“Thank God”(Clinical depression)

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I had a dream, many dreams. In fact I dream nightly, but one dream shook me, one dream in particular left me waking up to question the very fabric of my life, my reason for being, it made me question everything.

Now the first war that I am old enough to remember was the first invasion of Iraq. But before wars run for money, there were battles on this earth that were about pretty much nothing, created for the satisfaction of jingoists. In my dream I found myself transported back to the trenches of WWI (I think I watch too much Discovery Channel) This war was the greatest waste of human life in history, it was shell-shocking for me earlier this year to stand in Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina at the Latin Bridge and the point of the assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand, a single shot that sent the gears of war of countries all over Europe and beyond turning to begin this war of attrition, to the death.

Death, we hear it so often, it is the subject on our newsprint. We eat it for breakfast and digest the Crime Scene Investigate shows by night. It is unfortunately a part of our lives, and as you might have read on this blog, the recurrent thought of death itself is a major factor in clinical depression diagnosis. Now my thoughts of death were not then and are not now centred round death, I have no fear of it, but I guess I’m too young to really have to worry about it yet. The dream that saw me pitted in the mire of WWI with one of those rounded green iron/steel I don’t know (Guess I should pay more attention to the TV) helmets. We were all down on our hunkers in the trench, I assume that I was on the ‘Allies’ side (wasn’t everyone.)

The thing about dreams is that very little detail usually sticks with us once we awake. Here and now thought there was only one thing that stuck with me, and it haunted me. There were bullets flying everywhere, I had my rifle in hand and I stuck my head up to fire off a few rounds. I can’t remember if I hit anyone at that point but one bullet came my way and shot clear through my useless helmet. I actually remember feeling the thud, I know you aren’t supposed to be able to feel physical pain that comes out of dreams, and it is unlikely too that in the space between a bullet hitting you direct in the side of the head, and your demise there isn’t ample time to actually feel pain.

Feeling the pain would have been haunting enough by itself, but in that split second between taking the shot that would kill me, there was a thought and two words that resonated out loud, two words that I uttered across my lips as the bullet took me out of sleep through my death therein, and back into real life. We are supposed to jump up in our beds at moments like this, aren’t we? At least that is how the movies show these moments to be. But I just lay there and said “Thank God.” What did I mean by that, was I really thankful that I was dead? Was I suffering from clinical depression without my knowing? From that dream the feelings I acquired from my death were actually ones of satisfaction, I was relieved that it was all over, that life was gone. I decided in the end that it was the personality of the soldier I was playing in the dream who was speaking, that he must have been caught up in this terrible war for a thousand days of misery and that there was a delight in no longer having to be there to play witness to the misery.

I know though that I am lying to myself, that there is something inside of me still deep rooted since the days of my clinical depression. It seems that no matter how far we come, there is always the chance that we can step right back to where we were. The haunting continues sometimes, but I resolve only to assume that indeed, life is worth living and that no matter how bad things are, they can always get better.

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