I don’t even know where to begin, it’s been so long since I’ve done this.
Several weeks ago, a friend of mine contacted me to ask if I would be interested in participating in a writing project he’s setting up. Of course I’m interested, it’s been so long since I had any kind of real deadline and I’ve missed the frantic spurts of writing those deadlines inspire. But I must admit, I am also terrified. Not because I don’t have any faith in my own writing, but because I’m afraid of what will be revealed when I sit down to write again.
Even writing this post is frightening.
I have a confession to make. I haven’t been here because I am depressed. Again. Like I have been a thousand times before. It’s not quite as bad as it has been in the past, I still show up to work on time, I still shower and do most of the things I’m required to do to be considered mentally sound, but I’m slipping. I suppose I should be grateful to be self-aware enough to notice.
I slept in a pile of clean laundry for a few weeks. Piling it around myself made me feel safe and warm. I haven’t been eating anything but cast-off food from work for at least three months. I have no energy to face a grocery store full of people and it’s a struggle just to walk to the corner store for something to drink. Worse than being upset, I’m completely empty.
I don’t care about anything at all. I’d honestly feel a bit better about it if I could have a good cry, but instead I just lay down and stare at the ceiling until sleep finally gives me a break. It’s a bit like being a zombie, and pretending to be OK is simply exhausting. I know all of the wonderful good habits I could form that would make a difference and make me feel better, but I can’t do them. I can’t bring myself to leave the house on days off when I’d rather stay in my pajamas, rooted to my couch, and zone out with TV and Sims 3. I don’t want to face what’s really going on. I don’t want to take the necessary steps to get on with my life. I don’t want to form connections with people or talk about what’s bothering me because it’s not safe. It’s not enough. My suffering does not match the suffering of people worse off than me, so not only do I feel shitty, I feel guilty about it.
I spent last night making a mental list of all the sentimental objects I lost when I ran away from my boyfriend’s house. I envisioned the jewelry box my father painstakingly crafted for me at the bottom of a pile of garbage in a Toronto landfill, unseen and unnoticed. I imagined all my childhood journals covered in grime, all my passionate words and thoughts and prayers reduced to pulp. And mostly, it doesn’t bother me. Mostly, I’m happy to still have the memories if not the objects themselves. But sometimes it creeps up on me and makes me too upset to react.
My coping mechanism is to shut down, and it always has been.
I had a dream last night. I dreamed there was a strange, beautiful bird inside my apartment that wouldn’t leave me alone. Any time I tried to pick up the bird to put it outside, it stuck painful barbs into the palm of my hand. Once I got it outside the door, it would not leave. It stayed on the steps to my apartment and stared at me, trying again and again to get back inside. When things are good for me, I do the same thing. I reject them. I don’t want to be better because to be better is to be different. Different is terrifying. Pain and emptiness are familiar companions to me and I don’t know how I would cope without them.
But this is the first step, right here. I can admit that I’m not feeling OK through writing, and for me writing always comes before talking. I managed to force myself to clean my apartment and actually felt good about it once it was finished. I haven’t slept in a laundry pile in several days. I appreciate the beauty of a good day and I also understand that winter has played a large part in my depression. Spring is coming, warmer and longer days and brilliant sunshine.
So I at least have something to look forward to.