Tag Archives: feeling

Justified

6 Mar

I have always felt the need to justify my existence. I’m not really sure when it started; I have no particular experience to point to, no exact moment in time when I can remember its instillment. There is neither any gradual buildup that I can trace; this need has just always been there, within me, existing.

Perhaps it’s from the early Catholic training I received, the anti-hedonistic education I received since birth. Perhaps it is the messages, subtle and otherwise, that pleasure should never  be a reason, only an unhoped for side effect of righteousness, to be found only after death in a heavenly afterlife. Perhaps it’s that I was raised in an environment of business and consequences; my father, a self-employed salesman, and my mother, a harried keeper who ran around cleaning up after him. There were costs to life, and if you did not put in the effort to stay ahead of them, debt was an inevitability. Therefore one must justify every expenditure, and behind that, every whim. Can you pay the price of what you want? Can you afford the cost of what you are asking for? Are you providing enough return for this air, this water, this space that you are soaking up and taking in? Because if not, then there will be someone to come collect your dues from you. And you may not like what they take.

Perhaps it is that – I can remember creating powerpoint presentation as a fourth grader whenever I wanted to ask my parents for something: a book, a dog, a birthday party. Here, mother and father, are the reasons I want this thing. Here are the reasons that I am sure this is truly something of value to me, something worth your funding, not just some passing fancy that you will not see the returns of. Let me explain the form of my liquidated joy. Let me explain why this matters. Let me explain how giving me this thing will pay off for you, too. Let me show you how this happiness of mine is a worthwhile venture for your capital. Let me use these graphs and these bullet points and these arguments and persuasions to prove to you that I – that is, this thing that I want – is not just a risk. Let me show you why it is worth it.

Let me show you why I am worth it.

Or perhaps, perhaps it’s really that the universe somehow screwed up royally when I was born, and I was brought into this world with a piece of antimatter snuck into my core. And it’s been sitting there ever since, slowly annihilating me from the inside, destroying my internal and leaving me empty and so I have always felt this need for external, objective justification of myself because it is the fodder I have fed this antimatter core, the material I have been using to build myself up and keep the destruction at bay. I have needed to constantly build myself up because there is something else within me constantly tearing myself down. I have needed to prove myself to create a positive existence within myself that is being constantly drawn toward the negative.

Alright, alright, it’s probably not that I’ve got a bit of antimatter in me. But you have to admit, that would be more exciting.

And so I don’t know. I don’t know why I feel this constant imperative to show to myself – because it is to myself, really – over and over and over again that it is all right for me to exist. That is okay for me to be happy. The idea of doing something, well and truly and solely for my own pleasure – that is still an idea I am learning to be comfortable with. I mean, I’m still learning to be comfortable at all. In my body, in my mind, in my relationships. There is always some latent dissatisfaction, some missing piece, some screw up enfolded in the obscurity of a past that I somehow didn’t quite catch, that holds me back from every being truly happy. I mean, most days, my goal is just to not go crazy. Recently, a day without breaking down crying on my dorm room floor has been what’s counted as success.

Maybe I’ve just distorted that line about “everyone is here for a reason,” the whole “your life has a purpose” spiel. There’s a reason for me?! My life has a purpose?! What if I’m screwing up and not following through on what that reason for me is?! What if I’m doing it wrong?! What if I fail, don’t ever fulfill what my purpose was supposed to be?! What if I just fall short?! Every breath for me is a beat of “am I doing it? am I doing it? did I do it now? is this okay? oh god oh god oh god oh god…”

Heh. And people wonder why I have anxiety…

No, I am not looking for you to tell me that I am justified. I am not looking for you to tell me the right answer, to insist that I am alright, that it’s all okay, that I am good. You see, that’s part of the tricky business of the internal ruckus of mine. I require outside feedback to let me know that I am okay (because I couldn’t ever just trust myself, could I? that’s not objective observation…), but if I feel that it was given because I asked for it – well then, that just voids it right there. It’s like leading a witness in court. You said that because I directed you to. You may really mean it, but my brain doesn’t care about that. Nope, the only praise I can accept is the kind that has been spontaneously and freely given, that I have earned but not fished for.

(By the way, Miss Kim, I’m going to tell you again that I love you forever for the random messages you send me at like two in the afternoon while you’re at work that just pop up on my facebook chat telling me I’m pretty. You are a glorious, wonderful human being and I cannot exist without you. Also, I’m probably going to buy a mattress soon, like, for realsies and probably just have it delivered straight to the apartment, because fuck transporting queen-sized mattresses in a compact.)

I hope you all have a best friend like Miss Kim. Like Miss Kim, mind you. Because Miss Kim is mine. All mine.

*Ahem.* But really, I do. And I hope even more that perhaps this best friend is in fact some part of you. That perhaps you do not need an external positivity feed like I do. That perhaps you already have your own sense of justification, built into the infrastructure of yourself.

That would be nice.

But if you don’t – well, I understand. I’m here with you, too. And here’s to hoping that one day, we will be able to tear out that pesky piece of antimatter (using proper protective gloves, of course, gotta be careful when handling antimatter…) and finally fill that whole with some brick of justification that will finally stay and stick.

