It was bound to happen, and happen it did, in mid-May 2009 - my sixth month of unemployment. I had not gotten a single call back, let alone any kind of interview, since late March. I saw it coming and was powerless to stop it. The Fog was descending from the sky.
By now I assume that any readers [ARE there any readers? Hello? Helloooooo??] out there who don't know me have at least gleaned that I'm a sarcastic and fairly negative person, so reading that I am prone to periodic tussles with The Fog should not come as any great shock.
This round was going to be ugly. I had been utilizing almost all the tools at my disposal to keep it at bay, but much like trying to convince the Vogons not to throw you off one of their ships, resistance is, ultimately, useless.
There was a lot of positive stuff in my life in the weeks leading up to the Fog Attack, which of course only served to make the Attack hurt even more. I had gotten really good at being the house-husband; everything was always clean and the fridge was stocked, etc.. Laundry, dry-cleaning, any and all types of shopping, home repairs, errands and more - all expertly handled by moi.
The Orioles and Nationals, while both still terrible, beat up on some teams they had no business beating (the Os beat the evil empire in the first game played at their new $1Billion stadium, and had the intestinal fortitude to do it a second time two days later).
The weather turned awesome, I got out to shoot trains, I sat outside and read, I sent out a bazillion résumés - some of them for what seemed like really good "fits." I wrote a little for the first time in ages. My photo/negative scanning was progressing well and I was having a blast posting to the ol' photo bloggy thing. I started jogging again for the first time in years, and when that jacked up my knees mercilessly, my disappointment and pain were nicely offset by a big fat prescription for Vicodin (possibly my favorite substance on the planet). [Maris] was beyond supportive and encouraging in all things, and it appeared that she had many more months before her company would go full-on Vortex of Doom on her. Life was really not that bad, despite the fruitless job search.
As anyone who has battled depression can tell you, none of that matters much. That's all happiness stuff. Depression is not sadness or unhappiness. To someone who has never been afflicted, this illness is hard to describe. Plus, it comes in all shapes and sizes, colors and styles. Technically, mine is not that bad, except when The Fog comes.
My brand of The Fog is like The Nothing, from "The Never-ending Story." It drapes itself over me like a heavy, cold, wet and slightly smelly blanket and devours any and all energy I may have had before its arrival. I become completely immobile. My body goes numb. No one and nothing can move me from this state. I become a zombie, only without the need, desire or ability to lurch about eating people's brains. You could drop a naked, giggling Deschanel in my lap, and I would feel nothing. I'd be well aware that I should be moved, and that would only frustrate me.
When The Fog is upon me, I can barely muster the motivation to maintain my daily life. I don't do anything. I know what's happening and I know it's not my fault, but that doesn't matter at all. It's like being underwater in a straight jacket; I am utterly, completely impotent to improve anything. I know I have to wait. I don't want to wait. I want to get up and work out and get a job and make [Maris] laugh and get a haircut and buy stuff and write the great American novel and kick some bad guy's ass and drive around with the top down and cut the grass and cook the best dinner ever and call my mom just to say hi. But I can't do anything. So I wait.
Usually, I wait for a week, maybe two. This time, I waited for a solid month. I posted pics on the photo blog, I mindlessly whiled days away on Facebook and TV and stared at headlines that normally would have pissed me off, and I slept. I slept. I slept some more. I got up some days, and sat outside and slept some more while bugs bit me. I don't get suicidal or anything; that would require a motivation and energy that I just don't have. I've been through this before, so I sat in a mental waiting room and pretended to read a 3-month old "ESPN Magazine" until my name was called.
When I finally hear it, it sounds like "Bambi."
"Piss off you antelope."
"Bambi. Get up."
"I'm not done with this article about what Michael Vick did to those dogs, and I was going to read 'Why no one gives a flying fuck about the fact that alex rodriguez cheated and did steroids for years - because he's a soul-sold-to-satan yankee now' after this."
Get up, Bambi. Bambi, GET UP!!"
"Look, Mr. Bambi's Father Voice -- I'm a fucking ZOMBIE. I will eat your little venison brain, man..."
"BAMBI!! GET UP!!!"