Hiding from the Hyenas
Some people describe depression as a black dog. Having only ever seen black dogs as symbols of love, friendship and spirituality, I’ve never identified with this metaphor.
For me, depression is a hyena. Hear it laugh. And scrounge. And prowl.
Like the scavenger in the wild, it leaps on things already wounded; self esteem; self worth; self image; focus; memory; relationships.
Its jaws close around the throat of thrashing emotions and it stares into my eyes, wondering if I am the predator, ready to fight for my sustenance, or am I too weak?
Different days bring varying results. Sometimes I can laugh louder than the hyena, my giggles not only hiding but dissipating the beast to a blur of barely there.
Somedays it’s a stale mate, and these days are long and hard, but at least as my head hits the pillow, I don’t feel that I have submitted to the scrounging creature.
I think, as time has passed, the hyena has learned that I can be resilient. And as all animals do, it has reacted by adapting.
Now it calls its friends.
My back is up against a tree. I’m gasping for air but how can air fill this hollow shell? All of me is on the dusty ground, being torn by teeth yellow and grim and dirty. How did they all get in here? Did I let them in? Is this my fault?
Panic and twitch and hide. Try and call for help. Laughter on all sides. Laughter from without: ‘oh you’re just sad’. Laughter from within at the lack of empathy; did I expect more? Am I really that stupid? In this urban jungle, we have forgotten how to throw down the vines and lift our wounded into the trees.
I wish I had something to throw to these hyenas. Something to distract them. But solutions elude me, so I hide. Hiding in shadow; hiding in bright light. Hiding in the mundane; in routine; in keeping it together: in breaking.

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