Just scared the cat by screaming and she won’t go near me; now my daughter and her boyfriend have walked back in so my tears have dried and I’m preparing to be all ‘Hey, did you have a fun evening, mine was totally fine and normal, I’m totally fine and normal, I didn’t cry until my eyes hurt, I didn’t scream like a demented chimp, I didn’t throw a dish out over the fire escape just so I could break something instead of getting a razor and cutting and slicing into my blubbery, weak, billowing, disgusting flesh to try and cleanse it in pain and blood – as that was the other option – nope, just sat and drank tea like a normal 40-something woman. That’s me.’
I suppose I’m normal for a depressive. I have hideous thoughts about self-enucleation which I’m horrified by and don’t actually want to carry out but I’m so afraid that I might that I have to hit myself around the head several times to try and pound the thought out. I sometimes rock back and forth whilst no one is watching and I know, I KNOW it’s a typical ‘crazy’ thing to do but it kind of feels like I’m giving myself a hug. I list the ways in which I could effectively end my life cleanly and efficiently then talk myself out of them by methodically listing the (depressingly few) individuals who would be upset if I successfully completed them. To make the list seem as long as possible, I include my cat and my aloe vera plant. I try not to list all the individuals whose life has been worsened, lessoned, compromised or just made marginally sadder by having me in their life – that list is long.
I like making lists: I like to list all the ways in which I am a failure, and all the ways in which society would back me up on this so I know it’s not just depressive grandeur. I like to list all the ways I’ve fucked up my daughter’s upbringing so now she too can enjoy an adulthood of dealing with the crazy. That’s a joyful list. I like to list all the ways in which I’ve been crap at relationships. Self-help books often tell you to take responsibility for all the ways in which you’ve created your own shit, and not to blame others for your situation but I really don’t need to be told that part – I am fully aware of my own crapness.
I sometimes try to do the ‘gratitude’ list thing as it’s supposed to make one feel better, and it works, to some extent – I am grateful for having working limbs and eyes and ears and organs, and living in a rich part of the world, and having a roof over my head, and running water (although it’s been cold running water as my boiler has been broken for 7 months but that’s another, separate depressing story). I am grateful to have made it to my current age as many people die before this. I am grateful for the cool backlit mechanical keyboard on which I’m typing, as the finger-strokes feel nice and the rainbow LEDs are soothing. As I write this though, the guilt looms large at not being more grateful – and then the feeling that I even fail at that – and the words my mother uttered last month echo in my head;
“I used to think you were a strong woman, but now I’m not sure any more.”
Because after all this time, Mum, I still end up here. Age didn’t cure it. It wasn’t ‘just a phase’ after all. Sucks, doesn’t it? And yes you’re right. I’m not strong. If I were strong I wouldn’t have to write this. I’d be out there, coping with my life instead of shattering in slow motion.
I suppose I am reacting to life stress. There has been a lot of life stress. That makes me feel worse though, because people deal with far worse shit than the shit I deal with, and they still smile. Actually, I still smile too. To someone having a chat with me on the street, they’d think I was so happy/ sweet/ easygoing/ chatty. Then again, I don’t go outside any more without bracing myself for a few days to be able to cope with it, and even then it’s usually just when I absolutely need to buy loo roll (even then I did actually use old newspaper for a couple of days last week because it would be a couple of days before it was due to get delivered and I couldn’t bring myself to get dressed and go Outside. TMI I know, sorry.)
I keep sitting down and drawing out plans for a better life but they always seem to get scuppered somehow before they can begin; either by self-sabotage, creative block, or simple life shit which makes them impossible. It does sometimes feel like the universe has singled me out for a big ‘FUCK YOU’. Although I say that and then I think ‘well, why are you that important? You’re not. The universe fucks over much nicer people than you in much worse ways. You’re not struggling against immigration laws for instance, or fighting for your life, or living on the street. Stop fucking whining’. So I self-censor my own sadness. It creates a really frustrating duality of thought (doublethink comes easily to this comrade) in which I want to express how angry I am at how shit the last few years have been and yet also want to shut myself up because I have no right to feel this way. I know that feelings and situations aren’t things you’re supposed to compare, but still.
So yeah, back to the better life plans. One was to keep writing for the blog and make it into a lucrative career of some sort, the way my back-in-the-day burgeoning acting career was once supposed to become. But who wants to read whiny drivel about ‘poor me’? And the more entertaining writing just isn’t flowing because the ‘poor me’ takes over – and I either can’t think of anything to write to begin with, or I write it, hate it, then delete it. Either way, it’s not exactly helping my creative self-expression.
Instagram is just soul-crushing with its worship of samey samey, beautiful, rich, youth culture. How can I insert my voice there? There isn’t room. I feel like a busty wench waiting outside the toffs’ drawing room with a hankering for their malt whisky. Off you fuck, darling, this is not for the likes of you. My depression isn’t attractive enough for Tumblr. I’m supposed to pretty-cry and look tragically beautiful whilst suffering – nope, can’t even manage that. Facebook died for me a long time ago because I can’t escape Him on it – unfollowing or blocking doesn’t help because of all our mutual friends. Isolation has therefore been the way forward – but now I’m lonely. My own fault, again.
The other plan was to sell my flat, pay off some debt with the equity that would release, rent a really nice place for a while, and rethink everything, perhaps travel to all the places I wanted to in my 20s but never got to do as I was married with a toddler. I’m not going to go into that story or the sale story here because it really would double the length of this whiny essay (whinessay?), but basically – I made that decision in January and am still trying to get it to completion now, mid -August. The whole time it has been going on, my income has been zero and my debt has been rising. I now make the choice each week between electricity and food. I mean, my fat arse could do with less food to be honest – it wouldn’t really hurt me to starve for a month or so, especially as I have spent a year indoors with no exercise – but anorexia hasn’t been a choice for me since my teens and twenties, as eating is the only joy I have left in my life – seriously – when I can afford to not eat Pot fucking Noodles that is. Travelling is out of the question at the moment, even locally, so caring for my mother, who is not doing too great herself, is virtually impossible. I can’t even indulge in a nice numbing glass of wine as vices like liquor and cigarettes are luxuries that are way out of reach.
I’m not actually sure why I’m planning to post this – my crazy needs company maybe? A need to be heard, and understood? Reaching out before I drown? All of the above, perhaps. Typing this has calmed me down though, if nothing else. The panicky, anxious, internal (and external hence the estranged cat) screaming and wet face due to tears so constant that I wasn’t even making the crying face or noises has now subsided. I feel numb again. It’s preferable at the moment, and might mean I get some sleep. I’m going to try.
If anyone actually read this to the end: I salute you. Thanks for putting up with me. If you feel the same way, that sucks. I fervently hope and wish things will improve for you. If you’re thinking ‘bloody hell, bitch won’t stop whining’ – I agree with you. Nauseating, isn’t it?
Anyway, I’m off to bed.