It’s 2:42pm on a Tuesday. The dog is curled up in my lap. With a cup of tea I settle down to read some work of a friend in my writing group. We are meeting in a few hours to discuss our work. I am fascinated how she writes – short snippets of her life that jump around in time, but through which she weaves themes and a complete narrative. She is a woman battling depression and I am struck by how directly her words resonate.

My pen is in my hand ready to comment, but I am drawn in. In one section she writes about a condition called Dysthemia, a low-level, chronic depressive condition. Her doctor says, “I suspect you’ve had it your entire life.”

I feel winded by this. Sometimes I look at my face in the mirror and notice my mouth seems to be in a constant frown. I think back to my grandfather who warned if we crossed our eyes, that they would stay that way. If we do something long enough, feel something long enough, does it become ingrained in our tissues, the essence of our being?

I wonder if I have been sad my whole life, or just since Arron died. I don’t know anymore. But I feel a sadness, hidden deep, even when I am happy. I have taken meds to help, and perhaps they do. I don’t know. They become part of the baseline after a while.

I know I should exercise, because I know it helps, but I have a new apathy towards it. It’s all so boring. I want something different. I try a ballet class, a yoga class but I can feel that clench of my jaw, the frown. I force a smile since they say even a forced smile will induce happiness. It still feels like a frown.



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