I’m alive, I’m alive, I’m so alive. I’m so alive and I’m also so hoping that I don’t get sued for stealing lines from Broadway shows, which I did here, have done before, and if I’m honest will probably do again. Because Broadway musicals are awesome. But I digress.
The line above is from the musical “Next to Normal,” a musical about mental health where a mother has delusions that her long deceased son is still there. This song is the son singing, telling the world he is still there, despite the fact only the mother can see him.
The son, who only she can see, seems like an apt analogy for depression. When it is at its worst you feel like people view you the way all the other characters viewed the son. Invisible. You feel insubstantial, transparent even, like no matter how loud you shout no one will see you.
Coming out of a depression is that moment in the musical when the son bellows out he’s alive, connecting with the audience in a powerful way.
Last week I was struggling with a particularly bad bout of depression and I felt like I was the silent version of the son. The version I felt that no one could see, that no one cared about. Or maybe it was just that I didn’t want to be seen, couldn’t bring myself to be seen because I was sure that if people did see me, they’d see me with the same negativity that I see myself with in those moments. They’d see me as someone who should be dead but for some reason keeps singing.
Thankfully, this week things are looking up. The depression, that lingered some through the weekend, is gone and I want to run into the world screaming “I’m Alive, I’m so alive” (but I don’t because the whole point of this post is that I’m back to normal, instead of being next to it and normal people don’t belt out Broadway songs randomly in public, which is a real shame because it’d certainly brighten up my commute).
I know that the depression will return. I know I will struggle with those demons again. I know this isn’t a cure, but merely a reprieve. Yet what I am working on is holding on to these moments, working on getting them stuck in my head like a particularly catchy Broadway song. Because moments like these, moments where I’ve just come out of a depression and I am full of energy and feel like I could be the star of a show can help be a buoy carrying me through my next depression, along with the moments I wouldn’t trade for the world that I’ve shared with the co-stars and supporting roles in my life, the people who’ve helped me get through some of my worst moments, even if they don’t realize it.
I’m alive! I’m young, scrappy, and hungry. I think I’ll try defying gravity, and you can’t pull me down. I’m mixing my musicals now, which is probably a pretty good sign that it is time for a curtain call on this post and time for me to go find some musicals to listen to that I totally won’t be singing in public because again, that would be weird.