This article was published 9 years ago. My views have probably evolved muchly since.
I’ve endured a consistent bout of depression throughout my life. Every few months, I need to retract and wallow and remain under covers for a few days, like a dying caterpillar. I’ve labelled it as my depressive period, my own personal oblivion, but I think it’s actually a normal occurrence for most people engaging with life. This article by Julie Peters, at the very least, indicates that I’m not alone in this ritual.
The state of Oblivion, as I’ve termed it in my life, is a space wherein I exist without attachment to a past, no hope for a future, just very real and very raw. In this state, I abandon all need to hold on, crying like a hungry babe, releasing every dream, desire, hope and wish. I am alone. I am dead. Pain pours out of me through my wailing and anguish. The memories of what was are revealed for what they truly are, just memories, electrically stored in my brain, with no real connection to the event or person that formed them. My dreams are the same. No relation to the reality I am surrounded in.
Because around me, and only around me, are the products of my creation. Around me or within reach are the friendships I have formed, the possessions I have hoarded, and the knowledge I have acquired. The lovers of my past are mere memories. They no longer exist. I can speak the tales in which they feature but there is no proof that they ever were real.
Well, not until I dig up the photographs and chat logs 😛
Removing ourselves from the digital chronicles of our current era, our experiences and relationships that are no longer active in our lives may as well be figments of our imagination as much as our future dreams are. Yet it is so easy to attach to both. I have found that in my periods of Oblivion, I am far more grounded and in touch with what is, with my present so to speak, than with a past and future that exists mostly only in my mind. The strings that attached my heart and head to events, places, situations and people are cut for a time, and I feel free. I feel better able to deal with life, hope-less and on my own.
Historically, my best adventures have come about when I have been without hope (ie. not fixated on a particular future outcome) and alone (ie. not attached to any particular person or place). The seers will say that this is because I am being most real when I have no expectations and distractions, to the point that I am open to anything and anyone coming into my space. Unclouded by mental prejudice, the world is my oyster.
Historically, as well, this period does not last. Some years, it is longer than others, but almost always the memories return, I find someone else to attach to and develop hope and expectations. This is not a negative. Memories are good. As are connections, hope, dreams, drive, expectations; They are indications of our humanity. The negative aspect is the attachment that keeps us locked in a specific space where we can’t see the wood for the trees, drowning in lost love and missed opportunities. Or so we would perceive.
I am in an in-between space right now, oscillating between the disappointment and anguish of dreams unfulfilled and the clear peace of endless oblivion. It’s a clear sign that I need to scream more.