This was written in the midst of a particularly dark depressive episode recently. It’s not the prettiest scenery, but it’s certainly honest.
This last couple of weeks has been rife with triggers.
I hate that word. It’s been overused and made into a joke by teenagers. (I know, because I’ve had to tell my own teens off for using it inappropriately, and I know they think I’m just being a boring, pedantic adult, but it bothers me that it’s been taken and weaponized by people who do not understand what it means to truly be triggered.)
I have depression and anxiety. I understand what it means to be triggered. I’m relatively aware of where most of my triggers exist, and I avoid them to the best of my abilities whenever possible. (Not possible. Life is chaos. You learn to cope.)
I do the best I can and manage most things in my life with some semblance of balance and order, despite the fact that my brain tries to sabotage me on a daily basis.
And it does. I am walking and talking and breathing and speaking like a stable human being. I can smile and nod with the best of them. Internally I am also screaming and crying and irrationally afraid with a racing heart and churning stomach and weight on my chest that makes it difficult to breathe (and a body that shuts down with migraines sometimes when it’s overwhelmed).
All at the same time. I am all things at all times.
I am rage and fear and loneliness and helplessness and despair and jealousy and humiliation and rejection and pain and pain and pain (and more pain). I am joy and love and light and peace and comfort and the kind of laughter that makes you hurt.
All things. At all times.
It’s like living with electricity buzzing under my skin. My mind is constantly moving, absorbing, processing, categorizing, and wishing desperately for rest. Death will be peaceful. Merely a fact.
I see the appeal of peace. But I don’t want to precipitate it. I’ve fought too damn hard for too long. Still breathing. Still walking. Still on this side of the lawn. I’m not done yet. Not even close.
I know people who have left. This life can be too much. I understand.
No. I mean I UNDERSTAND.
It is too much sometimes. So much that it becomes difficult to breathe past the hard knot in my throat, wanting to scream but unable to muster the effort because it’s an exercise in futility. Looking at the world burning down and helpless to stop it. Absorbing all the pain roiling through our atmosphere. Hurting to the core. Wishing for numbness but fearing it at the same time.
The too much can become crystalized in a moment. A friend will divulge a secret and the bomb goes off internally. Nothing happens immediately. Just a mental pause. Filing of information. Measured response. Compartmentalizing like a pro.
Then that information seeks out more files, in the recesses of my mind. Files I try to keep shut for reasons of sanity and stability. But there they are, being opened. Because that’s how minds work. They keep information around similar information to make it easier to access later. Makes sense.
Unfortunately this specific information is one big swirling vortex of tar and oil and dirt and grime and several hundred tape loops that like to go over and over and over again in my mind until I struggle to hear anything else.
Probably I could have coped with that. I’ve been coping with it for a while now, and I’ve gotten much better at handling it.
But then there was another one. A trigger.
And it tied into that first one in a really fun and sneaky way. Which added to the quantity of tape loops already playing. Until it became a cascade. The smallest things now are the biggest things. I am angry at all of the things. Across the boards.
Another trigger. The ground slips out from underneath me. I have successfully been pulled into a depressive black hole. Awesome.
So now I have to pull myself out of it.
My reserves are depleted. Living in this country is enough to send anyone into a depressive vortex.
And to deny the news is irresponsible. Even if it’s making me scream inside every time I read it. BECAUSE it’s making me scream inside. That outrage and pain and furious cries of “Are you fucking kidding me?” need to be heard globally because none of this is okay. And people who are pretending it is are the ones who truly scare me.
Even my therapist doesn’t seem to think I’m overreacting when I talk about how humanity is stepping on their own air hose and how we’re all doomed. So much for my old, garden-variety anxiety. All the stuff of my childhood nightmares has become the reality of our present day. So does this mean my anxiety is rational? This is not reassuring.
But really, I can do this.
I might need a lifeline. Or something.
I have good things. I need to think about the good things. Because they are really, really good.
I have love. And I have people. And I have air. And water. And a roof over my head. When I am hungry there is food to eat. When I’m alone there are still cats to pet.
My children are good people. They’re kind humans.
In this moment the sun is shining. The music is loud. But it is music of my choosing, which is rare enough in this house of teenagers.
And the small things that are big things will go back to being small things. My sense of perspective will return. I will find my way.
I will allow this pain to wash over me. I will allow the memories and words to run off me and back into the dirt. I will allow myself to feel this right now.
I will keep breathing.
And maybe I will dance to the music.
And maybe I will sing along.