July 12, 2019:

During my breakdown my depression was not circadian. It didn't have a rhythm or a pattern, for instance improving during daylight, worsening in the dark. There wasn't daylight or dark, there was only gray and even that isn't an accurate term. Things were too fragmented to have color.

I did feel better around people. I was working as a library temp in San Francisco, where the people were kind and would laugh at my jokes. When I was not alone it was as though my field of attention shifted, so that my emotional condition receded, and what mattered was whether the people in the room were smiling or not. If I could make them smile I could forget myself.

Then work ended, the bus was crowded, the apartment was lonely and loud and crawling with roaches and landlords. Alone with myself the misery flooded back in a single great wave, a tsunami of desolation. I'd curl on a settee and shake, or I'd chase the dragon until the tension in my muscles relaxed and the pain seemed to drain down my limbs and out through the soles of my feet.

The rational thing would have been to seek out people. Three decades later this was the core advice from my brilliant therapist: write in cafés. Interact with human beings, make them smile or laugh, or at least observe them so that even indirectly you're part of the human community. But at that time there was no room for rationality. I misunderstood what I was experiencing. I believed I was grieving, and that it would fade.