17/21 "Even Standing Still" (album: Reset to Factory Specs) sums up a lot of my feelings in 2020. When something beautiful is felt again, after a long period of feeling almost nothing, it's an epiphany.
I was deep in the depression that had taken hold of me at the end of 2018 and not yet let go, but I had reached the bottom so there was no farther to fall. It might sound strange to someone who's never been there, but there's a kind of peace at the bottom. A peace that is unique to sitting there, aware of where you are.
Nothing can be expected of you. At rock bottom you're as low as you can go, so in a way you are suddenly freed from expectation, from planning, from the future or the past. You just exist there. And if your depression has brought with it (or been exacerbated by) the myriad expectations you and everyone else has had of you, then without them a burden has been lifted.
The hardest part is getting up again and starting the climb. To even want to. To even contemplate it. To even remember there's anything more than flat, quiet, inertia.
One evening at sunset I took Ivy (my favourite of the shelties) out to pee in the backyard because she asked. I was barely connected or aware of what I was doing those days. Actions were routine, not thought out. I was watching her and suddenly she looked up. Silently. Transfixed.
So I looked up. I saw crows - my favourite bird - and counted 50 of them flying over my head. The orange sunset light caught in their wings. It was the most beautiful thing I had seen in what felt like a lifetime of fog and gloom, and it got through.
That doesn't mean I went inside and was no longer depressed. But that spark of beauty burned a tiny hole in that fog, and in the months that followed more did the same.
Depression is different for everyone who lives with it. Myself, I've got several different kinds of depression that come and stay or rise up or build up. I'm still learning their tells, and how best to handle them. We all are.
But that day sparked a song about being told to stand still, and still finding the beauty there.