Times have been tough, man. Times have been tough. I remember a time in my life when misery was so constant that it was indiscernible. Tasteless. It’s not quite the dictionary definition of depression, but that’s what it was. And once you seek help, once things get real, they ask you a lot of questions. “Have you ever thought of hurting yourself?” “Have you ever thought of ending your life?” The answer to the first question was no, I haven’t. I never thought about it, but I have. I’ve never cut myself, but I didn’t allow myself to leave my room. I didn’t eat. I didn’t sleep. I didn’t exercise. I didn’t shower. Often, I didn’t even leave my bed. The thing is, the thought of the action never materialized in my mind, but gathered like a haze around every other possible action I could have taken. A haze of inevitability. Of blindness. The same goes for not sleeping. I never thought of depriving myself of sleep, but my body left me no other option. It was the only action potential. Obligations make it easier, whether they are real or contrived obligations. Computers make it simple. You just follow the infinite path of hyperlinks until the sun rises again. Until you have to put on a layer of concealer and playact another day.
It’s summer now. But it’s the edge of summer. The sun’s more golden than white. It’s more forgiving than it was. The air is thick with wisdom, and is heavy with the crisp spice of a distant but impending chill. I spent the day alone. I’m trying to relearn what it’s like to be a body. To truly belong to yourself. I’ve been going to the gym every other day. Half the exercise is mental. Convincing myself that I exist, and not only comparatively. I focus on the heat of my body. The swaying of my limbs. The insular world of my thoughts. All of this instead of looking at the women on the ellipticals surrounding me, seeing if they’re looking at me, and if so, how they’re looking at me. And in turn, how I should act in response to that judgment. I try to stop myself from looking at the mirror-covered wall every few minutes to remind myself I’m there. I’m getting pretty good at letting my thoughts melt like butter into my surroundings, so that I’m in the foreground again. I like to dip my fingers in hot candle wax. Not for the burn, but for the small sculptures.
I haven’t forgotten the second question. It lies in the back of my mind, dormant, but awakened whenever I see something sharp enough to end things. An X-Acto knife. A table corner. A cigarette. Words said in context. Her house at the end of my street.
The thought is pervasive, but never true. It’s never a want. It’s not even a conceivable path. I laid on the bedrock of my depression every night only months ago. I can still remember the distinct sourness of that cold sweat. I felt myself dissolve. But never disappear. There were way too many tethers.
It’s August now. I sleep, but never before sunrise. Heart pounding, thoughts racing, I spent all summer trying to figure out why. Yesterday it hit me. It hits me every night, but I never knew its language. I didn’t want to. The thought is: It’s all moving too fast. I want to stop time. I want closure. I want a say in things. Sleeping is acquiescing to the idea of turning a page. Moving on. Aging another day. Stepping one hour farther away from the time it all fell apart, and no one heard a sound.
Sleeping feels like giving up. The corporeal equivalent of saying, “Okay, universe. You got me. I’ll go on living like this.”
I’m going to click hyperlinks until this all makes sense.
I’m going to dye my hair until it’s dead and brittle.
I’m going to write until my eyes crystalize.
I’m not going to comply.
There’s only one question that really matters at all: Why?
It often stems into:
Why did they leave me? Why do they look at me that way? Why can’t I breathe unless I’m alone? Why don’t my clothes fit? Why does nothing matter anymore?
These questions only serve to refract the answers. Forgetting about loyalties, forgetting about morals, I have to think about the root. I have to think about the psychology.
I’ve had social anxiety since I was thirteen. It felt foreign, like an alien abduction. Invasion of the body snatchers. It wasn’t a part of my personality, but it was a part of me. Eventually, I couldn’t distinguish them apart.
Which leads me to here. Grasping onto the realization I needed to allow myself to move on.