Coping with Depression

I don’t know exactly when I first started feeling depressed.

Before I get any further, let me just acknowledge that like, literally everyone has depression.

Very few people I’ve met don’t have issues with depression.

You know why?

Because being alive sucks.

It’s awful.

All the terrible things are so so terrible, and all the good things are just…meh. They’re fine.

So I’ve seen and been through so many horrible things. I’ve seen and experienced so much violence.

That was the terrible things. They all happened a long time ago, but it almost always feels like it’s still happening. I don’t know how to make it stop feeling like it’s still happening.

Therapy didn’t help me make that feeling stop. All they did was tell me I have a chemical imbalance and stick me on various prescription drug cocktails that made me feel worse.

Nothing makes that feeling stop.

And the older I get, the more pathetic I feel. Like you sad old bitch, shut up already. So some bad stuff happened when you were a kid. Then it got a little better, but there were a few more events of that nature in your early twenties. It’s over now. Everything is fine and it’s over and it’s okay and you never have to talk to any of the people who did those things ever again, not if you don’t want to. So shut up, because you’re a really pathetic fuck and nobody cares about your trauma, because everybody has their own trauma, so shut up, you self-absorbed whiney pathetic fuck. It’s been almost ten years since the last time somebody was violent to you. It will be ten years very soon. So get over it get over it get over it get over it.

Well, you know, everybody has something. My thing is just that a lot of chaos and violence happened in my home growing up and I feel like my brain is still all scrambled up from it, even though I should have found a way to settle myself down by this point.

Everybody says you have to process your trauma. I’m saying that I don’t know how. I’ve talked and talked and talked.

It still always feels like everything bad that happened is still happening. It always feels like something horrible is going to happen.

And even when nothing horrible happens, it’s like….okay, well…this is fine. I went through so many horrible things. The horrible things are so so horrible and the good things are just…meh.

They’re just fine. They’re nothing to write home about.

The horrible things were when I saw my two year old sister picked up and hurled into a wall. The time my mom beat our dog with a chain and the dog kept screaming and I didn’t know anything could scream like that and every time I think of it, that scream is in my ears again. The horrible things are the time there were maggots in the kitchen and my mom made me scoop them up with my bare hands and I tried to shut my brain off, because I couldn’t deal with what was happening. The horrible things are sitting in the closet when I was nine and looking at the welts and dried blood on my arms, and reading the Babysitter’s Club, trying not to think about anything except Kristy and Claudia.

Those are the horrible things.

What are the good things? A walk outside. Watching movies with my husband. Trips to the beach.

Those things are all fine. They are just fine.

They just weren’t worth all of the horrible things.

Being alive is stupid and horrible and I hate it.

Because none of the good things will ever come anywhere close to feeling as good as the bad things felt bad.

There were so many strong, awful emotions that went with the horrible things.

Shouldn’t there be some kind of equal but opposite reaction? Shouldn’t I feel joy as strong as the pain? Shouldn’t I feel bliss as strong as the torment?

It doesn’t exist.

The good things will always just be fine.

And the bad things are unbearable. They make you wish sadness could kill you. Unfortunately, it can’t.

The first time I remember feeling hopeless, I was five. I was just about to move out of my grandparents’ house and in with my mom and her boyfriend, my younger sisters’ dad. Their dad, my stepdad, really didn’t like me. He yelled at me a lot and made fun of me a lot. I was incredibly sad that we were going to be moving in with him. I used to always wish on bright stars when I was little. I started doing it with my grandma, after we watched Pinocchio together. I was sitting in the backseat with my younger sister Carly. She was a baby then. My stepdad had left us in the car and gone into one of his friends’ houses for something. I leaned against the glass and looked up at a bright star. I tried to think of a wish. I felt…a very strong, very hollow sort of emotion. Then I said, “I wish that everything was better.”

The first time I wished I was dead, I was nine. My mom dragged me across the house by my hair and threw me out the front door. She screamed at me to go. I did go. But then she got in the car and came after me. It was raining that day. As I got back in the car with her I wished a bolt of lightning would come down and hit me.

I didn’t know what suicide was.

I learned what suicide was in middle school. We had to watch a video about suicide in health class in 7th grade. My immediate reaction was something like, “Huh…People can just decide to die?…What a good idea.”

That same day I went through the medicine cabinet and pulled together all the pills. I wondered how many I’d have to take to die like the girl in the movie.

And I’ve never stopped wanting to die. Even when I’m “happy.” The version of happy that I’m capable of, anyway. I smile a lot and joke around a lot and people think I’m a happy person. I act that way because it makes people like me. It’s the only reason I do it. I’ve realized over the years that the energetic, making stupid jokes version of me is the one that attracts people the most.

I don’t even feel attached to that version of myself. I feel like I’m operating a marionette.

So look, I guess what I’m saying is I’m not the best example of someone who copes with depression. But I have come up with some strategies.

Okay, actually I only have one strategy:

Keep busy.

Write books, read books, collaborate with people.

Busy busy busy busy busy

I love writing books, because then I always have something to think about and if I’m always thinking about a project, then I spend less time thinking about how I’d like to not exist.

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