The black dog has returned.
With it returns the bleakness pushing me towards the numb blankness and the despair.
And let's not ever forget the guilt. Corrosive, debilitating and hurtful; constantly present.
I'm home with my husband whom I love wholeheartedly, openly and genuinely and my ten year old daughter; the sunshine and energy in my life.
And yet the skin on my face is dry and thin and feels like it will split when it is forced to stretch and produce a smile.
My reflection in the bathroom mirror, the rearvision in the car, the camera's view-finder and the dirty shop window shows my mouth sagging downwards, my eyes dead.
Smile. Smile Again.
Answer when spoken to. Reply with a question; let them know you're interested. Point out something so that they keep talking and you can try again to smile. Breathe.
Ugly. Old. Pointless. Tired. So tired. Don't want to try any more.
We walk through a national park with the cool air giving us goosebumps as the sun distantly glints through the top of the tree canopy. I want to find a warm, dark spot and lie down. To be silent; to hide.
But I can't. I won't.
I can get through this. I have before and I will again.
For some reason, even as I feel myself sliding down, down into my solitary hole of shame and despair and guilt, I can still hear my husband and child and the concern in their voices. And I'm listening: I do understand. They love me: it doesn't matter why or whether it's deserved, they just do.
And that's a good thing.
I will get through this.