Missus and I recently watched Star Trek: The Next Generation. We loved it. The show and my feelings towards it are worthy of a longer post than I want to get into here, but there’s one episode that I thought was really striking.
It’s called “Remember Me”. The doctor, Beverly Crusher, gets stuck in a rapidly shrinking “pocket universe”, and as it shrinks it slowly deletes everyone she cares about on the ship. The ones left have no memory of the ones deleted, and think she’s crazy for talking about people who were never there, or even existed at all.
The episode’s scenario is not an exact comparison, but I am reminded of how depression slowly squeezes the life out of folks, including me and my wife over the past year or two. I won’t speak to her experience, but mine has been a slow spiral: I barely have the energy to keep up with and put time into friends and family, small negative interactions turn into crushing events that lead me to pull away without dealing with conflict, I have little or no desire to plan for the future, I tread water at work, let self care lapse, lose the ability to enjoy little things, I do things just to cope and kill time rather than for enjoyment and progress and tangible value to be gained from them…. Over everything, the questions and worries spin. “What’s the point? You’ll just lose interest in this project in a month. Why try? You can’t keep up with a new friend. You’re going to pull away after a year, when the shine wears off and the work of relationship is needed. Why do you exist anyway? Does my world really need me? What do I bring to the table anyway? You’re a project, a drain on people who are already drained.”
This isn’t a perfect illustration, but I had the idea of circles representing certain facets of my life, as depression slowly tries to fade the lines and erase the circles completely, while the dark line on the outside presses in relentlessly.
Depression lies. But there’s enough truth for the lies to all seem real, in the middle of it. It’s not the “real” world, but the pocket universe is real enough to hurt, and kill.