Melancholia

A host of events have transpired to bring this post into existence; events which, if it were possible, I would choose not to dwell upon. However, choice itself is a rare privilege afforded to few of us who suffer from this ancient malady, and it is, unfortunately, not a privilege I possess.

What those events are is not of consequence, and, indeed, needn’t be mentioned here at all. Suffice it to say that those events were not of a favourable nature; my reaction to them, albeit, is a result of my pathological inconvenience, and not how one would “normally” react. Ah, yes; there I go again, characteristically deviating from the topic at hand. Today, I shall attempt to put into words perhaps the greatest evil I have come to know, and come to know more intimately than I would have cared: depression.

Many of the few people I have spoken to regarding the subject at hand seem to have rather ill-conceived notions about the malady. I shall forego the medical and psychological explanations, here, for the vast web that is the Internet would do a far better job of explaining that aspect than my little corner ever could. No, instead, I’d like to show what it means to be depressed, and how it is not, in fact, your everyday case of Monday morning blues.

Imagine, if you will, a world which is tinted brown, like a town from the old wild West movies, except the sky is constantly covered with clouds, and the sun only barely manages to shine through. This world contains nothing but a road, a single road, leading somewhere into the distance. The world is densely covered with fog, and so where the road leads, exactly, is something which you do not know. The fog is not a normal fog, however; it is a fog made of some thick, gelatinous substance which makes movement difficult, as though the mist is resisting the advances of motion. It is also impossible to tell the time of day, as there are no watches, and the brown haze constantly presents itself with the same hue throughout.

Now, imagine you are woken up every morning if, indeed, it can be so called, and forced to put a heavy bag on your back. What this bag contains; who is making you carry the load; what you are supposed to do it with are questions which you are neither allowed to ask, nor have any answers to. You are then made to walk down the single road into the obscure distance, through the gelatinous fog in a brown tinted world, with the load on your back, towards a place which you do not know.  All of a sudden, presumably at the end of the night, you are asked to stop and take rest, but you are not allowed to take off the bag. Rest comprises reading through horror upon horror, penned down by a malicious writer who knew well how to make disaster seem close to home. The next morning (?), the rigmarole repeats itself, only now the load has increased from the previous day.

That, my dear readers (the plurality is assumed), is how I view depression. In the end, it boils down to a whole lot of nothingness; there is no aim, there are no dreams or hopes, there are no goals, there isn’t even the promise of a tomorrow. There is just a long, straight road, going ever onwards. The only way out of this insane, pointless ritual seems to be an absence of existence, and it is easy to see why so many of us would rather choose that path than the brown tinted one: it may not be more colourful, but black is better than brown.

It is from this melancholy that I, and hundreds of thousands others like me across the world, seek escape. Tell us now that we are just weak, or that it will get better, or some other inane shit along those lines? The dense fog that covers our world drowns out the sound of everything other than our deepest, darkest thoughts, which seem to take a personality of their own and insist upon their presence being acknowledged. It is not about weakness, my privileged friends who do not know the true meaning of despair, and it most certainly isn’t about sadness.

The cuts on my arms are not from my inability to handle the stresses that life throws at me, or my hate for myself (though that plays a major part). The cuts on my arms are from my desire to feel something, anything, other than a gnawing sense of regret for being alive. The cuts on my arms are from me trying to take back control; from me trying to tell myself that the pain which I am experiencing is my own doing and that I have the power to stop it when I wish.

This, however, is an elaborate illusion. The cuts on my arms are lies I tell myself to make the world more bearable, prolonging my journey down the road in the process. With each cut I make, I give myself the motivation to remain in this brown, murky world; it is almost as though there is a contorted feedback mechanism preventing me from escaping this very cruel, cruel world. All forms of self-sabotaging that I do, be it in terms of my relationships or to my body or in my work, they are all forms of me clutching at straws, desperately trying to regain control, knowing that I am destined for failure even before I start.

If you resonated with this, dear readers, tell me, such that we can plan our journey through this world together, and maybe find solace in knowing that others are as doomed as we are. For the only way to alleviate suffering is to not suffer alone.

