The emotional inertia brought about by depression results in a loss of appetite and lackluster desire to step out of the house. As far as the appetite is concerned, the gluten-free diet is partially to blame. Ever since I have been on it, the urge to binge is less, and tend to skip meals. In addition, I recently discovered an organic farm in Brandenburg that delivers fresh fruit and vegetables to my doorstep every week. I can barely keep up with all the fresh vitamins these days, but I love it because it forces me to eat healthy.

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Into the Deep ©MTHerzog

I had to cringe while being interviewed by the psychiatric clinic the other day, as they tried to figure out how and where to classify me. I have never been asked such uncomfortable questions, but then again, I have also never been in such a situation before. So yes, I am learning very quickly about the Berliner psychiatric care system, and that part of owning up to depression is accepting the vulnerability of what I have closely guarded all these years: my privacy. By asking for help, I must break down the last remaining walls that I try to adhere to, and expose myself completely. It is the only way to shed light on everything and start over. It is, however, an an excruciatingly painful process that makes me want to turn around and run for the nearest exit.

The scariest parts of the brief interview was determining whether I needed to be institutionalized for suicide watch. It seems to be a very typical occurrence during Christmas due to so many being alone and unable to cope for whatever reason. Many caregivers in the home for aged here in Berlin will also confirm that November and December are known as suicide months, since the rate rises sharply as the weather deteriorates. Perhaps it is this fear of landing on the suicide watch that has kept me afloat thus far. I thought writing and photography would be enough, but as I have discovered, it isn’t, and I need find a new path. Until now, both genres have been my preferred tools for restoring equilibrium in my soul, but what do I do when my entire state of mind has tipped over? It is over and beyond simple absence of wholistic elements. You can’t fill a black hole with sand.

Binging is part of depression, a way of coping with the darkness and channeling the frustration, sadness, or whatever else might be eating away at the soul. I don’t binge on food, but have absolutely no problems doing so with TV series or movies. Thank goodness for Netflix, Amazon Video, and Maxdome (the local version of Netflix). I’ve run out of Criminal Minds episodes (all 13 seasons!), NCIS, Hawaii Five-0, The Crown, Berlin Station, and a host of others. So out of desperation I turned to Grey’s Anatomy, starting with the very first season ever aired. I can’t stand the character Merideth Grey nor the voice of the acress who plays her, Ellen Pompeo, but the script is full brilliant little nuggets of wisdom that are very timely. In Season 2, Episode 4 / “Make Me Lose Control” I picked up this one:

“Nobody likes to lose control, but as a surgeon there’s nothing worse. It’s a sign of weakness, of not being up to the task. Still there are times when it just gets away from you, when the world stops spinning, when you realize your shiny little scalpel isn’t gonna save you. No matter how hard you fight it, you fall. It’s scary as hell. Except there’s an upside to the free fall. It’s the chance you give your friends to catch you.” 

I am certainly no surgeon, but for the most part, I have been in control of my life, at teast parts where I had a say. The camera and pen have been to me what the scalpel is to Merideth. Now that I am free falling in every sense of the word, I close my eyes and hope for the safety net of loved ones to catch me.