Depression and I became best friends in January. We bonded so deeply we left no room for anything else to come between me and my Default Mood. I spent an ever increasing amount of time in bed where I remember staring at the dress that hung on the back of my closet door. I bought it months ago (when I cared about stuff), to wear for my birthday. I watched my birthday come and I watched it go while the dress hung there unworn. For awhile, I cultivated an air of ironic detachment, so that by all outside accounts I’d read as “fine”. All while locking myself away so that no one could reach me even if they had known to try to. Once my last fuck gave way, I stopped doing anything. My compulsion to cut everything and everyone off was a success by that time. So I was alone in the truest sense. The highlight of my day became which PJs I’d change into after I showered at some random hour. Pajamas, showers in the wee hours of the morning, and when I wasn’t sleeping I watched Bob’s Burgers on repeat. It brought me a strange insular comfort: Bathe, pajamas, sleep, repeat. This was the kind of depression that makes watching grass grow seem like watching Serena at Wimbledon, in comparison. I’d wake from 16 hour marathon naps, with a complete indifference to rejoining humanity,
“Hmmm, still here? I haven’t died in my sleep? Oh… Well then… Guess I’ll go brush my teeth.”
Nothingness and indifference and innumerable hours ticked by. I could almost hear the seconds passing. It wasn’t weeping, teeth gnashing and garment ripping like folks think. I spent my waking hours drinking. I grew fonder every day of feeling the numbness in my lips and being just the right amount of drunk. Or smoking to feel myself float like feathers high up and out of a life precariously close to ruin. Even if for a little while, I’d get high enough to look into the window of the tower I locked myself in. I escaped into the fantasy that surely I was gaping at someone else’s shit life. When I wasn’t floating, I was being mysteriously weighted down by what went from a friend to a Beast hanging around my home. At times he sat on my chest, growing fatter every day, fueled by my continued apathetic view of my own existence. And I just wanted to feel SOMETHING other than the fact that I felt nothing at all.
Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.
February rolled in and so did full blown mania. With the Beast thrown off, I was climbing the walls, heart constantly pounding, finger and toes perpetually cold, anxious and irritable. I was irritable about being so anxious, and anxious that I was THAT irritable! Remember that wish to feel? Well, I was feeling every facet of the spectrum of human emotion and with what felt like infinite levels of intensity; with wild arcs between each. Panic attacks materialized if I sat in silence for more than 10 seconds. I’d start thinking things I’m not sure I’ll ever be brave enough to share with anyone other than my psychologist, because I can’t stomach them myself anymore. I’d stay up for hours with no escape from the the self-deprecating loop that played in my head sometimes louder than others. Sleep, while physically welcomed became a very frightening and painful event. When I could sleep, I began grinding my teeth, something I’d never done before. I was crying in my sleep. I’d wake up with fresh tears, startled, and tangled in sweat soaked sheets. I was tired from sleeping. Upon waking, I felt like I hadn’t slept at all and there was this new and deep desire to just not be anymore. I set to thinking of how I’d do “it”.
The train station up the street, the bridge, or the beach…
All my options required leaving my home which I couldn’t even bring myself to do at that point. I was that far gone. But the thought of The Manpiece coming from work, finding me and having to clean up yet another mess I’ve made in his life by ending my own, brought on feelings of guilt and gave me pause at some particularly dark times. For my entire adult life he’s been my constant. He’s watched people in my life come and go. He’s been there to help rid my life (and his by extension) unsafe and unhealthy people and situations. He IS the stability that I so desperately have to learn to find, but for myself. To be clear, he’s not my reason for living. I’m smart enough to know that I am and always will be, The Reason. But being who he is, functioned as a damn lucky stopgap. For some reason he sees something in me worth fighting for. So he’s always there to pick up the pieces when the inevitable occurs and I am unable. He held me while I screamed. He held me in when I wanted so badly to get out. He was the only one here with me to see just how deftly my world was cracked and subsequently fell apart during that time. Remember what I said about the pieces? I’ll always be grateful for him.
It’s April now.
I’m feeling more like a person. Less fractured, less depersonalized. I sleep and eat a somewhat normal amount. I put back on some of the weight I lost to anxiety. I worry, get bored, get happy and get excited “appropriately” in response to stimuli. I go to therapy. I take my meds. Many things have changed in my life. They HAD to, no matter how painful those changes were. I look back on the time and I feel like I’ve lived 3 lifetimes in that span of time. I realize that I am somewhat culpable in feeding myself to the Beast, I packaged my prime cuts and served them up. I listened when he that told me I’m not good enough, or that I’m some evil and vile thing undeserving of happiness on my terms, respect, or love. And he did everything he could to dim the light in my eyes, lest it shine too brightly and I actually SEE everything for what it was. And yet even at this safe distance, still a tiny bit of panic bubbles up at the thought. My chest tightens. I go down the road of “What Ifs?”. On good days, I’ll remember to stop and tell myself I got this. On bad days I’ll try to remind myself that I’m worth MORE than misery. And if life isn’t being funny as it’s wont to be at times, I’ll remember just what I did to get out of that time alive.
And I’ll do it again.