Good day (hark!)

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Sanguine, not bloody

A surge of blood to the cheeks marks your elation when told how pretty you look in those new clothes you picked out for yourself. Is this the first time you’ve gone shopping all alone? Well done, my dear; you look smashing. Your cheeks are on fire today. Does my opinion really mean that much to you? I’m glad to have been of service, really, but the pleasure is all mine; the blood in your cheeks lights a fire in your eyes. Cherish that fire, my dear, for there are few things that blood does which are sanguine; the rest are all just bloody.

Your lips feel warm when my tongue runs across them, as though brimming with an urgency to escape and consume me in my entirety. Is it your blood at work again? Has the blood returned to fuel your inner fire, displaying your lust proudly for others to see, to touch, to feel? The quickening of that monotonous beat, sounding where your chest touches mine, tells me that your lips are not the only thing being singed by the ceaseless stream of elixir we’ve so come to fear. It’s really a lovely stream, my dear; most definitely sanguine, and not bloody.

Fuck! I bit you! Apologies, my dear; I was not aware that the same blood which flows in your veins also flows in mine. They’d told me differently when I was younger. My blood was redder than yours, they’d said; after all, you were green, and I was scarlet, like the aching scream of a dying sun. Look, though, how the same red that drove sense from my mind and into my loins now pools in your mouth. Spit it out, my dear, and look how it swirls. Here, let me show you mine, and we can watch them blend together, such that they might well have come from one body, one soul, one heart. The colour only brightens, my dear; even blood itself is more sanguine than bloody.

Don’t fret now, my darling. It’s only a little prick, and then you get to see the clear tube fill with a crimson glow. It’s serene, really; there is something calming about this deep, violent flood. To think, the answers to our questions lie in the scarlet depths of this tiny tube; answers to questions we didn’t want to ask in the first place. Curious, isn’t it, my dear; we would never have had to ask these questions had your blood, which really is the same as mine, not betrayed your mind, taking its body along with it? I have faith in the answers that this tube holds, but I see that you don’t. Answers are rewarding; and the blood, once again, at least for me, is sanguine. Is it just bloody for you, my dear?

Oh, the world is a horrid, horrid place. When did the red that signalled love and passion bend its will to ire? Or has it always been this way; have the two been so intricately linked, forever, that the difference only now emerges? Does knowing make you feel better, my dear, or would you much rather have lived out your days in the tranquillity of ignorance? You don’t blush like you did that first day anymore, but you bleed more. Has knowing why you bleed made you feel better, or is the blood still as bloody as it was before? Knowledge is good, they tell me; does that mean that your blood, paler now than it used to be, is more sanguine now that I know?

There is a stillness to you which I am not familiar with. In all our years together, I have never once seen you this calm, this restful, this immobile. What of your blood, I asked them; they said it has frozen inside your veins. Will it never rush to your face again, my dear? Is that why you feel so cold when I hold you? All you ever were, it would seem, was the flowing fire within you; a fire which has drowned in a frozen pool of red. There is a poetry to it, don’t you think? And yet, just this once, the blood that made you so alive is more bloody than sanguine.

You’ve been silent a long time now, my dear. When your blood froze, we tucked you into a bed of earth and covered you with the sky. Has the sky been keeping you warm? Has your blood thawed enough that your lips are warm to the touch again? I’d thought not. Nothing is warm anymore if I’m being honest. I wonder, often, if my blood too is freezing, even as I breathe? It certainly seems so. It has no reason to be warm anymore, with no one to feel its commanding heat but the inside of my skin, which is has long resigned to the feeble atrocities the crimson tyrant is capable of committing. Sometimes, I wish to see if the crimson tyrant is still crimson, or if the malaise has turned it black and sludgy; maybe that is why it hurts to breathe. Black and sludgy, yes; there is nothing sanguine about that.

