I’m driving back from the shops. As I pull into my street, I see some tradesmen working on the corner property. I briefly ponder as to whether they need a labourer – cash in hand, of course. I keep driving, unknowingly engrossed in the following scenario: I do approach them for some work, and work hard all day. When it comes to being paid, the boss tells me to get lost. I protest, but his workers and he just laugh. I go home, seething. A couple of days later, wearing a balaclava, I lay in wait for him, and then bash him senseless with a baseball bat. I arrive home, the last kilometer a blur – ‘fantasy’ over.

It’s been a trying weekend. Sunday morning started beautifully. I had apparently slept well, and was sat having my breakfast in the sunshine. My wife and I discussed the day ahead. Then, as if a switch had been flicked, the blackness descended upon me, seemingly from nowhere. My overly analytical mind kicks in and starts desperately searching for answers. Maybe I’m tired? Maybe something occurred last night that I’ve forgotten about? The night terrors perhaps? Has my wife said something?

No ‘external’ cause is identified. I’m experiencing a  depressive episode, because that’s how Dysthymia rolls. I wish I was alone. I know, I know, the so-called professionals say that’s the worst thing to do, but what do they know? They can stuff their empirical data! My life doesn’t play out on an Excel sheet. I know myself better than anybody could.

My poor wife. I try to remain interested, and focused on our plans for the day, but they’ve suddenly become pointless. Well, they always were, I guess; as is everything. Here today gone tomorrow – a corpse waiting to happen. All that fearing, all that wanting – a single dash between my birth and death dates on a crappy headstone. A waste of money, if you ask me. Less than a hundred years from now, I won’t even be a memory. Just put me in a bag, I tell the Mrs.

I hate it when I’m like this, yet at the same time, there’s no point trying to deny the futility of life. In my mind, ‘characters’ from my past, people I’ve heard on the radio and TV, or read about seemingly come alive between my ears: “It gets better;’ ‘It’s just your depression;’ ‘Think positive;’ ‘Count your blessings;’ ‘I suffered from depression to and this is how I recovered………..’ Yeah, really? You had one measly bout of depression, and because you are now better, it means everybody and anybody can get over it? You arrogant bastard. The Asylum is out in force. These people…………

Fortunately, but also annoyingly, our plans are halted by unforeseen circumstances. I’m alone, out in the garden. I look around at what not so long ago was a beautiful morning. Intellectually I try to count my blessings. Doing so has little effect on my emotional state, other than perhaps to cause a twinge of guilt for not being able to enjoy the many ‘good’ things in my life – great!

I putter for the rest of the day, uninterested in what I’m doing, lost in the meaninglessness of it all. I once heard somebody say they felt as though they’d been born in a trench, and were merely crawling across enemy territory to a grave. That just about sums today up nicely.

Aksenty Ivanovich Poprishchin.