My default setting is miserable, but there’ve been a few times times I’ve surprised myself. One was Christmas Day, 2001. I realized I would neither see my daughter (then 17) nor even hear her voice all day, and braced myself for a potentially unsurvivable tailspin, only to feel suddenly, as I feel so seldom, that I had a choice in the matter. The chains that so long constrained me turned out to be mine to break.
I had a new melody to which I needed lyrics. Within around 40 minutes, I’d written all of Life’s Dare. It was almost as though Somebody Up There were dictating to me.
I’ve spent the intervening almost-13 years failing to live up to my own song, curling up and aching with despair far more often than staring my accusers down, even while painfully aware that the time I’ve spent immobilized by depression isn’t very likely to be refunded as I near the finish line.