All my life I carried some kind of drive, as though the first-baseman-mitt-sized hands of a dad pushes a shy son to join the group; nudging, like the dog’s wet muzzle flips your hand like a pancake in order to be petted; knocked, like the brass-ring a toothless lion holds loosely between jaws, and which falls against a brass plate sounding more like the dinner bell than the formal announcement of a visitor.
This propulsion, like a jet plane, carried me to soaring heights where earth stretched like a night watchman and people, critical to life, shrunk so small so quickly that they hardly mattered. Wouldn’t you think things of such importance could be seen from above? Monuments can be seen; impact can be seen; destruction can be seen. But people or their self-designations like importance or starvation or anger or bigotry or religion or anything, anything they’ve said or thought or threatened you can’t see. You can see evidence, like ugly scars; at night lights dot the darkness like worn drapery holding back dawn, but some areas appear engulfed in flames, such a wide swath of light that I’d heard it told that the moon, once proud of its subtlety, is thinking of moving on, to Mars or Neptune maybe, a planet looking to adopt a real satellite, not some space junk.
The experts (who, self-admittedly, know very little about mood disorders, and even less about proper treatments) have identified this lack of oomph as a signature symptom of depression. Ironically, the less oomph the more depressed.
Perhaps people have created a number of different systems all designed to manage oomph. Clocks are oomph speedometers; birthday’s are oomph reminders; corner offices are oomph autobahn; retirement accounts are oomph cruise control.
Without oomph it would appear that I have no where to go and no reason to go there. When you live with a mental illness you’re still in the same pool with everyone else. It’s just that you’re knee-deep at the shallow end while everyone else with oomph keeps swimming back and forth and back and forth and will eventually join you here at the shallow end. As they pass one or two might’ve noticed your inertia and may ask why you weren’t swimming, do you know how to swim, are you afraid to swim?
Oh no, I reply, I am oomphless; my brain doesn’t produce oomph; but in a world that places a high value on one’s degree of oomph, I think it’s better that I look like I have oomph because everyone that has it, is absolutely convinced that everyone has it, and those that aren’t using theirs are. . .
Are not oomphless.