happy valentine’s

it’s valentine’s day and my valentine is at work. we won’t see each other tonight and won’t for a few more days. my impulsive gift is perishable, and might not last til then. part of me wants to cry. my emotions are usually close to the surface, and the delight of female hormones means that today I am more susceptible than usual. I’m also tired and hungry, which is something of a constant these days, as I live alone and take care of myself and my dog and frequently have the energy for neither (though I force myself to take care of the dog because she depends on me, fallible as I am). I won’t lie, I am crying now. I blame the hormones and the words.

the reason I sat down and started writing, forced myself to write even though I just want to sleep, is that this is the only way out. just as I forced myself to make dinner (mac and cheese, because I’m craving it and going to bed without eating will just make me miserable in the morning). coping with depression is a series of choices and the strength you have to make them, and not blaming yourself when you don’t have the strength. not blaming yourself is hard enough in the first place, but then you start repeating every little thing you’ve heard someone say about people with depression, or worse, that they’ve said to your face. you need to eat better, exercise more, sleep more, sleep less, eat less, drink less, watch less tv, spend less time on your own, just get out there, just go outside, stop complaining, stop being so negative, be more positive, just be happier, you can if you just try. because obviously you’re not trying. obviously it isn’t taking every ounce of willpower you have to just exist. obviously it isn’t taking every bit of energy you have just to achieve the bare semblance of normality that you are presenting. obviously you aren’t trying to claw yourself out of a desperate void of nothingness that feels like it’s swallowing you despite how hard you’re trying.

sometimes you catch a break though. sometimes in the midst of all the endless trudging you’re doing, you have a minor victory. something pays off and you actually feel good. if you’re lucky, there’ll be a few somethings and that will give you enough of a kick in the relentless low mood and you’ll actually feel like something approaching good.

one of the things I hear a lot these days is that everyone goes through depression. it’s a well intentioned comment meant to normalise the experience and remove some of the stigma. the problem is that people then think they understand depression based on what they went through during a bad breakup, the death of a loved one, or some other kind of emotional trauma. they think that they know what you’re going through. they don’t understand that those blips of depression in their lives are your day to day existence. that how they feel on any given day is what you’re desperate to achieve on any given day. 

this evening, I’ve felt good, despite the crying. I keep a mood diary on my phone, which prompts me to enter my mood on a scale of shit to neutral to great, every day. most days are neutral. I don’t actively feel awful but I don’t feel good either. when I say most days I mean maybe one day in a month is good. two days is a bloody miracle. there are smatterings of shit days. most days are just bland existence where it counts as a success that I’m still alive and I haven’t tried to do anything about that. that’s neutral. your shit days are my every days. your every days are a rarity to me. that’s why I can’t just take your advice and feel better. because I’ve tried everything and I’m doing everything the best I can. maybe that’s not good enough for you, and it’s my lesson to learn that it’s not personal and it’s not my fault. that it’s ok for me to be who I am on the neutral days and the shit days and what you might think about it doesn’t matter a damn, and shouldn’t matter to me at all, or I’ll just end up having more shit days than not. 

it still matters to me though.

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