inhospitable. Post-nuclear. Earth-that-was. Somewhere in all this mess there’s a bunker and if I keep trudging I may reach it but for now —
— there is mud between my toes and my toes are falling off.
*** Friends don’t let friends read TVTropes, so I’m not linking to the page. Suck it up and Google.