won’t resent, won’t despair

CW: Depression, and where it goes sometimes. Be safe, friends. 

Today was a Good Day.

I put on my mask and washed my hands and picked up nice coffee and pastries with my good, good roommate. I ate those pastries and drank that coffee while I looked at a dear friend’s face and heard a dear friend’s voice through some increasingly commonplace computer wizardry. I was too loud with my family about everything from theme park rides to assorted grape sodas. I went for a walk in the sunshine. I cooked some pasta and ate it on the couch while my roommate watched Community. I took a shower while listening to music and smelling a nice candle. I am now in bed with my computer and my stuffed creatures and my good, good Spotify playlist and I am here.

Today was a Good Day.

But I still feel the urge to reach out to a friend and to confess that I don’t know how I’m going to keep going.

(Hi, friend.)

This is just how it goes sometimes. Depression is this hideous beast beneath the bed and I cannot offer it even a glimpse of ankle, otherwise it’s allowed to get me. This is the bargain that I didn’t know we made. I have to stay still up here, still and whole and AWARE. It feels like something is squeezing my heart and I have a not infrequent vision of just carving the damn thing out of my chest.

I long sometimes for something like numbness. Some lack of feeling that would convince me to stop panic-treading water. I get so tired sometimes, fighting this Thing in my brain. Sometimes I long to simply close my eyes and go quietly into the night.

(If I promise to come back, may I go, please? I promise to come back. There are pastries and candles and you. I promise to come back.)

I am listening to a lot of Disney music lately. (Always.) A while ago, when we thought we still could, I gathered with four of my dearest friends in my front yard. Because they love me (they do), they let me talk them into playing my favorite game: Who Are We In This Thing? I posited, “Which Disney 90’s film best captures each of our essences?”

And we went around the circle (Beauty and the Beast, Hercules, Mulan, The Little Mermaid; technically ’89, I KNOW), and finally:

“Dani, will you be mad if you’re Hunchback?”

Nah. I totally get it.

Because “Out There” is blaring from my phone right now, and I GET IT, QUASIMODO.

Out there
Strolling by the Seine
Taste a morning out there
Like ordinary men
Who freely walk about there
Just one day and then
I swear I’ll be content
With my share

And I don’t even know that this is true! It’s hard to be everyone, with or without a mood disorder! But the idea that I could go through a day. Any day, but especially a Good Day. That I could go through a day like today without this Thing sitting on my chest, whispering lies into my ears, kicking me in the fucking shins as I stroll through the sunshine. If I could get through a day with the volume at least turned down on the Voice that lives to remind me that I am a piece of shit.

I think I might do anything for that day.

(I’m working on it. I should be working harder. I’m just already so tired.)

*rings their own bells* HEY. I KNOW I TALK ABOUT THIS A LOT, BUT HEY. I KNOW THIS IS A “MENTAL” ILLNESS, BUT IT’S ALSO EXHAUSTING IN EVERY SENSE OF THE TERM. IF YOU’RE STRUGGLING, IT ISN’T YOUR FAULT. YOU’RE DOING OKAY.

My throat feels hoarse from screaming it.

I don’t know that I’m ready to tell the whole story, but there was this day in college. I remember that the sun was out. And I remember that I thought some thoughts, and that I was walking to my music class, but a tiny voice stopped me and said, “Hey, you need to go to the Wellness Center RIGHT NOW.”

(Total side note, but I am super insecure about my comma usage in this piece. Carry on.)

I went to the Wellness Center. Maybe that’s where the story ends today.

My therapist has to remind me (because it always shocks me) that these thoughts aren’t “normal.” That not everyone feels or thinks this way. And like… I’m “fine.” I really am. I am lucky and fortunate and privileged, I know that.

But it really hurts, the Thing in my head. And it hurts even at the end of a day when everything went really right. When my room smelled of blood orange and geranium and there was an almond croissant on my tongue.

Because to misquote Hunchback, it’s in here that I revile myself as I monster. And it’s in here that I hate and scorn and jeer.

Won’t resent
Won’t despair
Old and bent
I won’t care
I’ll have spent
One day
Out there

Out there. I wonder.

(You’re doing better than you think you are. Remember, strong heart: Quasimodo is the hero.)

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