It’s been a while since I have written anything. I wonder how many times I have said that. I’m never sure If I have anything to truly say. I am still very much the child that wants to be noticed but is terrified that someone will notice me. That’s why I write, I want to scream in agony. I want people to know I am in pain. The truth is, however, everyone is in pain. Being in pain does not make me special. But when am crying alone once again, I just want someone, anyone to know am hurting. That I exist.
I hit a cat with my car the other day. It just ran out into the street as if it was running away from something that scared it. I didn’t feel a bump or hear a thud but when I looked in my mirror I could see it on the road, making its last attempts at moving before dying. It took me longer then I like to admit before I pulled over. I walked to the cat and it was completely lifeless. I pulled him off the road, blood was pooled around his head, but I could not stand the thought of another car running him over. He had no tags or collar. Stray cats are rather common in the area. Still, my first thought was to wonder what makes my life worth more than his. I don’t like hurting others. I always sought to live a life out of others path. To live and to die without being an inconvenience to anyone. Now I wonder if I truly want to live, I will inevitably be in others way.
I’ve never liked the heat. My siblings called me a Polar Bear. In the cold things are silent, peaceful. In the heat the air is heavy. A subtle discomfort that refuses to go away. I can describe my life that way. No matter what I do there is always that small frustration, a feeling that I am doing something wrong.
There are endless weights on a life. Small voices judging you. “Lose weight, make money, clean, do something…” They cause pent-up frustrations. Anxiety, Depression follows. Anxiety and depression only make the voices louder, and myself more lethargic. That endless spiral, down, down I go.
It never truly stops…I know that. Wounds Heal but can reopen. It is always a matter of enduring, building mental muscles to lift the same weight like an old man who felt the same pain in his leg for so long it no longer bothers him. I write to let out my frustration because I know that it will always be building. The weight of life is always building if you don’t learn to carry it, or let some of it go it will crush you.
Spring has come late this year, winter did not seem to want to stop. Seasons can change moods. Perhaps that is why I want to speak about something I rarely talk about on this blog, hope.
It is no secret that I had very little friends growing up. Some of the worst times in my life was sitting alone at lunchtime in School. The anxiety and loneliness weighed on me like lead. I have friends now. The anxiety still hurts before every meeting, but it’s worth it.
Depression can put blinders on you, make you lose track of the things around you. That is why I feel the need to point out that I have so much more then in my youth.
I am officially 30 years old and like so many of my birthdays, I spent it a depressed anxious wreck. What can I say that I have not said so many times? I did not plan to live this long. In school, they often asked what I wanted to be when I got older. I said a Writer or a Teacher. In truth, I wanted to be dead. Dramatic perhaps, but if Depression makes you anything, it’s dramatic.
So how did I handle the crushing realization of my continued existence this year? I crawled up into a ball on my bedroom floor and sobbed like a child and perhaps because I was feeling nostalgic for high school I took a pairing knife to my forearm. I cut into myself, quickly at first but found my skin much tougher then I remember. Sawing back and forth with the knife I could barely make a mark deeper than a bad cat scratch.
That was it….that was my grand gesture of defiance to living. Nearly a ten years since I last did anything like that broken. But some childish part of me felt I needed to do something. It was unhealthy and stupid, but I suppose it was a better act than a handful of pills or walking into traffic that my young self-promised would happen by now. Still, my young self could not foresee the support I would receive from the friends and family I have now. It’s snowing outside, and it is so very beautiful.
Have you ever laid flat against the ground and feel as if gravity was holding you down? Sometimes I forget how much I distract myself from myself. Just a few moments alone with my thoughts is enough to send warm tears down the sides of my head. I feel somber. My mind is so very clear, but the tears don’t stop.
I recently had to visit a new psychiatrist. My old one had moved away leaving me to deal with a new one. Sitting in a chair answering questions that I had long forgotten the answer too. I can’t remember old doctors names or the years when I started a certain medicine. Suddenly being asked the days date, and counting backward from 100 by 7 was embarrassing. It seemed my last doctor added agoraphobia to my chart without telling me. The lack of control over the situation made me feel so small.
What hurt more than any of my anxiety, however, was my father. Before I left for the appointment I happened to talk to him and told him where I was going. His response was surprising that I still seek help for my mental Illness. I have been seeing a psychologist almost longer in my life then I have not. Nearly more than half my life. How could he possibly not know? The nights I spent crying myself to sleep, the times I hurt myself, the very close fact that I was going to kill myself. How blind has he been to the pain in my life? When I was young I suffered alone. As I grow up I decided never again, for my sake I would be open and honest about it. It hurts to know that someone close did not hear me.
Recently I finally have gotten around to reading something that has been on my “to read” list for a long time. Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis. A fascinating short story about a man who becomes a bug. However, there is something about the story that has gotten stuck in my head. The main character Gregory, and his family rely heavily on societal expectations and pleasing them. Gregory’s very first thought upon turning into a bug is that he is late for work. He near kills himself to try and go to work, despite turning into a giant beetle, for fear of being fired from his job even though he has never been late in years of working. His family hides Gregory away as a shameful thing. To make up for the lack of his income, they all get jobs and rent a room out of the house to make money. They go to insane lengths to please the renters of the room. Meanwhile, Gregory hides away and makes a great effort not to upset his family despite being mistreated and dying. He places the needs of others so far above himself that he dies not to upset it. His family only grow contempt for Gregory and wanted to get rid of him near the end. They decide that Gregory has no intelligence from his formal life because they never try to look and Gregory never tried to show it. In the end, Gregory dies alone, and the family gets a happy ending, calling out of work for the first time, kicking out the renters, and firing the rude maid. They realize they can do what they want with their lives and have an open future ahead of them.
So why is this story so stuck in my head? Gregory dies alone with his family seeing him as nothing but a giant insect with no intelligence. This is depressing alone but it’s Gregory’s nature that hits me. I used to be a lot like him. Haveing so little self-worth that any action was taken by the people around me always held more value than myself. I was prepared to die alone in my room trying to cause as little trouble to others as possible. Perhaps like Gregory, I saw myself as an insect. I would live and die a short life avoiding the lives of others.
Self-worth is just so very important to a healthy life. Somewhere along my life I never learned it, and have been trying ever since. If you don’t have the confidence to take a single sick day from work, to take care of yourself then you are barely living. It’s okay to be selfish, your existence is important enough that you can slightly burden others.
PS. I like to thank my brother for letting me rant about Kafka for a night.