The Sunshine Clown

I was taught to never start to never start an essay with a quote:

Depression (n.): common, but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms must be present for at least two weeks.

Also to cite my sources: Source

boom.

Also, also:

If you have been experiencing some of the following signs and symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks, you may be suffering from depression:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Moving or talking more slowly
  • Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight changes
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment

Depression

Everyone is going to leave me.

That is what it is like:

Depression.

Everyone is going to leave. Specifically me.

They are going to leave. And I have to tell you, I will be hard pressed when the time comes to tell them why they should stay.

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism

It gets really bad when people threaten to leave. Even for a little while. To “get some air” or “go somewhere” or “get away for a little while.”

Because at last the time has come. They’ve realized that now is the time to do it. I get upset that they take their time with the leaving. If they wanted to go they should just say so and get it over with and DAMN IT WHY AREN’T THEY LEAVING?

  • Irritability

And so I lash out. I say mean things that I wouldn’t normally say. I say horrible things that nobody should ever say. I apologize to my friends, my family, my partner and they say it is all right. And I cannot imagine how or where it could possibly be all right.

  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness

So we try to do things. Things that we both enjoy, things that we do enjoy, things that we have enjoyed in the past in the way back when. Like go places or do things: scale a mountain, read a book, play video games, work on stuff. But, it somehow isn’t the same. The feeling is there, the ever-present feeling that I screwed up, that I did something wrong. So I don’t enjoy it; I expect them to enjoy it, but I have to hold back, I have to be punished for my behavior.

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities

Most of the time I just want to go to bed. There is something tiring about mental illness that just wipes you out. You don’t want to deal with it, so I sleep.

  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Moving or talking more slowly

But, of course, the problem didn’t go away. You didn’t go away. I didn’t go away. The problem must be me. So I wake up from dead sleep hyperventilating. And I lay awake for a few hours just thinking about getting up and all of the things that I have to do to make up for this behavior.

  • Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
  • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping

Once I am finally vertical, I have shit that I need to do. See, I have set myself up for so much success at this point by going to bed early, waking up late, lying in bed all day with little to no mobility and why, oh why haven’t I moved this whole effing day?! So what can I do? What is left to do? Everything? Shit. I have to move. I have to do something. But, what? Suddenly, I have to decide what was most important to me four hours ago, six hours ago, eight hours ago. What appointments haven’t I missed?

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions

This of course means that I don’t eat. Why would I? Food wasn’t the most important thing on the list anyway, besides, if I wanted to eat, I should have gotten up earlier. Much, much earlier!

  • Appetite and/or weight changes

  • Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts

I can’t explain this one:

  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment

Except to say what the website says:

Not everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some people experience only a few symptoms while others may experience many.

Not everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom.

But, you need to experience a few.

I experience a few of these symptoms.

But, I do not experience them in a linear way. I do not experience them and the people around me do not experience them in a logical way.

Because mental illness is not logical. It doesn’t make sense.

But, even as I type this, even as I say the words aloud: Everyone is going to leave me. I can’t help it.

I can’t help feeling this way. I hate feeling this way.

I look in friend’s eyes and see them looking away. I think they are looking for the exit.

I hear someone is late to an appointment, I cut the game short, I say I’ll call them an Uber because it is my fault that they are late.

Every time someone does a kind deed for me, I feel karma like a cruel and bitchy mistress cutting into me saying: Why aren’t you a better person? Why didn’t you think to offer? Why couldn’t you just do better?

So I try. I really, really try.

Every single day I fight and grapple and contend with every single aspect of this.

I don’t know how and I don’t know if any of it gets any better.

But, I try to be there for my friends. I try to help them. I try not to be a burden and hope that I make some small progress.

Because everyone is going to leave me. And when they do I hope it won’t be a bad thing.

Because I’m not defined by this warped and twisted thing that nobody else can see. Or everybody else can see. It changes.

I want to be better. I want to feel better.

But, I can’t.

And maybe that is okay.

I hope to hell that it is okay, that I am okay on my bad days. On my worst days.

Because I am told that even at my worst, even at my most worst moments, I am still my best self. But, it is my best self in a belly of suffering that I just can’t seem to come out of.

Every time I think I have tricked my brain into behaving, it turns around and I find myself further from the people that I care about.

So this is me trying.

This is me writing through the worst of it. I hope that there can be a kernel of joy somewhere in this heinous mess. Because that is what I want. I hate depression because it feels like an excuse.

I fight every day to be happy. I am at war with my inner self. I am a peaceful warrior and I think that I am winning. But, my foe looks like me. He sounds nothing like me, he thinks nothing like me, but I am afraid that he is me and that scares me beyond reason.

Maybe there is no winning for good. Maybe there is no eternal happy state. But, I can fight the good fight and hope that I don’t get my ass handed to me for years on end like I did before.

Here is to hoping.

Okay…

The End

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