(Another flashback to my younger, more truthful days days. Originally posted at 11:54 PM, July 26… 2007? 2008? The post was originally called “Emo-tastic.” Apparently I mock my own feelings even while confessing them.)
Tonight, I consumed more than a thousand calories of ice cream. This, in effect, negates all the working out I’ve done in the past two weeks. The running, the crunches, those awful tricep exercises…. swallowed.
What’s worse, I didn’t even enjoy myself. Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food. A chocolatey, marshmallow-y disappointment.
I huddled in a corner of the computer lab wearing a stained T-shirt, eating overpriced hyperfatty ice cream. I read a scavenged copy of The New Yorker and a Stephen Fry piece about Wodehouse, alternating articles every few bites, trying to move quietly.
I have been exhibiting signs of depression for more than ten years now. Not the terrifying sort of depression, with suicide attempts or substance abuse. No, mostly a quiet desperation, semi-permanent restlessness and discontent. A crippling fear of the future that makes daily life nerve-wracking. Above all else, a heavy lethargy that seldom lifts. Joy is hard to come by.
I’ve taken counseling for two semesters now, trying to pull myself together. I have avoided medication thus far, opting instead for exercise— found in several studies to be as every bit as effective and much less dangerous than anti-depressants. I am now reminded that ice cream is not an effective medication.
I’m not consistently miserable, of course; sometimes I’m ridiculously optimistic. I sing to myself, daydream, fall in love, work hard and fight my way upstream. A good song can make my week, an old friend can paste me back together.
Most often, though, I wish to be left alone, so I retreat back into my shell for days, weeks, hiding in corners, only emerging to make cameo appearances in my social circle. Attempts to play the social butterfly often leave me feeling still emptier and more misunderstood. In trying to protect my soft underbelly (very soft, softer all the time), I may come off as snarky, arrogant. I don’t feel that way inside.
There was nothing wrong with the Phish Food, only that it failed to change my life. It failed to take the place of love or success. I was asking too much.
I will be fine in the morning. I’ll sleep off this sugar slump, drag my carcass to work for the thousandth time, and get back to exercising. I’ll keep praying, keep trying, and keep fighting upstream, as I have for so many years. It won’t be easy, though, and heaven only knows if it will be worthwhile.
Really…, for as worthless and unchanging as I feel, I’ve made impressive progress in the last decade. If you think I’m weepy, you should have seen me six years ago. I’m practically Guy Smiley now.