Who stole all the colour?

I have often heard people speak of depression, and throw around the word ‘gray’ … “Everything feels gray. All the colour is gone; just gray left.”

And I would think to myself, if you can’t see colours, you probably have much more serious problems than you realise. (I also took offence on behalf of gray; black, I could understand, but gray?)

As sometimes happens, I took a literal approach to something abstract. I wanted a clean-cut, definitive handle. Something that would differentiate sufferers from the general population – “Blue, you say? Clearly, it’s gray. Actually, so are the rest of these …” Something that would make it easier to identify, less of an abstract and more an absolute.

Imagine:
Doctor – OK, what colour is my tie?
Me – Uhm … *cough* red?
Doctor – I see. Take two of these at night and spend at least an hour a day looking at pictures of puppies and kittens. Now, let’s get you linked in with some support services …

Instead of:
Doctor – So, you think you have depression? Well … go for a walk every day. Try to eat better. Get some sleep. You should feel better soon.
Me – ……

Because of course, depression doesn’t destroy your motivation, mess with your sleep, or put you off food. Maybe he was suggesting it as a sort of Iron Man challenge – If you can TAKE IT TO THE MAX, and be TOTALLY HARDCORE, and EAT YOUR VEGETABLES, you will be OK!!! *epic guitar riffs*

I don’t think he was suggesting that, but it’s what I prefer to imagine.

Today, I finally feel like I understand the use of the word. Black and white are stark, but gray has that haziness to it. I can imagine black punching me in the face or hiding under my bed, waiting to get me. White yelling at the top of it’s lungs and blasting brightness. Gray would sit next to me on a park bench and steal my wallet. It is subtle, nuanced … accurate.

Gray is meh. Literally.

What should I have for dinner? Meh. How to occupy myself today? Meh. Oh, that thing I paid a lot of money for because I wanted it so bad arrived today? Meh.

If you have ever seen that infamous wrestling video where one of the performers thoughtlessly called on fans to throw him a chair and got buried under an avalanche of hurled seating, you can imagine what the gray meh is like. (If you haven’t seen that video, go look it up; it’s surreal.)

Meh doesn’t subtract; it’s easy to think of it like that, but that is not the case. Meh adds. It piles on. It twists around your legs, covers your eyes, keeps you up at night with hopeless whining. Somewhere under that pile of meh is a person. They are crying and lonely and hurt, but good luck getting to them. All those gray mehs are damn heavy.

Which is not to say you shouldn’t try; you damn well should. Just consider how to proceed. Try to understand. Be careful about pushing. VERY careful. Concern to you might be someone sitting atop the pile of mehs to them. And the mistake so many make – don’t try to understand the problem. Understand the person. It might not make the least sense to you that they have lost interest in everything; probably doesn’t make much sense to them, either. But they are still the same person they always were; they are just a bit hard to see, buried in the gray.

It’s not your job to ‘snap them out of it!’ or similar; just be there. Be there so damn hard you burn a hole in the floor. It will wear on your patience. It will make you tired and sad. And you may not see any difference. You don’t need to. And note that when I say ‘be there’ I don’t mean literally. Bedside vigils can be touching and all, but let’s not go overboard. Some sense of consistency, some reliable care and concern, knowing that at least one person will not yell at you or harangue you or ask, No, really … What is actually wrong with you?, but just talk to you like a normal human being – that can make a world of difference. And sometimes, it can prevent things getting a whole lot darker.

So remember, we of the gray mehs are much like other folks, just filtered; I still love my books, even though I can’t read more than a page without drifting off mentally. I still cherish good food, even though the thought of actually eating anything turns my stomach.

I am still me … But I am also meh.

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~ by thedyingmoments on May 26, 2013.

9 Responses to “Who stole all the colour?”

  1. […] Who stole all the color? […]

  2. I want to say something smart and useful, but… Meh.

    I can totally relate to everything you say, I hate the color gray.

    It isn’t even a real color. It’s right inbetween total emptiness white and giant fuck fest everything in one black.

    Great post.

  3. Last night I found myself writing….”depression is like walking through life with a condom on your soul.” I suppose that’s pretty meh.

    • At first I snickered (I can be infantile with the best of them), then I considered it … And realised that is a brilliant simile, a lot more profound than it seemed. Thank you for sharing that.

  4. Recommended to read this from Another Wandering Soul. I so agree with what you have written for so many reasons, I know a couple of people that suffer from depression – and their world is continually grey no matter how it is helped – the punch in the face by black would probably be welcomming to them – this paragraph says so much –
    Today, I finally feel like I understand the use of the word. Black and white are stark, but gray has that haziness to it. I can imagine black punching me in the face or hiding under my bed, waiting to get me. White yelling at the top of it’s lungs and blasting brightness. Gray would sit next to me on a park bench and steal my wallet. It is subtle, nuanced … accurate.
    I hope you don’t have a Meh Day – extremely well written.

    • That means a lot to me, thank you. It can be terrifying to try and speak of something so subjective on behalf of others; what if my experience is unique, and it isn’t like this for others? What if it is like this, but I express it poorly? What if, what if …

  5. “Be there so damn hard you burn a hole in the floor.”
    I intend to. Always.
    x

  6. *Remembers the grayness of meh*
    Gray seems the right, not color, but feeling experience.
    Adopts puppy. Names it Meh. Keeps it on a leash.

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