This post from Allie Brosh about her crushing depression made me laugh so much, I questioned my future in writing because people like Allie Brosh are writing in the same damn pond.
‘If you’re not going to write like that,’ I told myself, “You might as well get a degree in Economics and then you can die with more useless knowledge than you ever had before.’
Turns out threatening myself with future degrees I’m not going to get (not like cool degrees, but stuff that involves math that also involves letters) is only somewhat motivating. Instead, I decided to re-enroll in Life 101.
I didn’t laugh at her post because it was funny, exactly – though it was, in the most perfect way – but because it was painfully, realistically, horribly true. Every single word, she nailed it. And the pictures, oh god, the pictures. I almost died from sadness-related laughter.
With seven months of sitting around, twiddling one thumb, I’ve been lucky to have encountered only a very mild depression, right after the holidays — which, frankly, I would’ve encountered anyway. That’s our birthright in the Pacific Northwest: A lingering depression in medium tones that lifts around mid-June, a full six weeks before summer actually starts.
A few times I burst into tears and went temporarily insane, but that was eventually filed under
Premenstrual Tomfoolery Idiotic Crosses To Bear. However, since I’ve been taking more supplements for my arm, and other strange things from what my doctor calls “the vitamin family,” it’s been almost difficult to get sad — which is actually sort of funny.
One time, I felt like maybe I was sad, but then realized I was beaming at my decorative straw collection (it’s like decorative straw Valhalla up in here) and humming ‘Bad Girls’ by M.I.A., which is on my Confident Bitches playlist. Another time, I watched a sad movie called Iron Man 3, but I didn’t cry once, not when he was a shitty boyfriend or had all those panic attacks or made terrible decisions. Okay, one tear was shed when all the Iron Men died at the end; I could feel their metallic indignation.
There was one instance, though, when I woke up feeling low. My brain felt like it was folding in on itself. Every mean thing I’d ever thought about myself came at me like bullets made of razorblades. I had ALL THE FEELINGS and NONE OF THE FEELINGS. I couldn’t function like a normal person, and felt depleted of human qualities. Alternating between bouts of hard crying and despondent staring, I realized I’d finally been swallowed by the Nothing from Neverending Story. This made me wonder if I was having a psychotic break and, if three days earlier, we’d really had a lovely dinner where I felt and acted like a person.
No, not a psychotic break; yes, a lovely dinner. But I hadn’t noticed that for the past three weeks, I’d been s-l-o-w-l-y going downhill. Neither did the fiancé; understandably, he just thought we were in Idiotic Crosses To Bear territory. Turns out I’d completely blanked on taking my Vitamin D for a few weeks and that was the result. Now I don’t miss a day.
I’ve definitely been through worse in times of life that I didn’t think I’d live through. I’ve dealt with depression and suicide and doctors and hospitals and all the fun shit that so many people go through for whatever dark reasons. But this time, the So Bored I Could Die Tour of 2012–2013 kept me above some Very Sad Waters. I also forced myself, from the beginning, to be Pollyanna positive, which is a reference to the most annoying girl in the history of film.
Pollyanna’s weapon of choice: BEING POSITIVE.
Pollyanna’s idea of fun: THE GLAD GAME.
Pollyanna’s inevitable comeuppance: THE USE OF HER LEGS. I know, so harsh.
But that’s how the town of Harrington eventually learns to be positive (they didn’t learn it from, say, the town church, their own parents, school, books, being adults, or an ingrained human sense of how to not be negative), and her bitchy aunt gets a husband so, you know, yayyyy. Totally worth a child’s legs.
I was determined to be that annoying fucking girl this year, no matter what the cost. And it’s worked, for the most part, except for the times when it doesn’t. That’s just how life goes: nothing is forever. Sometimes I stay positive and upbeat just to piss people off, which is a different and new kind of rewarding.
“How are you smiling, or happy at all? If it was me, I’d fall into a pit of despair and probably die,” asked my asshole friends. Answer: Anytime I threw myself a mild pity party, I’d get a perspective check within minutes. Ambulances whizzing by, a friend having cancer, the people in our apartment building, killer tornadoes, China.
In the end, I didn’t have much to complain about. A broken arm, while annoying and time-consuming (and painful and lame), is just that: Something broken that can be fixed. No pioneer surgery necessary, just good old Western medicine coupled with legal pain pills and a seven-month vacation. Today I find out if I can go back to work, hold something bigger than a hedgehog, and get my life back.
Allie’s post was another perspective check: No matter what my arm outcome is, for once I’m not the one in the middle of a life-altering depression. Not today, anyway.