And until then, here’s to searching.

Advertisements

Nil

10 Oct

Hello, lovely readers. For some reason only beknownst to it, my depression has gotten rather uppity over the past few days. But rather than continuing to sit here in a grumbling match with my depression, I decided to pull out my keyboard and describe it instead. Spectres usually aren’t so hard to deal with once you’ve managed to pin them down.

So now I’ve got a poem to share with you all! Aren’t you lucky. But don’t any of you dare go thinking, “Man, more writing, this is great! If only she were depressed more often!”

Seriously. I will excommunicate you.

 

grey

Nil

Depression is the tired feeling of waking up too early on a grey morning,

cloudy and alone.

Depression is the too busy, too rushed, too late sprint to the next have-to

with the no-consolation of a half-peck on the lips from a lover while you don’t even stop

on your way out the door.

Depression is the uneven kilter of a storm-ridden brain when it’s sunny outside,

and you continue to stare at the light coming through your window even while you shrink from it,

because the bewildered confusion in your eyes is too rapt to look away.

Sometimes depression is pain. Sometimes depression is numbness.

But sometimes depression is none of these things;

it is not pain or numbness or fear or hardness or solitude or sadness.

Sometimes depression is nothing.

An odd non-existence to the mold of organic matter,

an emptiness where there once was something,

a void of anything at all that would indicate you are still alive.

A hollow deadness, too much of an absence to be either blank or black.

A hole into which everything is falling,

but in which there is nothing at all to be seen.

Brains are weird.

19 Sep

brain art

Good morning lovely readers! I’m back from my sojourn to the US’s southern regions and have returned to the land of no humidity where I don’t wake up every morning with a dozen new mosquito bites. It’s the little things in life.

But, lovely readers, I have a bone to pick. Well, not so much a bone as a fairly squishy organ. Yup. The brain.

Brains are weird. And by “weird” what I really mean is “confusing asshole.” A lot of you may know that I am a depression recoveree. (Yes, I know the word is technically “recoverer,” but I like “recoveree” better and this is my blog, so there.) Most of the time I am some level of “fine.” No, this summer wasn’t the nastiest my depression has ever been, but it was fairly unfun. Whatever.

For the past three weeks – the period of time I spent traipsing around Florida and Georgia with my boyfriend and my best friend – I’d found a sort of respite. For three blessed damn weeks, it wasn’t a struggle to push myself out of bed in the morning (beyond my normal pre-coffee grogginess, that is). For three weeks, I didn’t have to walk around feeling like my heart was twisted into a coil and my soul was stuck crushed beneath an anchor. For three weeks, the shackles of anxiety and worry and loneliness I’ve grown so used to trudging around in that I don’t even think of them as “not normal” anymore – they just weren’t there. Sure, there was a maybe a moment or two of freak-out, but they were only that – a moment. I wasn’t left with an unrescinding haze hanging over me for days. I felt… free. Light. Even happy.

Then I come back to Los Angeles. Normally touching down at LAX fills me with relief (usually ’cause I’ve just returned from an obligatory trip to that emotional war zone known as my house in Missouri) – but this time, not so. I felt… lonely. But whatever. I shook it off as jet lag or something.

Then I entered my dorm room.

This is why I say brains are weird. (Ahem, confusing assholes.) Brains make connections between physical locations and emotional/physiological responses, right? Seriously – that’s why some drug addicts can overdose on what had been a usual amount of whatever substance for them if they do it somewhere out of the ordinary; their brain wasn’t given the environmental stimulus that told it “I’m going to do x amount of y here” and so it didn’t ramp up the necessary physiological response to cope with that x amount of y.

Anyhoo. Back to my dorm room. About that environmental stimulus… sure, I had just spent an incredible three weeks being happy, but guess what connection my brain had made between my being alone in my dorm room and what emotion I would be feeling?

Yup. Hey there, depression. How not nice to see you.

I keep trying to tell myself that the amount of sadness and loneliness that came crashing over me is understandable. Yeah, I had just spent the past three weeks surrounded almost 24/7 by the people I’m closest to – it’s understandable that there would be some kind of backlash, some kind of withdrawal to their suddenly not being there. I hope.

Yes, I had spent the entire summer forging a connection between the “dorm room” and “depressed” neurons in my brain, so of course there would be a noticeable shock when they fired together again after having laid dormant for three weeks. I think.

It’s just… odd, feeling these feelings again after having been happy for what feels like so long. It’s like I’m walking through a familiar landscape, but suddenly all the angles are odd and the walls jut out in weird places. While yes, this loneliness and the sadness born from it are familiar dressings, suddenly the skin just doesn’t fit right. I have found another shape, and the part of my consciousness that knows that is disgruntled at being forced back into old containers.

With diseases like depression, they say you can’t run away from it, because wherever you go, there you are. But what if it isn’t me? What if it is where I am? The place where so many events and tears have stained the carpet and the walls with memories and expectations? What if I can go somewhere else where there aren’t those constant visual triggers? What if it is not that I can’t run away from it – but that I can at least not walk right in?