Friday, April 17, 2015

Notes from under the weather

It’s not as if anything in particular went wrong. Nothing dramatic or unusual happened to me. I’m on my Zoloft, so I’m not hauling my life around unmedicated. But this week I’ve cracked, and couldn’t even feel the tension building beforehand. There was no warning.
Some of you might know this process all too well. Your garbage cans are overflowing and there are crumpled paper towels wilting all around them on the floor. The dishes are piling up into a great wall of china. You haven’t showered or gotten dressed yet today. All you can do is bury yourself under the covers with your headphones and wait. If you’ve ever been there, whoever you are, please know that I’m there with you. We’re in different trenches, but we’re both buried. There is no hierarchy underground.
I had to call out sick from work. I’m going back tomorrow, but just couldn’t do it today. When you work with the public, so much of it involves smiling and engaging them and not exposing others to an emotional virus, especially children. So I quarantined myself. You might know the feeling. If you do, then you know anyone who would tell you to just pull it together can fuck right off. So can anyone who accuses you of “attention whoring” for posting about what’s going on. Even if you’re not directing your thoughts to anyone specific, which I’m not, casting them onto the web can seem like a lifeline. You might even be afraid to talk to anybody individually. Whatever you say might come out overbearingly emotional, as if you’re leaving them with some final goodbye. I’m in that place, too.
I don’t want to die, and I’m not going to. I just want an intermission. Just a frozen year. If only I could sleep for a year without dreaming and wake up to a world where nothing but me has changed, picking up right where it left off.
Mike has been incredible in his support. I lay down with him in his armchair for hours last night and he told me, “You’re a beautiful ball of life.” If you’ve ever been in the same place, please know that you are, too.
If you’re a friend or well-wisher, don’t be afraid to talk to me. But also, please don’t think you’re being rejected if I don’t write back for a while. It helps to hear other voices, instead of my own thoughts swimming in circles and dragging me underneath. But if I don’t have the energy to respond yet, it’s nothing personal. There are so many other people reaching out who have problems a lot more urgent than mine, but I can’t reciprocate at the moment and am so disappointed in myself for that.
I’m not okay. And maybe that in itself is okay, because I trust that eventually I will be. If you’re in the same place, which ironically feels completely solitary, please know that you’ll be okay too. This shadow can be a blanket, and we can all sit together, bundled in the quiet until we're ready to come out.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


From an outside perspective, I have a great life. Maybe even one that some people envy. Sometimes I feel like it's true. But other times I, too, envy the Photoshopped version of my life; the one that others think I have.

I’ve got amazing friends. I have a doting, adoring, absolutely wonderful husband. I have a perfect cat. I have a job I often enjoy. I have talents. I live in a comfortable home in a lively community, and have what some consider good looks.

This all deserves gratitude. I should be grateful without being cocky, which can be a precarious balance to strike. I am disgusted with myself for not being more appreciative, because I have so much more than I deserve.

But I sentence myself to never-ending longing. I have fun at my job, but it would never pay me enough to not depend on Mike to survive. Not that I’d want to live on my own or ever leave him; I just wish I were capable of self sufficiency. I have talents, but I’m always comparing myself to others who have more and am constantly worried that my inner resources will bleed dry. And I want to cry every time I see a photo of my face or look in the mirror.

I don’t want to tell Mike about this because I hate making him sad. I hate making him feel like he’s not enough to make me completely happy.

My self-esteem is so dependent on what others think of me, but not everyone. Only certain people whose opinions make all the difference.

I hate having so little free time, but less work means even less money.

I hate knowing what certain people did to me and only being able to tell a select few; almost nobody I grew up with can know about it. I hate that two of them are ones I can’t cut off, because of love and because if it were not for them I would be unable to see a certain girl who means everything to me. I hate that the third person who caused trauma is one will never leave me alone for good.

I heard some pretty shocking bad news yesterday from someone I care about. It wasn’t addressed to me, but it was there. I had to reread it five times to make sense of it; the way I always do when I hear something so saddening. I hate feeling like there’s nothing I can do to be helpful.

And life will be a continuing string of bad news. That’s just another link in a long shackle chain of events.

I’m afraid of having children because that will tie me here. Even though there’s nowhere else to go.

At this moment I feel like I’m living out of habit, out of fear of death, and because I don’t want to hurt people by dying. I’ve felt this way for a while. The future is something I cannot imagine. I’m not going to leave the world, though, because Mike is my world. I could never do that to him.

There are so many things I could have been and done if circumstances had been slightly altered. If my genetics had been tweaked just a bit. I’m a living example of too little, too late.

Staying alive is my sacrifice to the people I love; the ones who want to have me around. I'm tired, though. I can't see myself as an old person or even middle-aged. I can't picture the future at all.