Shame

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Shame © 2012 Jane Waterman
Shame © 2012 Jane Waterman

I come to writing today wrung out, hollowed, disappointed, ashamed. I can forgive myself the days that lapsed since my last entry. I sank into the recesses of a cave, and there I went through the motions of life in the grip of a depression so strange I can not easily shrug it off as chemical or worn neural pathways or… Is it just as I feared – the moral weakness of my soul stripped bare leaves me to such suffering?

I avoided self-hate, while hating everything that I did and created. I still created, but it felt too much like a mechanical scrabbling in the dark. I observed my brain, the object of my disease, and with that objectivity lost any sense of compassion I could feel for it. This was the past, but for a while, this was my present.

It began with the evening of the hospital. Pain, dehumanizing enough, perhaps was the catalyst. Seeking some kind of new answer to the stale problem of my kidney pain, I ventured there. The doctors and nurses were kind enough in their way. I felt heard, validated, even as I realized they could do nothing for an unknown problem. Even now I wait for the results of a scan that I fear will be too much like past ones. I wonder how it is medicine can only deal with pain when bodies are exploding. When it is a quiescent form of flesh and bone, it seems the body will never reveal its secrets.

Perhaps it was the Toradol they fed to me intraveneously, offering to help ease the pain. The doctor was extending compassion as he knew how. It didn’t reach me, perhaps because I was already beyond my body, in the realm of the mind. Slowly, the dark cavern of depression spread around me, and all I could do was be a remote observer, seeing how it sucked the joy out of the moment. Each moment that came in its wake was equally grey and lifeless.

Somehow, I blamed myself for being weak, for going to the hospital, when perhaps I wasn’t really ill. My body wasn’t exploding, and the pain, though real, was contained.

Now, I pause.

I see this is how it was, for so many of my adult years. And I feel a faint tint of orange compassion spilling over the chasm of my blue prison. I never asked to be ill. I never wanted this. God knows, I never got any advantage from it. It just was.

It just was. It just is. It’s not my fault.

God knows, it is not my fault.

Blessings,
Jane

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