I really don't feel like writing this post. You'd think that that the opaque fog of self-loathing might prevent me from inflicting myself upon the internet, but you'd be dead wrong. I'm like a human whitehead of emotion, welling up into some hideous pustule that eventually breaks unbidden at some inopportune moment in front of a classroom of my social betters.
That was disgusting and not just because of its vivid depiction of something that I know -- I know -- you watch YouTube videos of when there's nothing happening on Facebook. Look. I don't feel right in the head and I haven't for a while, and I suspect that's been obvious to everyone but me. It feels terribly indulgent to admit it, and I won't detail what exactly has been going on because frankly I feel like enough of a bore already, but suffice to say I have ups and downs and both of them are rather intense and I'm always unusually irritable with my children and hard on myself and doing weird behaviors that make me feel like I have a sense of control and when those get taken away -- if I miss a run or eat more than I intend to or go off-plan in any way -- I panic.
And part of me is sitting in the back seat, arms folded, shaking my head, saying, look, dude. You are a decent worthwhile person and you are beautiful no matter what your body looks like and the world will not collapse if you miss a run and no matter what an ass you make of yourself people will tolerate you and some will even like you. I know all this, on some level. But logic is no match for the part of my brain that's on the fritz. The volume is turned way up on the ugly voices and I cannot make it stop. Either I hate myself and I'm wading through mud or I'm amazing and I start a million things and the engine is just revving revving revving and my brain won't stop shouting at me, either way, either ugliness or great ideas.
So I made an appointment. One of those first-step get-you-into-the-system appointments. You know what I imagine is going to happen? I will walk in there and describe what I'm experiencing and the effect it's having on my family and friends and the therapist or whoever will say: Yeah, you know what, you're just an asshole. Nothing you're describing is a real problem, and if you're letting minor shit like that affect the people you care about it's your own self-indulgence and weakness. Diagnosis DICK. Correction: Attention-seeking dick. You're making it all up. Now stop.
It's not an unreasonable expectation. I did once have a therapist do something like that. I was being treated for depression, oh, maybe 15 years ago I guess, and I told the therapist, hey, sometimes I'm really really depressed but sometimes it lifts and I feel soooo good, and I go out and I spend all my money and rack up the sex partners like you wouldn't believe and I make all kinds of great art and pretty much stop sleeping, and what's up with that, is that a problem?
And she told me: Oh, you're just feeling relieved not to be depressed. Let's not make a big deal out of that.
That was the last time I saw any therapist ever. My Zoloft ran out and I never refilled it. The end.
It terrifies me, the possibility that I will have to confront this instability as my own character flaw, pure failure. Every time I regain my footing a bit, in those little in-between times neither up nor down, I think, oh, that was all temporary, god, can you believe I was acting that way, what an asshole, what utter silliness. I won't do that again. So let's forget all about it and who wants ice cream?
But it is hurting my kids, when I can't stand to sit next to them on the sofa or pay attention to them, when I stare off into space instead of interacting, when I can't think two weeks into the future. It hurts my husband in ways innumerable. It hurts my friends. It hurts my sisters. I made everyone tell me, again and again: How it affects them. How it sucks, how it makes them uncomfortable, how sometimes they have to get a little distance from me. I make them tell me again and again so I don't minimize it away. I don't give a shit about myself -- I have lived in this mildly unpleasant purgatory like an ill-equipped waiting room, on and off, since I was very young -- but I do care about other people, and I don't want this for them.
I hesitate to share this. Not only because of the aforementioned self-indulgence but because I am afraid that y'all, amazing as you are, will try to comfort me and I cannot handle it. A curt nod and a clap on the shoulder is about all I can take if you are inclined that way. Or better still: your own story.
I'm sorry. I'm sorry for sharing it but hell, for some unfathomable reason I can't not.