I haven’t listened to any music for over a week. I can’t remember the last time I went a day without filling every quiet moment with background noise. But now it’s silent and I can’t bring myself to listen again. Lyrics from different songs continue to run through my head: “Black eyed angels swam with me”; “I think the thing you said was true, I’m going to die alone and sad.” But the thought of listening to music makes my head split at the temple. Melancholia. How cliché, I’ve hated most of the things I used to love lately. Except for the things I used to fear, now they seem manageable.
I’ve always thought of myself as an anxious person. Not “depressed”, just anxious. Big distinction: different medication, different symptoms. And up until now that would have been true. Or close enough that it wasn’t lying to tell myself that. But whatever has come back, the insomnia that has gripped me at night is one of rage and frustration. I used to scribble furiously in notebooks in the middle of the night, and now, instead, I want to scream and tear down the walls.
Melancholia. It hasn’t fully taken hold. The music will come back. I’ve already started to retreat into many of the things that I know well: novels, work, family, video games, and relentless activity that borders on a fear of repose. I’m still feeling hunger. That’s a good sign. But I have a taste for melancholia now, and it has a literal taste: the muddy paste that forms in your month while you sleep, that you can actually taste for a few moments once clarity returns, but before you can chase it away with water. That taste stays with me now.
I don’t know whether to lean in, in the hopes of pushing through to the other side. Or to ignore it, and starve it to death from a lack of attention that it desperately wants.
Also published on Medium.