Sometimes I wonder about whether or not it’s acceptable for me to believe that my life is hard. I consider that there are uncountable worse things or situations that could be a part of my life. I think that feeling shitty on the regular is merely a dirty, selfish habit of mine that should be ground into the pavement I walk on.
It’s hard to write “I” and “me” and “my” when I’m talking about this. I want to say “You start to feel pathetic”, but you don’t. I feel pathetic, sometimes. I just added the “sometimes” because saying “I feel pathetic” seems to be the exact kind of literal pathetic that garners eye rolls and urges to “Stop feeling sorry for yourself.”
I am so thankful for so much. I was just handed a paycheck. I am loved and in love with someone who understands that occasionally, everything with me is just a flat “No”. I am thankful for my abilities, for my family, for the education that almost killed me. I was going to say “I am thankful for my health”, but I am pretty sure that would require working with percentages.
I try, once in a while, to blame this on my mother, who in turn would attempt to blame this on her mother. Two women who struggle daily with anxiety and depression- the kind of mothers who stay up all night on the couch in the dark waiting for their children to come home from a party because “What if something awful happens.”
I knew that I was depressed; I knew that I had a problem with eating, and I knew that I was stressed and anxious way too often. The thing is, though, I don’t think I believed I was depressed until the psychotherapist across the room said “It’s okay to cry, you’re obviously very depressed”. I don’t think I believed I had a debilitating issue with eating until I described my food habits and the doctor said “Well, that’s definitely an eating disorder.” Mostly, I know that I didn’t believe I had anxiety disorder. I just thought I was stressed. Hell, the doctor didn’t even say the words “anxiety disorder” at the appointment. When I picked up my new prescription for Prozac at the pharmacy a few days later, I read it on the bottle: “FOR ANXIETY DISORDER”.
And then there was a swirling feeling in my head where I realized that I’d just read an awful societal label on an actual paper label that had been stuck to a bottle and therefore stuck to me. What happened next is a series of mind spinning that I usually only verbalize as “I shouldn’t be driving right now, I just can’t focus.”
So I sat in the car and listened to myself whimper like an injured animal.
I take Prozac now, but I constantly question if it’s doing anything for me. I try to remember what the doctor said when he told me I needed to take the pills: “You need to treat the problem that is making you struggle against the treatment of the problem.”
Because sometimes I stare a little too long at the pair of jeans that fit me fifty pounds ago. Sometimes I get so anxious that when my boyfriend wants to have fun and mash the hard-boiled eggs with a potato masher instead of the knife I always use, I lock myself in the bathroom and five minutes later have no idea why I behaved in such a way. Sometimes I shove commitment as far away from my soul as possible, only to desperately seek out the comfort commitment brings a few hours later.
And there, I’ve made it happen- the real question comes to a head. Isn’t everyone like this? Don’t all girls limit their eating to fit into dresses during their second year of university? Everybody wants to quit their job, right? Do all of those people get a tight feeling in their chest when they think about what the hell else they would do with themselves? Doesn’t everyone just hold it together all day long and attempt to cover up the mess?
Sometimes I wonder about whether or not it’s acceptable for me to believe that my life is hard. I consider depression, binge eating disorder, anxiety disorder, and general listlessness. Then I wonder some more and beat myself up for being so self-absorbed. I wonder, but I sincerely do not know the answer. I am not ashamed.