Sometimes I get caught up in school, or life in general, and forget to do things for myself. This doesn’t mean things like eat, sleep, or shower, but things that would make me happy, like buying books or painting my nails.
This is a general reminder to take care of yourselves. Take a break from studying all the time, and take a bubble bath. If, like me, you get bored sitting in the bath for more than ten minutes, do something else, but make sure it’s for yourself. I like painting my nails. Even if it takes me a few tries to settle on a color.
Today I woke up feeling super overwhelmed with everything, and after I decided to stop sobbing in my bed, I got up,put on pants (okay, leggings) and went to a bookstore and just wandered. Even though I couldn’t find the book I was after, I felt better. Then I went to another store, and found the book, plus a lipstick. Even though I don’t wear lipstick that often, it made me happy. And now I’m painting my nails. I decided on a deep dark burgundy, because it’s the first day of fall. It’s 91 degrees in Texas, but technically fall.
So go do something fun. Play with your dog, cuddle a cat, whatever makes you happy. Don’t worry about anyone else for an hour or two.
This morning I started a post about how to feel better when depression is getting the best of you. But that felt hypocritical to write, because I feel like shit.
Depression and anxiety sucks. It makes everything awful, and it’s one of those self-consuming things where even though you want to feel better, you don’t want to make yourself feel better. It almost feels self-indulgent to wallow in those awful feelings.
I hate feeling like this. I feel useless. Everyone I went to high school with is growing up, getting married, having real adult jobs, and I’m still on an academic schedule, living with my mother. I’ve accomplished nothing in the five years I’ve been out of high school. I babysit for a living. That’s a job for middle schoolers who can’t find a real job. I feel like everyone is moving on with their lives, without me.
Maybe it’s all the shit that is somehow my responsibility. My brother and I are going to India in June and I’m in charge of getting the visas and everything and the website is unhelpful and confusing and I’ve had to start over six times and I just want to scream. I have screamed. I’ve had tantrums over a goddamn website. I hate how whiny I sound but I’m so sick of everyone delegating things to me. I’m sick of being everyone’s secretary. I’m sick of having to postpone things I want to do because every time I try doing something for myself, someone needs me to do something for them, and that things is clearly more urgent than whatever I’m about to do. I’m sick of feeling like I don’t matter.
And I can’t talk to anyone about it, because growing up, my family was very take-two-motrins-and-get-over-yourself. Being hurt, feeling bad, there was no room for that. My parents got a divorce when I was eight. It was messy. I had to be happy and upbeat for everyone else. I had to pretend nothing was wrong with me because there was no room to be upset. Being upset was self-indulgent, was selfish, and even now I can’t talk about how I feel or admit to anyone that I’m less than absolutely fine because that feels selfish. I feel like I’m not worth worrying about. I hate it, and half the time, I hate myself.
Even here, on this blog, I force myself to write happy, upbeat things. Recipes peppered with funny-ish jokes, silly stories from when I was a kid. On Facebook, I only post happy things, stupid jokes, weird things my cats do. Instagram is even worse. You have to be happy on the internet. Whenever I admit I’m upset, I feel so selfish. So goddamn melodramatic. Whiny. I can’t be happy all the time though, and more often than not, I’m not happy.
Someone I used to trust told me that I shouldn’t measure myself by someone else’s progress. Great advice, sure. But it’s hard not to do. I feel like I’m stagnating, getting stale, wasting my life, when everyone around me is moving forward.
I wish I had a clever, poignant way to end this post. I’m not sure if I’ll even publish it. But I’m not clever and poignant, and I just want to go back to bed.
One of the things that’s made me who I am is my anxiety disorder and depression. Unfortunately, an overwhelming proportion of people don’t actually believe it’s a real problem, and therefore it’s hard to talk about. Conversations tend to go like this:
Them: Why are you sad a lot?
Me: I don’t know.
Them: There has to be something making you sad and anxious.
Me: It’s completely irrational. That’s why it scares me.
Them: But if you don’t have anything to be sad about, why are you sad?
Me: I don’t know.
The problem with any sort of mental illness is that historically, it’s been viewed as a defect, something to be ashamed of and not discussed in polite company. If you’re sad or anxious, pop a few pills and get back to life. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Your life’s great, stop being melodramatic. Don’t hide behind the depression thing. Be strong.
But you know what? I’m sick of being strong. Or at least pretending to be. If my insides are churning and rejecting any sort of food because that’s how scared I am of absolutely nothing at all, don’t tell me to get on with it. Sometimes I have to run to my room and curl up half upside down on the floor because that’s how I slept when I was a toddler and you know what? Deal with it. There are days when I wake up queasy and my heart’s racing and I don’t know why. And I sit there staring at the wall all day because I just can’t move. Or I force myself to text my friends banal bullshit and happy faced emojis and sit quietly on the couch with my dog because I don’t trust myself to handle forks or drive a car. I’m afraid of what I could do to myself.
Sometimes I feel like my entire life has been derailed. I need have a plan for whatever I’m doing, and when I don’t know, I get scared. That’s been the hardest part of being dismissed from school. I don’t know what’s going to happen next and that absolutely terrifies me. Everyone says it’ll be okay. It might be, far in the future, but I need it to be okay now. I need to know what I’m doing next.
Yes, I’m broken. A lot of people are. But it feels like everyone else is fine because no one wants to talk about how broken they are.