“Heard joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he’s depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says, “Treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up.” Man bursts into tears. Says, “But doctor… I am Pagliacci.”
Oftentimes there’s a big difference between what we’re able to decipher about a person, what we see at the surface, and what lies underneath it all. There’s a big difference between appearance and essence.
I’m going to do the obvious here and use myself as an example.
It feels like being afraid of heights and having to live at the top floor of a skyscraper.
It also feels like the building is on fire. Burning from the inside out, slowly consuming floor by floor until it reaches you.
It feels as if your only choices are to either jump or accept that you are going to burn. Either way, you’re pretty much out of control.
That’s how I felt for years and years; so long, actually, that it became my own emotional baseline, so I understand quite well the difference between the burning pain of suffering deeply and the general apathy and hopelessness of depression. The emptiness. The lack of interest, joy, passion. I understand the despair, the loneliness, the reluctance to discuss about it all, the very fatiguing job of hiding it all behind a smile, or an “I’m fine” delivered in the worst way possible.