Wednesday, May 14, 2008

All we can do is keep breathing

I wrote this a while ago, intending to post it to some anonymous depression-focused blog I created, but it's part of who I am (sometimes) and I think it really belongs on the Chronicles. I don't feel the need to be anonymous anymore.
I like "Grey's Anatomy." I think at its best, the show can be genuinely moving. It's no "Buffy"--pondering the nature of good and evil and what it means to have a soul. But definitely glimpses of the simultaneous fragility and resilience of the human heart.

I also really like its music. I'll leave it to others to analyze what that says about my hipness or lack thereof, but I enjoy what I find. And sometimes I find pieces that resonate. Like the song I currently can't get out of my head: "Keep Breathing" by Ingrid Michaelson:

I want to change the world. Instead, I sleep.

Wow, did that catch my attention the first time I heard it. Not that my aspirations were ever quite that lofty, but there are things I thought I would do and I haven't. Projects I want to do, but don't. Specifically, this current relapse has been all about apathy. A lack of desire and energy to do anything but keep body and soul (and my dog) together. Like the song goes on to say:

All that I know is I'm breathing.

Pretty grim, right? And it's definitely felt like that sometimes. Full on episodes of that scary nothingness that is woven into the fabric of depression--what I like to call "the abyss." But I also find another meaning in the song--a subtle shift in the lyrics:

All I can do is keep breathing

Like, as long as I'm breathing, anything is possible.

Breath, in various contexts, is kind of a personal touchstone. Like another song I picked up from Grey's: "Breathe (2 AM)." The tension--musically and lyrically--continuously intensifies, as life throws itself at the narrator, building into a crescendo. The movement and urgency are reminiscent of developing panic attack. Pulse racing, brain sprinting as you try to just hold it together. And then you remember:

Breathe, just breathe.

Taking deep, measured breaths has been a major coping mechanism for me for so long, and while sometimes, during really sustained bouts of panic, only a little valium will do, I like the reminder that sometimes it's possible to just pause and slow it down a few beats.

Or, as the great philosopher and poet Paul Hewson (aka Bono) would say:

And if the night runs over
And if the day won't last
And if your way should falter
along the stony pass
it's just a moment
this time will pass.

No comments: