Hard Few Days

 

Everybody knows the boat is leaking. Everybody knows the captain lied. 

I’m having a hard time. I’m listening to my lyrical hero: Leonard Cohen. He reminds me of Bourdain. I’m still not over his suicide. It made sense. All smart people are depressed. I’m drinking expensive white wine and diluting it with club soda - because it’s noon and a spritzer doesn’t seem as shameful. 

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I never used to drink, but that was because I lived with an alcoholic. Now that he’s gone, I drink (not usually during the day, but I have been drinking every day for a while now). It always feels like a treat, and that’s how he thought of it too. I am trying to be careful not to have more than 3 a night. Three is still too many. I’m not bored but I am lonely. I am busy and I fill my time so that all day, every day, there is something to get done. I miss the distraction of a partner.  I miss his playlist. I miss the constant presence of a silent partner. I miss being able to blame someone. I miss planning a future. I miss the prospect of children. 

The other day, I overheard someone ask a friend, “ what’s the first thing that comes to your mind when I say: marriage”. Immediately the word confinement came to me. I’ve been thinking about that since. It makes me kind of upset that I didn’t think of ‘love’ or anything remotely typical. I know I am weird and different. I am a loner. I am happy alone. 

There are times when I cry because I am lonely, and because I am conflicted: I want my independence. I don’t want to answer to anyone or compromise my time, my wants or my needs. However, there are times when I just want a friend to stop by and give me a hug, bring me a bottle of wine to share and drink together, mull over the world, and life. 

When I have a shitty day, that’s when I realize I need friends. Many of them are far away and busy. I blame my social media. I over-post and infiltrate all streams. People see my every move, and every meal. They think they know how I am doing and what I am up to. Those posts are begging for attention. I try to keep this in mind when I see friends postings and I try to reach out regularly. I don’t do a good job. 

Today my post garnered the attention of one good friend and one new friend. Afterwards, I made some art. It’s a better way to communicate than instagram. I am writing. I feel a little better. I have also had three glasses of white wine spritzers and it’s 1:30pm. 

It’s my first day off since April. 

Bad Brain Club

It seems I am drawn to friends who struggle with mental health. We "get" each other and know what to say when the other is having a "bad brain day".  

But to all of you who don't understand, here are the things to do and not do: 

1. You can say something like, "It will pass" but that doesn't make it hurt any less, so maybe follow up that statement with "but I know that doesn't make you feel any better now. I'm sorry you're having a hard time. I love you" 

2. Don't expect me to know why I feel depressed/wonky/weird/anxious/like a piece of garbage. So do not ask "Why?" or "What's wrong?". Just say "How are you doing?" and then listen. 

3. Don't ask if there is anything you can do: I probably don't know what I need. Don't ask if I want to eat or have eating anything. Put food in my hands. Just bring over soup or chips and leave them by the door.  I might not want to talk to you, but I'll take delivery. I might take all day to open that door, but when I do, I will feel loved and taken care of.  

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4. Don't say "I'm here for you" and leave it at that. Be persistent. Actually be there. Call. Call again and leave a message when I don't pick up. Leave a note under the door. Text that you're outside and I can decide if I want company or not. 

5. Please be patient. I lash out. I am critical. I am negative. When I'm not feeling good, I pull everything down with me. Notice when I behave like that, and ask me how I'm doing. I'll probably be honest and say "I am depressed". It feels good to acknowledge it out loud. When I feel better later, I'll be thankful you let me stew without making me feel guilty about my poor behaviour. I am sorry for this bad behaviour.

6. Do NOT suggest ways I can make myself feel better. Trust me, people with depression know more than you about what they are "supposed to do" and what is "supposed to work". Assume your suggestions are ignorant and assume we will feel insulted if you offer a solution to our bad brains. 

 

Lately, I have been incredibly depressed. I have been drinking too much. I "faked it" on social media by posting old photos when really I barely ate a thing in the last three days. I drank all day. Last night, I wallowed in a bath for hours with a bottle of wine. I got hammered and blacked out. 

One person caught on. She was persistent. She said the right things. She said "I'm sorry" and "Are you talking to anyone else about this?" and "Have they been helpful?" . She kept the conversation going until I stopped and she didn't push further. She checked in on me the next morning too. 

I woke up this morning feeling like the darkness had lifted, but I was skeptical and tread lightly as if I was going to wake the beast. At lunch, working at the cafe, I got anxious and frustrated, but it was just normal "feels" and not the crushing hopelessness that would have destroyed me the day before. 

I feel ok now. I made a nice dinner (after I ate a bag of chips). I'm having a beer, but that's all I'll have. I'm caring for myself in the ways I can. 

Thank you to the few people who gave me those knowing sideways glances and hugged me extra tight this week. 

Also a side note: I tried yoga. I had baths. I turned down the lights. I turned on my Himalayan salt rock lamp. I slept a lot. I listened to calming music. I drew. I wrote. I used an essential oil diffuser.

Only time heals and only feeling like I'd be missed helps.