Here’s something I wrote last week….
Lately, I’ve been too depressed to write. I can’t get motivated to write my book. I can’t get motivated to write any new articles. Mostly, I can’t get motivated.
Sometimes, I wonder what life would be like if I wasn’t depressed. But I can’t remember if there was ever such a time. I do remember a time when I jumped out of bed. I guess that was before fibromyalgia made jumping out of bed, forget sleeping, damn near impossible.
On the really bad days, I wonder what’s the point? What’s the point of writing my little blogs? My little articles? My long, long, long memoir which never seems to end? What’s the point of fighting this depression? What’s the point of fighting reality? Reality being…how fibromyalgia has irreparably changed my life and how depression continues to weigh on my rickety, pained shoulders.
The other day I was hanging out with a new friend having a nice chat. And then pain ripped through me. It went from a level 1 pain (dull ache) to a level 10 (SCREAMING PAIN) in under 10 seconds. It felt as if my left eye had been stabbed and pulled out of the socket. The pain on my left side was crippling, raw, inflamed. I told my friend I had to stop talking, I had to go home immediately. In an instant, I couldn’t function anymore. And even though she was kind about it, all I could think was…how embarrassing, how embarrassing to be so sick and weak.
On the good days, it is so easy to remember what it was like before I was sick. Sometimes, I think of my life as before conversion and after conversion. Some days, I think of my life as before fibromyalgia and after fibromyalgia. I remember when I could eat at any restaurant on the block. (Okay, I couldn’t because my irritable bowel syndrome made it impossible but you know how we can reimagine the past.) I remember when my body didn’t hurt and when my body felt weightless, “light as a feather,” not heavy, leaden, stiff.
Someone told me I need to get a Patronus. I asked, “a what?” You know, like in Harry Potter when the Dementors, those predators of souls, were attacking, Harry would yell “Expecto Patronum” and suddenly a Patronus, a protector, a weapon against despair, would appear. A Patrnonus would conjure up the innermost positive feelings, such as joy, hope, or the desire to survive.
I know, you’re wondering if I smacked this person. I’m drowning in a pit of doom and gloom and they’re talking to me about Harry Potter. But I’ve always liked Harry Potter. He had a sad childhood (check) that was all about overcoming adversity (check) and he had to fight overwhelming odds (check) when anyone else would have said “give up!” But Harry was always so brave.
When people call me brave, I shake my head and tell them I wasn’t brave. I was never trying to be brave. I saw no other options. Run away from home. Kidnap sister. Fight for custody. Fight fibromyalgia. Fight depression. Fight pain.
Okay, I saw another option. Walk out. Walk away. Let go. Die. But for some reason, my feet wouldn’t cooperate. And yet, I have sat down in front of my pain medication and thought, hell, why don’t I just drink it all and call it “The End.” But no, I’ve lived long enough now to know people who have lost their friends and family to suicide. I can’t forget their faces, their pain, their guilt. I’d never kill myself but I can’t say I haven’t thought “Please G-d put me out of my misery.”
How can I be brave and have these thoughts? How? My sisters and I thought life would get easier and in some ways it has…while in other ways, it has just gotten unforgivably hard. In some ways, we have never escaped our mother. She is always there in our heads, snuffing the life out of us just when we need it most. I know those are the moments I need to ask myself “What would Harry do?” (Smile. Grimace. Smile.) But I don’t.
There are some wounds that don’t heal. They stay open and pus. They start to heal and then the scar tissue is ripped back and there’s blood. Lots and lots of blood. I walk around and I stare at people and I wonder if any of them feels the same way. If any of them are 28 and thinking, it’s time for retirement because they’re just so exhausted by life, a life that has been, well, exhausting.
Don’t tell me that it could have been worst. I am so over that statement. The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve learned that it could have been much better. So seriously, what was G-d thinking? I didn’t want to be inspiring. I would have settled for just being…boring. Really, really boring. The kind of boring that opens its mouth and instantly makes you cover your mouth from yawning right before it makes your eyes roll back into your head and knocks you unconscious. So boring it makes you cross-eyed.
This week, someone forced me to go reread my fan mail. Every time I get a nice letter, I’ve printed it up and saved it. I’ve never looked them over. But someone is making me. She said, go read all those letters that people take the time to write, the letters that say “thank you for telling your story” and “thank you for being so brave” and “thank you for putting what was in my heart into words.”
And what kind of cheeky humor does G-d have that every time I get REALLY, REALLY depressed, I get another one of these letters from Australia or Africa or some place I’ve only ever dreamed of and never actually seen?!
My grandmother says (we are now talking despite that time that she testified in court against me in my mother’s favor) that in our family you just keep picking yourself back up again no matter what obstacles get in your way. Great, so this stuff is genetic? And I thought the flat feet I inherited were damn annoying.