depression, moods, pain, reflections

on the unpredictable nature of almost everything in my life

Depression is a fickle asshole. As is the case with most everything else that affects me: fibromyalgia, chronic migraines, access to medical care, insomnia, etc. etc. etc., ad infinitum. I wish I could drink, not because I think it wouldn’t cause more problems than it would solve, but because at least for a little while I could check out of life and all of its little disappointments and irritants (as well as my frustration over unemployment and working on a relationship that might not be worth all the effort and not being able to see one of my sons/being rejected by the other and—here, too—etc. etc. etc., ad infinitum).

I feel so restless, uneasy in my own skin, wanting to escape but unable to get out of bed. I’ve spent half of the past couple of days convincing myself law school is the answer, the other half telling (reminding?) myself that not all geographics are, well, geographical. Meanwhile, I canceled a doctor’s appointment because I couldn’t wake myself up in time (3:30pm) to get there, rescheduled my breast ultrasound to tomorrow (I’m terrified, really, of that and the impending biopsy), and bailed on a sober women’s event I’d actually been looking forward to because I’m in so much physical pain that getting to Greenpoint from Harlem might as well be the distance from here to Mars.

As much as I know feelings are both temporary and not facts (save for the pain, a constant if unwelcome daily companion), I am not happy in this headspace. I’ve not yet perfected (or even imperfected) the true essence of “this, too, shall pass.” Some days I get the practice of the Serenity Prayer so perfectly I feel angelic; others, I can’t even understand the difference between things I can and cannot change, much less find the wisdom to sort them and handle each accordingly. And the chronic pain, however begrudgingly accepted, only serves to intensify a lingering suspicion that the problems surrounding me are intractable, that perhaps I’ve done something at some point in another life that means I’m getting my just desserts.

I want to be (and feel) happy and loved and safe and financially secure and purposeful and productive. But wanting isn’t getting, and the universe overlooked me when it was handing out maps to the routes that might just take me from my desires to my satisfactions. If my life were a trope from a Rolling Stones song, I’m getting neither what I want nor what I need. And if it were instead a trope from a U2 song, I’ve not even found what I’m looking for. And I could go on and on from one well-known song lyric to the next, explaining my dissatisfaction with the things I’ve received (or not, as it were) without ever figuring out why—no matter how hard I work or try or plan or have good intentions—I wake up every morning in excruciating pain (always physical, often existential), slightly disappointed both that it isn’t gone and it didn’t just kill me already while I slept.

There are no answers. I’ve stopped looking but that hasn’t stopped me from wanting them. Once I thought it was that there were no easy answers, but it really is that there are none, period. This is the life I’ve been given, and I can improve myself and become healthier and even at times (some more than others) keep the depression at bay, but at the end of the day the only thing that’s changed is my opinion of what’s happening, and I’ve recently realized that the only thing accomplished by this is awareness that things for me aren’t the way they are for other people and they probably never will be. It’s like waiting for a phone call that you’ve been told your entire life will come if only you have the right attitude and work hard enough when, in reality, it’s a lie we tell ourselves to justify the good times and survive the bad ones. The phone never rings; if we’re smart (or cynical or pessimistic, depending on your perspective) enough, we stop listening for it and get on with learning how to make do with what we’ve been given—which has much less to do with what we deserve than we’ve been led to believe.

Nonetheless, I spend many nights (and days) waiting for that phone call, the one that will confirm I have what I’ve been so good at working and waiting for. I can’t decide whether I’m an optimist or a fool; I’d believe either on the flip of a coin while, sitting here, the phone still hasn’t rung, and I don’t trust that it will.

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