Here’s the thing about what I’m doing, though.
There’s a lot of emphasis on how depression is a constant, everyday struggle, and there’s of course a lot of truth to that. But what’s always eaten away at me is how depression, for me, is only a struggle on the good days. The rest of the time it’s so far from a struggle, it’s just me watching myself, clinically, as I curl up as small as I possibly can, as I grit my teeth and pull at my hair and do everything I can to keep from even thinking hard enough to struggle.
And then I listen and read about how it’s a constant battle and I feel like I’m even failing at this, even failing at depression. Consciously of course I know that this is part and parcel of dealing with the disease, that it’s like a snake chasing at its own tail, and I am so far from alone in this. People would tell me how strong I was for my own survival, and while I did not resent it, I didn’t understand it either; I never knew how to respond. I don’t want people to be proud of me for crawling into the corner, digging my fingernails into my elbows and shivering.
I know full well that when you’ve been in the bad places, the dark white nights with the howling all around you, the fact that you made it to the morning is something you clutch to your heart, shaking, and there is nothing in the absolute world that should make you prouder than every day you do that. Ever.
But it began to weigh on me, more and more. I’d clawed my way out of the absolute pits, the months where I could only fall asleep clutching the knowledge that I didn’t really have to wake up, if I decided not to, but I was still paralytic and apathetic, empty and alone.
And because some perverse part of my personality prevents me from doing things halfway, instead of changing jobs, starting -ologists and -iatrists for the umpteenth time, trying harder to date and make friends and be capital-n Normal, as if such a thing exists, here I am, doing whatever this is.
I think it’s a good thing for me. I feel strange glimmerings of self-possession, in strange places. I suppose I only ever have self-possession in strange places, but it bleeds through, into the way I’m learning to assert my place in the left-turn lane among the pickup trucks, into taking my bike into a fucking McDonald’s or some shit instead of locking it outside, into asking people for water because I’ve realized that if they decline (which no one ever has), they’re dickheads.
Today was the first time I’ve ever biked myself into a brand new big city by way of my own body and my own bike, and it surprised me how good it felt. I may be an absolute fuckup incapable of handling everyday life, but every time somebody looks at me with confused admiration I think maybe there’s a tiny chance I have something to offer this world after all.