Before you read the following, if you haven’t already, you should read this, the return of Hyperbole and a Half and her description of the last eighteen months or so of her life. I know this may seem a bit like I’m riding on her coattails, but after I carefully read her post, I found myself ruminating a great deal on my own feelings, facing some personal demons, and in no real mood to discuss supernatural detective yarns or floating cities or star-spanning empires.
I know I need to talk about these things, and I want to do so in a way that doesn’t come off as whining or seeking attention or making myself out to be a victim or a martyr. In fact, that’s why I rarely talk about these things at all, out loud, with people near me: a few words in and the eye-rolling will start. And I wouldn’t blame them. My sister had a saying: “Suck it up, and deal with it.”
Some days I’m better at that than others.
What really got to me about the aforementioned post was her description of the empty wasteland. It’s the one an individual drags themselves through day after day when depression is the only emotional sustenance on the menu; it’s a drab, flavorless, foully-textured gruel that takes the place of more tangible, weighty, and intricate emotions. And as true as it is that it gets better, it’s just as true that the wasteland never really goes away. All you can really do is build a sturdier wall around yourself, shore up the doors, and pray you don’t wander out into it again.
That’s really the only way I can describe it. Lately I’ve felt I’ve been walking the walls of my psyche, looking out into that wasteland, knowing I’m just a step or two away from falling into it. There are times when this realization makes me downright livid – like, how dare I even consider feeling depressed or succumbing to pressure – and I do my utmost to kick my own ass into not being such a downer. At times this puts me into a more manic state of mind, and I try to do more or spend more or what have you. I’m much more fun for other people to be around when I’m not thinking about how much everything sucks, after all.
But that’s the thing about mood swings. Your mood will always swing back. If you’ve ever encountered a tetherball in your life, it’s kind of like that. It swings in one direction, and while you can definitely punch it to go in the other direction, if you aren’t careful it’ll just swing back around to smack you in the face. I thank my lucky stars that this has only been a daily occurrence of late (if that), and not an hourly one.
I was weaned off of medication some time ago. I even was told by my therapist that, mindful as I’ve become, I don’t need to see her on a regular basis. And it’s true, I no longer have borderline anxiety attacks or suffer from hallucinations or any of the other hallmarks that, several years ago, caused some people close to me to help me seek the care of a mental ward. But I know the wasteland is still there. It’s waiting for me. And every time I see or hear or experience something that feels or sounds offhandedly cruel or wantonly destructive or callously indifferent, I feel its gravity and I actively resist. Because I am not going back to that place again, not without a fight.
There are days where it’s a struggle simply to remain positive. I remind myself that I still have a lot of future ahead of me, and it can be full of better things, and that change is difficult and takes sacrifice and I just have to be honest and work hard to get where I want to be. I’m doing my best to correct my mistakes, improve who I am, and not hurt anybody else in the process. I try to be mindful, respectful, courteous, and kind, and put the needs of others before my own if I can help it. But I can’t always do that. I’m going to choose me over them now and again. I’m going to make selfish decisions. And I’m going to fuck up. I’m a human being. It’s going to happen.
I just don’t want to be one of those sources of cruelty or destruction or indifference, towards myself or anybody else. That’s easy stuff. The hard thing is not giving in to cynicism and doubt and ennui. The hard thing is picking yourself up and continuing to follow that dream. A limp is better than no movement at all.
I’ve probably rambled too much. And I’m saying all of this on a Friday. Hopefully, your weekend is a good one.
And if you want to talk about anything like this, my metaphorical door is always open.