I think everyone has a closet. Everyone has a dark, cramped space where they stay put so that they don’t scare anyone as they come out. It’s like, if you jump out too quickly you might give someone a heart attack, or if you come out too slowly people will think there’s something seriously wrong with you. My closet is depression.
For a long time, I’ve used phrases like, “I’m just sad - I’m not depressed,” and then eventually, “I don’t have DEPRESSION, I’m just a bit depressed.” This sort of thing has been a way to make other people, and myself, feel more comfortable with what I’ve been dealing with my entire life. Depression. Anxiety. Anger. Since I was a little kid, I’ve been struggling with these things, and at several points throughout my life, things have become pretty serious. I’m talking’ smash-my-head-against-my-door-because-I’m-mad kinda’ serious (this was when I was in elementary school, mind you, but things progress in weird ways). This anger, this self-loathing and world-loathing and all around unpleasantness is something I’ve been battling day in and day out, and all the while, I’ve been trying to tell myself that it’s circumstantial.
Well, I think I’m at a point now where I can finally walk out of my closet and say that, no, it’s not merely circumstantial. I have depression. I have anxiety. I have anger issues. These are things I battle daily, not just when things go wrong. These are things that just kinda’ hangout in the back of my mind whenever I wake up, whenever I eat or hangout with people, and whenever I’m going to bed. The thing that makes me so frustrated about it is I’m always trying to find the root cause. Why do I feel so mad? Why do I dislike myself so much? Why do I need to constantly remind myself that the world wouldn’t be better if I just ceased to be? These questions don’t really matter to me anymore, because to be honest, they don’t help anything. I mean, maybe it’s because I was picked on as a kid, or maybe it’s a gene that skipped a generation. But even if I figure out the root cause, I’m still sitting there thinking about how the past MADE this happen, and if something MADE me this way, I guess it’s justified right? Wrong.
So how do I get over it? Well, last year I’ll admit that I didn’t. The same sorts of insecurities really got at me, making social events near crippling without a drink or joint in my hand. My e.i. (which comes and goes in waves, but at the beginning of last year wasn’t too bad) flared up with a ferocity that only intensified as time went on. I started to feel more agitated, more reclusive, and the thought of going out to do groceries was extremely scary. Hell, the thought of going out of my ROOM was extremely scary. But after this Summer, and after experiencing some of the things that I have, I think the best coping mechanism is to stop thinking about the past. My boyfriend had this analogy about a boat; he said that the boat’s wake doesn’t propel the boat foreword. Sure, the wake shows where the boat’s been, but every moment, the boat moves away from that wake, and it is in an entirely new place. That boat doesn’t leave an extended version of itself - it simply moves. And that’s something he related to life. We constantly think of ourselves as ongoing beings. Like… the past somehow directly links us to the present, that our past selves are so inseparable from our present selves that they almost dictate what we can and can’t do. But that’s sort of like saying that the wake dictates where the boat can and can’t go, isn’t it? We are no longer there. We are no longer those people. And yes, while we may still have some of the same characteristics as those people, we’re not restricted from doing anything based on their motives and insecurities. I WAS a bulimic for 6 years. I WAS made fun of every day. I WAS struggling with suicidal thoughts for a better part of my life. But I have a choice to keep my boat sitting in a frozen wake, or I could propel it forward.
See, I guess I’m going to slowly start accepting the things that I felt most afraid of. My depression and anxiety and insecurities and anger. I can still feel them lingering around, and so I need to deal with them and mostly likely WILL be dealing with them for a while. But I won’t be sitting here saying that because I’ve had a history with these things, I can never be free of them. Today’s a day to move forward and realize that every wake eventually becomes still water, and the boat keeps on moving.
There, I’m out. Closing this closet door behind me.