I’m so happy about spring I could scream, but that would probably scare the neighbors and maybe cause the landlord (who’s cooking gourmet food in his high-class restaurant downstairs) to call the police and no one wants that much excitement on a Friday night.
Or do they?
I’m not the right person to ask.
See, I haven’t been writing because I don’t feel like what I have to say is always worth saying. I doubt whether anyone cares. And I get discouraged – not because of anything logical, mind you, because stats don’t lie and my last post was Barely Rebellious’s 25th and things were awesome.
Brain chemistry is super weird, but I’m so thankful to live in a time in which we have begun to understand it.
Because, honestly, I’ve always doubted how long I’d have “made it” in the old days. I’m not noticeably unstable or anything. I mean, people on the street don’t stare at me, point, laugh, and speak in hushed tones, but my head doesn’t work in the way that people normally deem “normal.” And no, I”m not trying to speak in support of the idea of any sort of “normal,” but the truth of the matter is that there exists a scale of normalcy and many people fall in a green zone, some are on the outskirts, and some are totally out there reds.
Anyway, I’ve been down again lately. And it’s annoying because, realistically – logically, even – my life is totally on track and stable and downright good. I have a nice apartment, a cute cat, and the best husband. I have a car that gets me everywhere I want to go, food in the fridge, money to buy more food, a washer and dryer, clothes to wear, and fuzzy blankets for days.
But my favorite movie is The Little Mermaid and, like Ariel – who I’ve recently learned I don’t feel as much like when I swim with my pixie! – I feel a longing for more.
Well, maybe not “more,” exactly.
“Look at this stuff: isn’t it neat? Wouldn’t you think my collection’s complete? Wouldn’t you think I’m the girl – the girl who has everything?”
I have everything I want, but my head prevents me from being as happy, positive, thankful, and good as I wish to be. I’ve written about my issues and a hero who wrestled with depression before. I have difficulty writing through my own, which is actually sort of hilarious because it’s how I discovered I have a knack for writing in the first place.
Anyway, depression is seriously draining – it wants you to stay in bed all the time, find “joy” in fuzzy blankets, not tell anyone how you’re actually feeling, and it mocks your moments of happiness and pure joy. It robs the fun, wild, awesome, and beautiful things of their spunk, spontaneity, sweetness, and grandeur because it wants to be the center of your universe. It inflates all little failures into monumental failures and downplays every success. It keeps you up at night with questions about, “Hey, rememeber that time you completely screwed up everything by spilling some water on the floor you just cleaned?” It makes you mad at the people you love because they’re happy and you’re not. It makes you mad when people ask what’s wrong- because you don’t know.
And depression does all this not because it thinks it’s awesome. Not because it thinks it has any right to be there. Just because it exists.
It’s a fucking dementor and it doesn’t want you to learn the patronus charm – or eat chocolate.
Conquering depression isn’t a one-time deal. It’s a constant struggle. Even the greatest witch can’t always conjure her patronus – and learning to summon one in the first place takes a helluva lot of work and time in the Room of Requirement – or just hanging out with Lupin.
If you’re following this Harry Potter logic, here’s another thing. When Harry and his friends learned the charm, they weren’t alone. And honestly, that’s the key to it.
Depression, like a dementor, is strongest when you are weak and alone.
And here’s the thing.
I live in this lovely place and have a lovely life, but I’m alone. I’m far enough from people I know that it’s silly and economically irresponsible to drive to see them more than once a week. And I have no idea how to make friends as an adult. There are websites dedicated entirely to dating, but none for friendship. It aches. In addition to being alone, it’s been cloudy here literally 156 days since my birthday on October 1. No, seriously. Even if you take out the two weeks we were on vacation – when California got a crapload of rain, by the way – that’s still only 15 days of sunshine where we live since October. Seasonal affected disorder is alive and well, my friends.
Last week, we got a burst of warmth and sun and it was glorious. I’ve been refusing to wear a coat ever since (even though it’s definitely chilly enough to put on my wool pea coat).
I’m trying to embrace new things, to try stuff, and to take things one breath at a time. Instead of wanting more, I’m trying to be happy in the moment. Well, maybe not happy, but accepting of the moment at hand. I’m trying not to pressure myself too much. I’m trying to be better in so many ways and it’s hard to write without sharing those things and feeling soapboxy or like I’m over-sharing, so I’ll add trying to not be obnoxious to my list.
- Get over gym fear and work out consistently.
- Eat better and smarter.
- (re-)lose at least 30 pounds.
- Live in the moment.
- Visit loved ones.
- Get more friends.
- Walk in the sunshine once a day when it gets here (and remember to buy Vitamin D supplements for next winter!)
- Be spontaneous.
- Cook well.
- Plan meals.
- Travel – even to places that are close.
- Budget better.
- Write often.
- Call people.
- Wear what feels good.
- Create things – I bought a new sketchbook and drawing pencils last week.
- Learn things – I’m working with Mango Languages to learn Turkish and checked out Sugar Comes from Arabic so I can make a more informed decision about which I’d like to learn first.
- Foster thankfulness.
- Be more understanding.
- Put Buffalo Trace Bourbon Cream in coffee more often. Okay, so this isn’t actually a goal, but doing this did make drinking a K-Cup variety I don’t like taste a lot better and it paired really well with the blueberry-pear pie I spontaneously made last night.
But really, spring is here.
And it’s a time for new opportunities, taking back my house from the mess I’ve let pile up again, watching birds through the window, and independence.
I won’t lie: spring is a little intimidating with its whole “I’m so beautiful and everything I make bloom will make your nose run and your eyes itch” schtick, but I’m going to do my best.
The hardest part of the patronus spell? You have to believe it’ll work.
If you have any tips or tricks on how to make friends as an “adult,” let me know.
Thanks for sticking with Barely Rebellious during my slump. I’ll do better.
P.S.: Thanks, Dad, for nagging me. ❤