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My Dark Cloud

by Chris Stefaniak

“Depression is a wimp of a word for an illness that creates a howling tempest in the brain."

– Bill Styron.

The first time I realized I was in trouble was while watching a video with my three year old nephews. Normally these two little boys fill my life with love and laughter. But that day I was miserable. Even they couldn't life my spirits. As we watched the movie, "A Bug's Life," my thoughts continued to darken. I began feeling sorry for the bugs. How could they continue their mundane existence? Day after day, gathering food and protecting their nest. It sounds ridiculous now, but that day I was brought down by characters in a children's movie.

When you have a depression the darkness closes in on you and all the things that you love work against you. And it exposes you to dark trees, dark people. It's a terrible thing. – Art Buchwald

I don’t know why I have to write about this, I just do. Maybe it will help me put this terrible time behind me. Hopefully by putting it on paper I can get it out of my head. And maybe someday it will all make sense. I still don't understand how I let it get so far without noticing. But looking back now I see the signs. They fit together like puzzle pieces. And they scare me. A couple months before I was hospitalized I created a self-portrait by cutting and pasting different parts of my body together. My mind was just starting to scatter…

It was not immediate, but over the period of several weeks it got worse and worse. I began to feel agitated, I began to feel fragile. – Bill Styron

Sometimes I feel like I’m losing my mind
When I hear the voices whispering in my ear
And I find this mental state just suits me fine

Because the world can’t drive you crazy if your already insane
I’m feeling kind of lazy and don’t have time for all the pain
Everything seems hazy so let’s flush it down the drain
Because its raining in my brain

Some days I feel like I’m trapped in a maze
When I see someone in the mirror who’s not me
I decide to just let go and enjoy the ride
– Chris Stefaniak

I don't think anyone can truly understand depression and the anxiety it provokes unless they experience it first hand. It's impossible to describe. Webster's defines it as, "a psychoneurotic or psychotic disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies." That is a pretty thorough description; however, it still doesn't capture the extreme emptiness one endures. I recently saw a painting by Edvard Munch, called "The Scream." This picture comes closer to describing what I've been through than any words I can think of.

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