One of the worst things about depression is how it clouds out my optimistic side.
Because if I had to guess, based on past experience and patterns of my brain, I’d say I’m inherently an optimist. There’s this stubborn streak of hope that courses through me, that keeps me fighting no matter how hard things get.
It’s why I keep applying for jobs out of my league, keep plugging away editing my book, keep hoping that someday things will get better, someday I’ll find love, someday I’ll be published.
Enter depression, stage left. Suddenly, all the hope is sucked out of me, and I’m just absolutely, certainly positive that nothing will ever get better.
No one will ever love me, because how could they? Look at me. I mean, just took a good, long look.
You see it, don’t you? The truth, that I’m unlovable.
No one will ever publish my book, because why would they? Read it, just read it, and you’ll see — it sucks as much as I do.
You can tell, can’t you? The truth is, I suck at writing.
Nothing will ever get better, because of course it won’t. Life sucks. Take a good long look at the world, at everything happening…there is no hope.
You know it too, don’t you? The truth, that hope is a lie.
Those are the words that depression whispers to me. When I’m awake, she clouds my thoughts, making it impossible to focus on getting anything done, on trying to overcome by dint of proof.
When I’m asleep, my dreams are willowy and whispy and in the dark there’s this soft voice that coos, gentle as a dove, that there is no hope.
I’ve said it before: depression steals hope. It just sucks it out of you.
In my brain, somewhere, in some deep recess, floats the knowledge that depression is a liar. That hope is the one who’s correct, depression the one who needs to vanish.
But I become so overcome, to the point where reason is false and falsehoods reasonable. To the point where the most ridiculous of statements make the most sense.
I feel myself slipping through the rabbit hole today. I feel like I can’t breathe, can’t think clearly. I feel like love is a lost cause for me, publication a pipe dream.
Those are the two things I long for the most, if I’m being perfectly honest: I deeply desire someone to love me in that fiery, romantic way that novels are written about; and I crave publication. I want to see my words in print, want to hold my book in my hands and see others read it and I want them to tell me I’m amazing, and I want to give them some sort of hope.
It’s weird, that the thing that eludes me the most is the thing I want to give others: hope.
Because I know that it will be OK in the end.
For you, that is.
I talk about this with my counselor all the time…how easy it is for me to believe all the right things for everybody else. How easy it is for me to believe that love will come, that dreams will unfold, that hope is true, when it comes to someone else’s life.
In my life, though, I anticipate and expect and acknowledge that nothing good can come.
Because I don’t deserve it, you see.
I don’t know why I don’t deserve it and you do; I just know that that’s the case. I don’t know why my lil sperm was the fish that swam the best, that fertilized the egg the fastest, but for some reason it was and so I’m alive and not someone else. And that feels like a big, giant, glaring mistake. My birth? A mistake. It should have been someone else.
So I’m living my life just trying to make up for the fact that I stole life from someone more deserving.
So of course you will find love; of course your dreams will come true; of course you’ll be able to keep hoping. Of course those things, because those things are true, those things are right, those things are reality.
This is how I am. And then there’s depression, which slithers in and whispers the above things, taking from me the two things I hope for the most, as well as the very hope which keeps me going.
Days like today, I just want to curl up in bed and eat popcorn and cry. I want someone to come sit with me and stroke my hair and say it’s OK. I want to lose myself in a story until I can’t remember reality.
Those are temporary fixes, though. They’re not gonna solve the root problem.
And so. So today I’m going to finish cleaning my room, because a clean room makes a marginally lighter heart. I’m going to write, edit and submit, because those are things that bring me joy. I’m going to go to Books of Wonder to see one of my favorite authors, and I’m going to come home and sleep and wake up and go to therapy and group therapy and talk to my counselor about what’s going on, and learn valuable coping skills.
Because the band-aids I listed above aren’t going to help for long. And I need something that will.
Today I’m gonna force myself to hope. As much as I don’t feel like it, I’m gonna do it.