There is a light that never goes out

I’ve got two sets of skin. There’s the one I wear most of the time, the one that fits my recently-a-little-wider-but-overall-much-narrower waistline; it’s the one I take with me on a warm day when I can turn up the stereo in my car, open the sunroof and drive a little too fast. It’s the skin I’m comfortable in and lucky enough to have around and available to me most of the time. I like this skin, I feel good when I’m wearing it and I’m a better man with it on.

But there is this other skin. It’s bigger and heavier and I think my hair is probably longer with this one but the truth is that I don’t really look in the mirror when I’m wearing it so I’m not super familiar with what it looks like. I don’t need to know what this skin looks like because I immediately know and can’t fucking stand it when it arrives. It descends like a fog; sometimes I can stave it off, sometimes I can’t. The idea of looking at myself during the time I’m wearing it makes me all kinds of uncomfortable.

What’s worse though is that this heavier, uglier, much more despondent skin of mine is actually a bit more comfortable, like those clichéd jeans you’ve owned for a decade that feel nice but have no support and are not suitable for public wearing and should definitely be thrown out. I mean after all, I’ve spent more time in this skin than any other over the course of my life, and while I tend to beat myself up pretty well while I’m wearing it, at least the scars end up being mostly invisible because they’re on the inside.

This other skin, this heavy, dull, self-despairing skin keeps me from doing simple things like brushing my teeth, sleeping more than two hours at a time at night while tempting me to sleep 4+ hours at a time during the day. It gums up the gears of useful tools like responding to stress in a reasonable manner and being able to stay away from intrusive and self-demeaning thought spirals. I hate this other skin. I hate it so much. The hate feeds it, I think.

My mental illnesses seems to be a miasma of anxiety and depression and while I feel like I live without them often enough, lately I’m noticing the cold comfort of my old, heavy skin more and more, and what’s worse is that I’m affecting the people I love when I have it on.

This post is a sort of letter to myself, a reminder that when this oppressive, gray blanket of awful descends, that there is a way out from under it. I’ve found it before and it’s not a colossal failure of mine to have lost sight of the way out for a while. As long as I can remember that there is a light and it will never go out, I’ll be fine.

(Thanks to Morrissey and Irvine Welsh for the title idea.)

13 thoughts on “There is a light that never goes out

  1. I commend you for your ability to put into words what many of us battle off & on or daily during our lives. People who do not know depression often have no understanding or ability to comprehend how deeply it can affect a person, to the depths of our souls @ times. This, in my opinion, could shine a ray of light onto a issue that many do not understand, that depression is not something I/he/she/we can “just get over”.

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  2. I so understand how you feel. Being bipolar myself those high and lows will drive you mad. Sometimes I feel so alone and it naturally frightens me just as I am sure it does you. I have not been as lucky in finding relief but I do feel more stable at this time. I do appreciate the honesty in your blog thank you for sharing.

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  3. Hey man, as someone who also suffers from depression and anxiety you are an inspiration. Im only 22 but when i think of being a father in the future, i have always been worried regarding the effect on my future kids. You have proved to me that i shouldnt be so worried. You are an amazing father and ANYONE would be lucky to have a father who cares so much about their child. You being there for your son even simply through texts, must have meant a lot to your son. I know it wouldve helped me relax had i been in such a horrible experience.
    Bravo.

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  4. Kevin, First let me say that I’m very happy for you and your children that they were safe and not harmed during the recent incident at their highschool. I will never understand why these incidents happen, but know that God cries when they do and is there to comfort those with his love and grace. I’m blessed with the gifts of love, grace, and unstanding from my Father in heaven. Yes, I’m Christian and many times during the times of “wearing different skins” (especially the one of clinical depression) he has never let go of my hand.
    Thank you for the Blog “There is a light that never goes out” 🙂
    Thank you for reminding me to remember there is a light that never goes out and to find it even when I don’t want to.
    Thank you most of all for sharing with others what happens to those of us who suffer from depression and that we (I) can’t explain how our world can spin to places we didn’t ask for.

    May God Bless you and your family thru the coming New Year !!!

    Kim

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  5. Huuuuuge Morrissey/Smiths fan, here. Just read your post about you and your son’s texts. That was pretty heavy, and glad to hear that your son is safe and sound. I don’t have any kids, but I have worked in public schools for many years and this kind of stuff def hits me to the core. Sending nothing but love and good thoughts to you and your family this season…

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