Autobiography · Mental Health

Dark

She reminds me that each day brings us closer to when the days start getting longer again. That in thirty-three days it will be as dark as it’s going to get. I try to remind myself of this when I’m outside smoking a cigarette at 4:30 PM and the sun is already sinking below the horizon. When I’m wrestling with my brain to get me out of bed to go running without light. We’re getting closer to it getting bright again.

Like every year, I take my vitamin D, I try to remember to eat, get enough sleep. And like every year I struggle to take care of my most basic needs while I’m living in the dark. All the things I know I need to do to feel better seem to be just out of reach.

My therapist tells me we’ll work on motivation. My psychiatrist tells me we’ll figure out if my medication is draining me. My sister tells me she’s only always a phone call away. My mom sets up my old apartment in case I need to be somewhere else. Chuck says I can stay “for a night, a week, forever”. Andrew checks in on my wellbeing over and over. Vinnie shares smoke breaks with me. We’re rallying.

There has to be a way to get through this again. I’ve managed it this long, it’s silly to think I won’t be able to this time. But every day my alarm clock goes off and I can’t make myself get out of bed. Today I slept until 9:45 when I had to be at work at 10:00. It’s hard. Everything is so hard. My mom tells me how much fight I have in me and follows it up with, “I just wish you didn’t have to use it all the time.” And I find myself wishing that, too.

I don’t want or need life to be easy. I just need it to be a little gentler with me. But I guess like anything it just comes with practice. It’s just muscle memory.

Photo courtesy of Jason Leem.

Autobiography · Mental Health

Backward

We get coffee while it’s dark out. Our reflections bouncing off the window back at us. The barista plays a Dashboard Confessional album I haven’t listened to since about 2004. He hadn’t either. Something in the air made him want to put it on. Something about the mood. Like we are all going backward.

I remember what it felt like to be in high school. Remember the growing pains. Journal after journal filled with questions about how to survive, but no answers. Just postpone. Always just postpone.

My sister tells me that suicide does not put an end to pain, it just transfers it. And that’s the only thing that has ever really sunk in. I can’t imagine making someone feel the way I feel.

But there are also moments. While we share our warm drinks. While I answer customer questions at work. While I walk with music blasting through headphones. While we drive home at 3 AM singing loud to pop songs. Andrew’s head resting on my lap while I write this.

There is still goodness out there. There is still goodness in here. We haven’t lost it all yet. Maybe we never will.

Photo courtesy of Alex Wong.

Autobiography · Mental Health

Demands

I keep telling myself that all I really have to do is keep existing. Miss work. Let the bills pile up. Skip rent. Get rid of everything I own. Move back to my hometown. Stop trying to be a good partner, a good friend. Quit writing. Keep smoking. Never go for a run again. Get drunk. But keep existing. Just keep existing.

Photo courtesy of Arnaud Mesureur .