E- is for energy. Andrew Solomon writes “The opposite of depression is not happiness but vitality.” Energy leaves you when you are depressed. It is a betrayal, as if the source that created you abandoned you. Lack of energy becomes a crisis because it activates doubt that you exist at all, that there is nothing redeeming about you and that maintaining a body and mind is useless. It is like a valve is shut off and the only way back to the source is to eliminate my need for energy.
When I am depressed energy comes back very slowly. Like air-drying after a swim, my body wet for a long time and eventually become dry. The mystery of how my energy returns is as confounding as how it leaves. I would need an electron microscope to find the germ of change.
I wrote about a time when I was completely drained of energy and felt I could not go on. It is very confusing to be alive and have no sense of purpose. Under these circumstances it is a struggle to find any words to explain how I feel. The closest thing I can compare it to is falling down a steep flight of stairs.
When I woke this morning
I could not move
When I turned the key
Not even a click was heard.
I was surprised I could wake
without the use of my body.
What have I done?
My body is paralyzed in bed;
Stopped by some counter motion.
Could I have fallen
Down the stairs?
I am bruised and broken.
I think I fell
Down the stairs.
This has happened before
I turned the key
There was a faint click
I slowly, cautiously shifted gears
Holding my breath.
When the ignition took time to turn
Was this how
Christ felt when crucified?
His hands and feet nailed down?
He spoke like the last turn of an engine
Feeling the click of something still alive and said
“Forgive them for they know not what they do”?
I do not know what I have done
I must have fallen
Down the stairs
The stairs that lead to the beach
Taken over by raspberry branches
To where rancid wine touched my lips
And I am crowned Queen of Sorrows
Destined to die
Sooner than later.
Where people laugh and say give her a choice
In how she carries the cross
She will stumble either way.
In any case
letting go is not an option.
The cross is my bones
They are broken from the fall
and cannot be moved.
They can only be washed ashore
As curved and twisted driftwood
Amid baby shells
Complete and bleached by the sun.