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Black Cloud

There is a monster on the television show LOST. To call it a monster sounds a bit simple and childish, but that’s what they call it. They don’t know what it is or where it came from. It comes out of nowhere – though often it is probably triggered by something. Maybe if they knew the trigger they could stop it.

It is a huge, black, dense cloud of smoke. It comes from above or under the ground or out of the woods. It appears out of nowhere, and then wraps itself around you, enveloping you, suffocating you. Or it can grab your legs right out from underneath you and pull you down into a hole that’s impossible to get out of. While you’re in that hole, or enveloped, suffocating in the black cloud, you can hear the monster mimicking your own voice, telling everyone you’re okay. You don’t know how to stop it, or at least how to use your own voice to say you’re not okay, and you need help.

For me, depression is that black cloud. Usually triggered by something – any myriad of things. I know I spend my life standing on the brink, waiting for it again. It grabs me out of nowhere, enveloping me and suffocating me. Or it grabs my legs and pulls me down, further and further underground. I hear my own voice saying I’m okay. So often that’s not true, but I don’t know how to stop it. I don’t know how to get out of its grip, and get away.

So I run. I put my running shoes on, and sometimes a hat, and sometimes gloves, and sometimes when it’s so cold that my eyelashes freeze together and sometimes when it’s so hot that I’ve been on the verge of heatstroke. I run. I run because I often feel that it’s the only thing that keeps that black cloud at bay, but sometimes it’s like I just can’t run fast enough or far enough. It’s always nipping at my heels, waiting for me to stumble so it can grab me and feed on me once more.

I’ve gotten better at recognizing the signs when it’s coming. I can sense it before it grabs me full force. Sometimes I can stop it, but when I can’t, I know what I need to do. I run.

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