Experience

Imagine you’re in a white room.  The room is infinitely-large; so large you can’t see a wall or any kind of horizon.  Now, imagine filling that room with televisions.  On those televisions is every thought and memory you’ve ever had, every possible situation of every single event in your life past, present, and future, and every flight of imagination you’ve ever had.

Kind of beautiful in a way, isn’t it?

Except that they’re all at eardrum-splitting volume.  And you can’t turn them off.  There’s no rhyme or reason to what appears on them, they just appear and disappear seemingly at-random, always shifting and never settling on anything.  And the worst part: you’re trapped in that space.

Sometimes they all switch-off and silence fills the void.  The dull-roar fills your ears, but you can look around and actually think again.  It can go on for as short as a few minutes, or as long as years, but it’s always without warning.

That description approximates someone trying to cope with ADHD.

Now, take that person and imagine being in their shoes: unable to focus on anything, unable to really trust their senses, themselves, or others; all of reality in a near-complete suspension of logic or reason.  Pure overload.  Heart rate going through the roof, head hopelessly lost and mired, and unable to trust.  Put simply: panic.

That’s anxiety.

Now, think about that person being unable to completely convey this to someone who’s never experienced it.  How the distance between their experience and how “the rest of the world” operates yawns wide; a divide with no bridge.  How lonely it must feel and how absolutely bonkers that person must look to everyone else: irrational, anxious, unhinged.  It’s not difficult to see how that person might begin to feel fundamentally broken and disconnected from the human experience–or in some cases, a skewed and arms-length approximation of it.

The sadness and disconnection from something that might make them feel normal is somehow always maddeningly just out of reach.  Intimacy, professional success, personal achievement; the promises of life appearing as shades and specters of What Could Have Been.  It’s easy for some to say “buck up” when they don’t know.  But how could they?  How could they know about the long night-shifts alone?  How you couldn’t relate to people and how their rejection was registered not in bruises or broken teeth, but in the hours, days, weekends alone; the time expended, rendered past-tense and hopelessly useless, never to return?  About the years of keeping yourself company?  Would they even care?  What would be the point?

That would be depression.

This is where I am.  This is why it’s sometimes hard for me to relate to people or convey exactly how I feel.  It’s why I’m hard to work with sometimes and why I doubt myself and my ability.  Failure is tantamount to annihilation, disappointment and distance is an every-day reality.

I’m still trying, but sometimes it’s all I can do to not go running off to an ashram and never come back.  At least there maybe I would have some kind of peace.

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