two people fighting as the sun is setting

Tisha B’Av for the Depressed

Meditating on loss. Feel the loss, always feeling the loss. You are at the bottom of a pit, clawing your way out. For one day, maybe this overwhelming pain can be channeled into something else. You are not selfish, but depression can be. Fight back. Always fighting back. Go to therapy. Take your pills. Build the stamina. Always fight back. Some days, you win. Some days, you sleep triumphantly, you smile without reminding yourself to, you compliment your hair in the mirror. Some days you don’t leave the ten amot of your room, you cannot say more than a few words without crying, your fun activity of the day is staring at walls.  

Depression wants your attention. Depression blocks your front door when you’re leaving in the morning (although not lately), wrestles you into your bed sheets so you do not get up. Depression demands you get the uncomfortable chair because you are crap and you deserve nothing good. Depression convinces you your body does not need food, does not need water, does not need comfort.

Tisha B’Av asks you to consider your destiny. Tisha B’Av questions about your past you feel uncomfortable thinking about for too long. Tisha B’Av slips into the hazy days of summer and makes you drop the ice cream, leave the binge watching, ask you what needs to be put back together. Tisha B’Av makes you meditate on what has the potential of being rebuilt. Tisha B’Av makes you collect your thoughts on what to mourn this year. Tisha B’Av is another year away from the churban, another year closer to geula.  

Depression will take today and make it into a chance to relax into the pit. Drop the ladder, drop the rope. Depression takes Tisha B’Av as an invitation to tangle your brain waves into a tumbleweed of destruction. Depression is flirting with you under a red light, providing some anonymous sense of comfort but no real manoach. Tisha B’Av is a magical mirror, generations before us standing behind us, standing there, gently pushing you forward with time. Tisha B’Av is uncomfortable for the day, for many reasons. Depression wants to keep you uncomfortable forever, for no reason. 

The year is 2020. Depression is riding high- on injustice, on unrest, on the unknown. Depression is taunting you, Depression is fighting against the facts- and winning. Depression has spiked the droplets in the atmosphere with cynicism, with anger. Depression is in the air, as infectious as ‘Rona. Depression has made you ask: what is worth living through? 

The year is 2020. Tisha B’Av comes anyways. Tisha B’Av sneaks up on us as we grapple with the monsters of this year. Tisha B’Av brings us together, sitting on the floor, hungry and scared of the magnitude of its existence. We try to connect- we cannot. We try to cry- but we’re all cried out. We try to eulogize the past while mourning the present. In our grief, in our confusion, in our anger. Tisha B’Av will come and it will go. 2020 will come and it will go. We will write a kinna about this year. We will remember this as one of the tragedies of our lifetime. We will be asked by our grandchildren what it was like living through a pandemic. We will be asked who we know that had died, if we had it, what it felt like that being stuck meant being safe. Hopefully, it’s the last kinna we ever write.

Depression will try to hijack the day. Depression will try to make tomorrow Tisha B’Av as well. As the sun sets, Depression will wrestle with Tisha B’Av. Depression will try to convince you that this is what your life should be- sitting on the floor, not nourishing yourself, meditating on everything you have lost, whether you “get it” or not.  

May Tisha B’Av remind you how much we have to gain from here. May Tisha B’Av extend your ladder, strengthen your rope. May Tisha B’Av this year be a day to remember we’re not alone in this fight- and we have defeated monsters as a nation. May this be the last one- both Depression and Tisha B’Av.