There’s a particularly raucous party going down in that loft of a brain of mine. It’s a party made up of two different cliques: One group is positive, has good vibes and just dusts negativity off their shoulder. The other group are filled with angst, anger and general dismay toward life. I am obviously in attendance and I’m finding myself possessed by a party spirit quite alien to me: I don’t know which group I belong too. I’m inclined to lean towards the slightly melancholier crowd, as they are who I am more familiar with. But lately I’ve grown tired of sitting in the dank, dark and damp company of these miserable thoughts. I am tired of being negative and angry and hating myself because of the energy of those around me.
One of my favourite lyrics (taken from Zero by The Smashing Pumpkins) goes: ‘Intoxicated with madness, I’m in love with my sadness.’ This lyric pretty much reiterates everything I feel about living with depression. Lately I’ve found myself not being happy because I don’t want to be happy. It’s such a foreign sensation to me that I find myself quivering like a small child in the dark, glaring endlessly into the unseen and unknown. I’m not use to feeling happy; I feed off my misery, it’s my fuel. I allow regret to wash over me. My self-perception is coated with pity because it’s easier to hate myself than to take the risk and be confident. If I shoot myself down, then others won’t get the chance.
Being happy is something we all strive for; the elusive goal that everyone tries to score. But what if I’ve grown so accustomed to this perpetual sadness I’ve dragged around with me for years that I don’t want to let it go? Depression is like a big fur coat; it’s made of dead things but it keeps me warm. It’s a comfort because it’s habit – it could be the only constant in my life. Allowing myself to be happy means allowing myself to be vulnerable; and since I can’t handle disasters, drama or when things reach boiling point, I feel it’s easier to just keep myself low and spare myself the disappointment.
This vintage misery I wear has become a personality trait of sorts; being beautiful and sad seems to be an image attached to most ‘arty’ types I guess. People expect it and I feel that if I were to be happier and less depressed then maybe I’d lose an aspect of myself that others find enticing? I used to think that guys liked it when someone was cheerful, smiled a lot, were adaptable or upbeat. When in fact, pouting and sulking in silence forces them to wonder what you’re thinking about – particularly after sex. If I were to (somehow) surrender the part that part of me, somehow get rid of my depression and anxiety and function like a normal person, then would I be amputating part of myself that makes me who I am?
I always find myself getting jealous of other peoples’ characteristics. I’m envious of the ease with which they pursue their dreams, careers or goals. I try and adapt their traits; I try to stop apologising or bending over backwards for people all the time, but I am compelled to seek the approval of others around me, despite how miserable it makes me. I wish I was free of these people-pleasing instincts. Lately I’ve became friends with a guy who in a relationship and we click. Clicked in a way that in the movies or a TV show would suggest a dramatic affair storyline was about to unfold. However, this is reality and as such no tales of sordid behind-the-boyfriends-back romance are going to play out. We simply get on really, really well. This wouldn’t be much of a concern if it wasn’t for his current relationship drama and his boyfriend’s blatant disdain toward me, as well as his dubious nature about why I spend so much time with my friend. This current scenario is laced with drama. Now a normal person, one that chooses his or her happiness, would walk away or simply not care what the boyfriend thinks. I am not afforded such luxurious thoughts or attitudes. It’s toxic to be around yet here I am desperately seeking him and his boyfriend’s approval – like me please – even though it is making my even more depressed, anxious and miserable. But that’s all I know so I roll with it (when really I should be walking away.)
This behaviour spills out across my entire life. I get nervous about confronting people, even though not confronting them it will cause me more hassle. I stop myself applying for jobs because my misery makes me feel not good enough, even though the job I am currently in is slowly gnawing away at me and feeding little chunks of my happiness to my depression. This week I published my first book and everyone around me is saying how massive an achievement it is, but all I feel is disappointed with myself. Why? Who knows. My thought pattern doesn’t exactly follow a logical path when coming with up with reasons for making me feel the way I do. I guess I’m down about it because I feel it’s a shit book – when I know if I read it if it was written by somebody else, in its current form, I’d have nothing bad to say about it – other than perhaps the author tends to overshare…
It has been suggested that I try CBT to try and alter my thought pattern and how I view/handle situations. I’m medicated up to my eyeballs to keep suicidal thoughts at bay, but those pills aren’t helping me evolve as a person. They’ve just sort of kept me standing in the one place. I know things are getting bad again as I’ve started getting paranoid about my weight and cutting my food intake way down. The other day during lunch break I went with my friend to get takeaway and the whole time I was in that shop I was dying to get something to eat, but I couldn’t bring myself do it because eating that would make me happy, make me feel better, and I don’t deserve to feel better? Or I don’t want to feel good? I am unsure which one. I try desperately to attribute this want to be miserable to some past crime I am punishing myself for; just so I have a way to justify why I feel the way I feel. When I should just say fuck it and be happy. I can’t drink alcohol; I can’t have that pizza or a fatty food for lunch. I can’t that lie in as I need to get up and exercise– otherwise the world will end or something.
Perhaps this weekend I will celebrate the launch of my book. Perhaps on Sunday I will get takeout. Perhaps I’ll allow myself a slight ego-boost. Perhaps I’ll just say ‘fuck it’ and not get stressed at work or let people talk down to me. Perhaps I’ll stop caring and just suit myself. Or perhaps I’ll allow myself to be miserable, because being sad seems less of a fight than being happy? Perhaps I am scared of being happy.
*You can purchase my book You Can Leak These When I’m Famous below: