So, this one time, I was in Whole Foods. I was walking around at my leisure (I will often take an hour to grocery shop, just wandering and looking at stuff and backtracking a million times. Its my zen place), talking on the phone with I don't remember who, and partaking in all the awesome samples of fresh fruit and veggies and random food they have going on. I grabbed a kiwi, which was surprisingly almost the entire piece of fruit, just peeled, and popped it right into my mouth.
I then proceeded to breathe it down my windpipe, where it became lodged and began to suffocate me.
I could not breathe. I couldn't speak. All I could make was these choking sounds because as it turned out, that is what I was doing. Choking.
I have the wherewithal to put my phone down on the ledge of one of the fruit stands - my friend who I am on the phone with keeps talking and doesn't even notice my absence. I signaled to people around me that I was choking. Did these people NOT learn the universal symbol for choking in school? I know there is a poster somewhere in this store giving an example. I am making eye contact with these people. I know they know what I am trying to say. The employees just look at me, panic growing in their eyes. There are about 10 people that can see what is going on in the area. All of them looking at me. None of them taking a step towards me. They are afraid of me. Afraid of the fact that I am dying, right there in front of them.
As the panic starts to take hold, I look around, pleading with my eyes for someone to help me. At some point, it dawns on me that no one is going to. Either from the lack of knowledge of the very simple himleich menuver that will save my life, or from the panic and fear that is keeping them rooted to the spot. When I realize this, my mind spins. I start to run scenarios around in my head about what would happen if I died. I remove my hands from around my neck, since making the sign is doing me no good, and begin to press into my stomach with my fists.
It doesn't work. I am still choking.
Have you ever tried to hold your breath underwater? We used to have contests as kids. I would usually win, because I was really good at calming the panic that would come when you ran out of oxygen. All of my pool training at oxygen deprivation begins to kick in and I am eerily calm.
I think of all the safety videos we had to watch as a lifeguard. I think that really, they say to just punch yourself to get it out. I keep trying. It keeps not working.
Finally, somehow my brain tells me to ram myself up against one of the fruit stands. So I do. I fall against it, and the Kiwi (still almost whole) shoots out of my throat and across the produce section. I take in a huge breath. Everyone immediately stops staring and goes about their business of grocery shopping. No one even asks me if I'm okay.
I pick my phone back up try to tell my friend what happened, but they don't even really comprehend. What seemed like an eternity to me was probably in all reality only a few seconds to them.
This is what it feels like for me to be depressed. No one can really help me. They have to watch, in horror, as I choke to death on my own self pity and doubt. The Kiwi can be something as simple as spending too much money on groceries that sends me into a choking tailspin that feels like I am about to die. Sometimes, it is a commercial on TV that makes me dry weep until the choking feeling comes back again. Other times, it is just being lonely and missing David while he is working. Or dealing with an annoyed clint. Or feeling the time slip away late into the night as I work on a cake instead of sleeping. The choking feeling comes, it stays a while. Sometimes, I figure out how to shove myself against a good book, or go on a walk, or watch a funny movie or whatever to get it to go away quickly. Most of the time, it stays for a while.
It is funny, being depressed. I can still laugh and talk and probably no one knows most of the time. In fact, some of my best friends probably have no idea. It isn't like people understand if you are a generally functioning human being who isn't crying all the time, but you are still depressed. It is just this odd thing.
I hate it. I want it gone. But just like choking, no one can help me. I have to dislodge whatever the heck this is myself. And I can. And I will. It is just taking time.