(CW: brief mention of self harm and suicidal thoughts, extensive and descriptive discussion on what it’s like to have depression and anxiety (please let me know if there are any other specifics I should add…))
What’s it like?
No, seriously. What’s it like to live life without depression? What’s it like to live without battling anxiety in your brain every day, trying its hardest to convince you of untruths?I’ve been pondering this question for a while now and discussing it with other friends who have similar struggles, and we’re really not sure.
CW: Trans murder rate, murders of POC, this damn election
I don’t even know where to start. It’s not hyperbolic when I tell you that I am deeply grieving for My America right now. The America that was just beginning to acknowledge people like me as worthy of rights like marriage, adoption, protection from being fired because of my identity, and other things that so many people take for granted.
I could fill this page with empassioned wailings about how concerned I am for the safety of myself as a queer woman and my other LGBQ friends, my trans friends, my friends who are people of color, Muslim, immigrants, disabled, lower income, single mothers, people with uteruses, women…
Yes, these concerns exist and are so visceral I feel it seething out of my body, feel myself getting hives, unable to eat, bawling all day at work, and feeling like a tightly coiled spring.
Since I have an MFA in an aspect of theatre, I’ve read a lot of plays, and I am no stranger to the work of Samuel Beckett.
I first saw a production of Waiting for Godot as a senior in high school while visiting what would become my undergrad theatre department in 2004. I knew nothing about the play, and, while I claimed to be an artsy and intelligent student, I was pretty perplexed by it all.
Waiting for Godot is an existential absurdist play in which two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, are stuck in an eternal loop of limbo in which they are constantly waiting for a character named “Godot” who never comes.
No, I did absolutely nothing of consequence today. I’m off work for at least another week, and I slept in till 1 and took a nap at 7:30.
I had made some plans with myself to go to a dark electro night in a neighboring town, but I spent the whole day dreading it.
I made pros and cons lists. I didn’t want to go by myself but that’s just how it would have to be. It’s 20 miles away, which means it’s a commitment and I can’t just bail. I could meet some cool people, but if I got cornered by some weirdies (and there are definitely those types at these sort of occasions) I wouldn’t have a friend as an exit strategy.
And, even though the only human contact I have had in the last week was the cashier at Aldi, I really really don’t want to be around people.
I talked with friends, they tried to convince me it would be a good idea and I would end up having fun.
But in the end, I think I’m bowing out of my plans with myself.
Exactly one year ago, I was packing up for my summer job, preparing to leave my new wife for my fourth summer away from her, once again sad that I hadn’t ever celebrated my birthday with her. I was living in Chicago, and miserable with my 3-5 hour a day commute. I had wrapped up the season for a theatre I was realizing wasn’t going to advance my career goals. I was considered “obsese” by the BMI’s standards. I was a prickly, negative person, gripped tightly in the talons of depression, and it was a struggle to want to go out and do anything fun with my wife before I left town. Every day was a challenge, and I was beginning to wonder if this was what it was going to be like to live the rest of my life.
This week at work, the entire company has been attending workshops in which we discuss our fears, insecurities, the way we handle issues, and how to improve upon them. A lot of the things that have been addressed have interlocked a great deal with the themes I have been writing about on this blog, and it has been a valuable prompt for more self-reflection.
So when the question was asked, “What do you fear that others will think about you?” I knew right away.
“That I’m unstable,” I shared with the group.
The Crazy Girl. Mentally unhinged. Incapable of handling her emotions.
I scribbled a note to myself. I knew what I was going to write about tonight.