I’m told the colour has faded from my skin, my dear; the little ones, whose faces fill up with fire like yours did so many years ago, or was it yesterday? They come to me often, climbing atop my thin bed in this room of white and blue, and ask me for stories of a time when things were redder. Nothing is red anymore, my dear; not crimson, nor scarlet. The faces which flush when they pant are not the right red, but a rosy pink at best. No one bleeds into their souls anymore. I feel my blood freezing too, now that I think about it. Is that why the false reds are here, to bid me adieu? I’ll be happier where you are, my dear; we’ll thaw our blood together. It’d be nice to see sanguinity again; the blood that they have here is just far too bloody.

Those who remain are loyal to you

Today is as dark a day as there ever was. No, there wasn’t the declaration of another World War. No, the stock market didn’t crash. No, there wasn’t the outbreak of a lethal disease. No, there wasn’t a terrorist attack on a city causing great casualties. No, today something happened which is far worse than any of these events. Today, in the truest sense of the word, a light has gone out.

The world has played host to a most unfair event today. The passing away of Alan Rickman is an event, not to be mourned, but to be violently fought against. But Death doesn’t care. It cares not for emotion or sentiment or justice. It comes to all, and comes when it wishes, and there is nothing we can do about it, except mourn. And so, death has taken the second brother for his own.

But far more than this, a light has gone out. Of course, Alan Rickman was a legend. A greatly talented actor and a very inspirational person, but the child in me doesn’t care about all that. The young boy in me knows only one thing: this is the second time we’ve lost Severus Snape. Yes, it was inevitable, and yes, it’s silly to get so worked up over the death of a person who we didn’t know personally, but emotions never been slave to logic, and they don’t intend to start now.

And yet it’s not just that. For years now, the Harry Potter generation has debated extensively over the character of Snape, arguing as to whether he should be revered as the bravest man in the Potter Universe, or condemned as petty and vindictive. None of that, however, really matters now; not today, not in this context. Alan Rickman wasn’t the “book Snape”, whose nobility is questionable at best. Alan Rickman brought the character to life in a way none of us could have believed possible. For a second, we can fathom hating Rowling’s Snape, but we have nothing but admiration for Rickman’s, because there were no flaws in him. He was perfect.

Today, the world cries as a whole. No, that is not an exaggeration; that is the final word of the child in me, whose world revolves around the Harry Potter Universe, whose life is just one train ride away from Hogwarts, who can lose this make believe world of Muggles and return, by page or big screen, to the world where we really belong. Alan Rickman was perhaps the greatest champion of that world, and that world will never, ever, be the same again.

Yes, I am foolishly emotional about this event, and no, I have no regrets. I care not for the accolades he received in theatre or in film, nor the countless characters which he brought to life, but only for the ten years of his life for which he was our Snape, my Snape. His loss will be forever a burden upon my chest for the simple fact that his was the face that made me want to return to the series again and again.

The greatest understatement of all is to say that he will be missed. You cannot miss something that you cannot live without. You cannot miss something which cannot be forgotten, and you, sir, will never be forgotten. How can we forget Alan Rickman, who has been the symbol of a hidden hero for millions across the globe, for years and years? How can we ever forget Alan Rickman, who made us fall in love with a murderer, and who we still cannot see as anything other than our beloved despicable Potions Master, anyone other than the evil Slytherin with greasy black hair parted in curtains?

The fact remains, though, that he is gone. Most of us will know of this fact already, because the Internet works faster than the Owl Post. The Potterheads will mourn this loss for days, maybe weeks to come, but then they too will get over it. But there will be those few of us, those of us for whom he was not a character, or an actor, or any other thing which people claim he was. We will never let him go, even if we were able to, because he’s an emotion to us, and we are weak and dependent on this emotion for carrying our lives.

And so, there is but one thing to do, as we wait on the King’s Cross station that is our despair. We must wait, and we must wait some more, and then, when it seems as though the fire has died and the lives of the blissfully ignorant have been restored to normal, those of us who still feel must take board a train. A train that will take us on.

If there is one thing I’ve learnt from losing myself in Harry Potter, it’s that those who love us never really leave us. Armed with this deluded sense of faith, we will hold on to the memories which make us who we are: the proud generation which have stuck by Harry till the very end.

Sir, you remain in our hearts. Always.