I’ve been in a slump for a few weeks – though I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never been an enthusiastic, outgoing person and my life has never been that damn exciting – which has drawn me even tighter into my depressive little shell, reaching one hesitant fingertip out and into the waters of socialization and real life every once in a while, but of course always finding them unbearable. I’ve been drinking. I’ve been over-eating. I’ve been under-interacting (with people and with life). I’ve been spending money I don’t have on stupid things when I shouldn’t, thinking they’ll offer me a single moment of consumeristic joy, but they don’t. I’ve been neglecting the things that make me feel okay about myself and like a human progressing, such as working out and writing. I’ve been doing a whole lot of nothing, seemingly just to make myself feel like an unproductive asshole for not using my free time more to my advantage. I’ve been beating myself up a lot, then continuing to engage with bad habits that I know will lead to results I’ll later beat myself up over. This is what depression does. And it seems like almost all of us have it.
All textbook definitions comprising “feelings of helplessness,” “suicidal thoughts,” “loss of interest in activities you’d previously enjoyed,” etc. aside, depression is often misunderstood in its magnitude and effect, truly. If you’re upset or down one day, especially if it’s over a concrete argument/dynamic/some other event, then I assure you that your assertions of “I’m depressed” are unfounded. Yes, you may feel depressed, but depression is not a fucking mood that you wear for a few hours or something simply caused by an outside factor. It is an all-encompassing, stifling cloud that masks itself simply as the air you breathe and your way of viewing and experiencing the world. It makes you question every single minute of every single day if and why you want to bother living, and makes that question into a very real decision that you have to grapple with moment-to-moment. There is always the out, and your life ain’t worth shit. It’s been hard for me, despite [now long-gone] years of diagnoses and medication and treatment of various kinds, to bear witness to my depression as a separate sickness rather than just my mode of being or my personality. I always did, and still often do, perceive it as just me as a person and how this world has shaped me, not a thing to rid myself of. And that goes for the things it’s inextricably married to, be they anxiety or eating disordered in nature.
So anyways, I’ve recently slid into one of my depressive lows (though really, it’s the “happy” periods that are rarer, so this is just my normal), and haven’t been blogging or writing whatsoever, or seeing friends or even interacting by any other means of communication, or leaving my house other than to go to work. (And for that irritating distraction of a 9-5 I am so incredibly thankful, because without structure, I think I would rot and disintegrate into a heapy hole of misery and nothing.) I also deleted my Facebook months ago, which I guess could be seen as either “oh no, she’s preparing to disappear and kill herself” or “her life sucks and she has nothing to post” or “she’s pretentious and thinks she’s above this social media life” or “who?” Social media just fosters in me this fire of equal parts anxiety and annoyance, and I feel lost and awkward and pissed off trying to use it most of the time. Instagram especially was a toxic outlet for some bad body image and life-shaming shit, so I deleted it for more than a week, but felt too obsolete and off-the-grid without it. Like a dead person. A dead non-person person. If I at least had real-life interactions and a social life to solace me, I think deleting my online presence could have been both helpful and successful, but meh. I’m beyond trying to salvage lost connections at this point or bother with people who can’t be bothered with me, be that good or bad – some people are just hopeless, and the ones who matter will be there when I am able to be present, too.
When I think about the way people scramble to shove as many posts as they can about how awesome their lives are in other people’s faces, I get sad. Sad for myself, for leading such a lame, uninspired life, but also sad for the poster and everyone else who engages in this way, for this culture that compels people to pretend. You’re not fooling anyone with your spates of content: photos of you standing places, so obviously and awkwardly posed that it’s painful to see you guise them as a candid expression of you having a good time; paragraphs of you talking up your recent moves and achievements when you’re not actually as important as you’d like us to think, or doing as much as you yourself would like to believe; your forced group pictures of times that you should just be living instead of trying to feign some party person lifestyle you wish you had. It’s as if people are partaking in things just to turn an experience into a picture or video other people can consume and bear witness to YOUR SUPER COOL LIFE, and it’s so fucking lame. I have no problem tweeting jarringly dark and emo stuff, or not posting anywhere at all, which would *gasp* maybe indicate that things aren’t that fun for me lately. I don’t fear other people judging me or my life as pathetic, for whatever reason. I may be evidently sad and pathetic, but because I can look past your bullshit, I know you are too. And your inability to acknowledge that, and attempts to make things seem otherwise an unnatural 100 per cent of the time, just speaks to your lack of depth and authenticity. I’m so frustrated with everyone’s “highlight reel as real life” mentality of social media, the compulsion to one-up everyone else experientially and fear to seem vulnerable or sub-par. Life isn’t always great, things aren’t always fun, people get bummed, nights out end up lame, sometimes we just aren’t doing anything worth noting. And sometimes we’re just fucking depressed. These things happen, but no one ever wants to admit to the darker side of anything, which I think is the space that is most conducive to actually bonding over the disorienting, disillusioning, dejected experience that is being human.