When I was 26, my mother was 46 and that's the year she began to disappear.
It didn't happen all at once. Like a leaf curling inward as the hours of sunlight grow short in fall, it seemed as though she grew smaller every day. Where her smile and energy had been infectious, weariness began to find it's home in her soul.
There was a wedge of distance between her and the world and every day it seemed as if that slice of remoteness expanded in the tiniest of increments and she became a boat that slowly drifted away.
I tried to talk to her about it. She wouldn't hear any of it. "I'm just tired. I don't have the energy to care about all the things I used to care about. Maybe I'm sick." But no doctor ever found anything wrong. And her energy didn't come back. And she never started to care about all the things that had once brought her joy.
Somewhere in her 46th year she began to disappear.
Now she's 66 and she's housebound.
Depression is a thief. It takes the things most precious to your soul and hides them so far away you forget they were ever good to begin with. At first you remember the energy and vitality and you wonder where they might have gone. And then slowly, you stop caring that they are gone as you struggle just to get through another day. The urge to create beauty becomes too much to contemplate and you bide your time, watching the clock so you can go to sleep for just a little while longer. The words that used to swirl and tumble in your head, demanding to be released through your fingers are now introverted and unapproachable.
Silence becomes the noise of your mind.
And I think I know all this because now I am 46. I am 46 and I feel like a leaf curling inwards. I am 46 and there is a thin slice of remoteness poking at my soul and the joy of creating words and pictures has become muted and desaturated.
I am 46 and perhaps depression is genetic.
I watched my mother curl inward and slowly drift away. I don't want to do the same.