Today is one of those days.
I woke up in a sort of haze this morning. It was still fairly dark and kind of foggy outside. I have not had to get up this early in 4 days because I didn’t have work, so going from sleeping at 5am to waking up at 5am was probably not so great for me. But insomnia is a normal part of me when I’m in an episode.
I had been waiting for this aspect of my depression to manifest for weeks now. Usually, in an episode, I’ll first experience some kind of overwhelming sleepiness and fatigue that doesn’t go away no matter how much or little I sleep. All I want to do is stay in bed and not move. Showering becomes overrated, and I only shower because it’s probably not great for me to get close to patients and reek of BO and stale sweat. Even then, I push it to as late as I can, usually 11:30 at night.
With the fatigue comes the inevitable thoughts. Since my body can’t move, my mind moves for it. Once they start, it’s so hard to stop. It starts a mental cycle of self-loathing and sadness that consumes all of my thoughts.
As the thoughts make their way to the forefront of my mind, I begin to suffer from insomnia because, really, how do you fall asleep when the voices in your head are telling you what a shitty, insignificant, miserable little thing you are. It’s sad because this isn’t even from other people; this is my own mind telling me this. You can run away from others or shut them down, but how do you shut down your own head?
After enough self-destroying, I lose my motivation. During a “typical” episode, I can usually keep a smile slapped on my face or adopt a cheery attitude that dampens the sadness. It’s there, but just out of sight enough for me to keep smiling. Sometimes, I even forget about it until I’m alone, during which time the facade falls apart. You know in movies or shows when someone is smiling, but then their smile fades as they turn away? I always thought that was so corny until I realized how often I did that.
But after prolonged self-bashing, things are different. I become physically incapable of smiling. Instead, my face turns dark and stormy. I already have pretty bad RBF, but when I can’t spontaneously make a smile when someone looks at me, people start wondering what’s wrong with me, if I don’t like them, or maybe I’m just really rude. When someone talks to me, my replies are short and curt, not because I’m angry (at them, anyway) but because I know that if I open my mouth, there’s a good chance I’ll start crying out screaming.
The worst part of it all is that I’m fully aware. What does that mean? Of course I’m aware, I’m a very with-it person.
What I mean is that while my body has gone under the control of my own toxic thoughts, another part of me is screaming at… well, me. This screaming voice is saying, “What are you doing? Why are you being like this? Everyone is going to think something is wrong. You have to snap out of it! Come on, you know it’s just your depression, for God’s sake, don’t let it win! Stop being so weak! Everyone’s staring at you! You’ve officially become a freak show, good job. You’re so fucking disappointing, you know that? God, you’re worthless.”
Well. That escalated quickly.
The point is that I’m constantly trying to snap myself out of it, but I can just no longer smile. I can’t be happy or friendly. That person is trapped deep into the corner of my mind. All the while, my mind is also going crazy trying to logic myself out of it.
Today is one of those days. My smiles, if I have any, are strained into a small grimace. I know that people are looking when they think I’m not. I can’t fake any joy or happiness. I look angry and upset and I hate it.
Why can’t I just smile? Why can’t I just say something nice? It’s not that hard to smile, right? I don’t want people to think badly of me. I know I’m not a rude person. This is never
But it is. It’s hard to smile when I’m in this state. It becomes almost impossible.
I’m aware that this is something I need to work on. I have been, I swear. The only thing I can do is remind myself over and over to smile, to push down those terrible thoughts that keep me from being able to separate the internal from the external.
All I ask is that you know and don’t take it personally. That while I’m snapping at you, I’m hating myself for not being able to control myself. That while I’m quiet and sullen in the corner, I want more than anything to be enjoying the situation like you are. That while I look at you with fire in my eyes, I do really love you and want to be around you and God, do I wish I could be normal and part of the group and with you. I wish I didn’t snap at you, that I could greet you with an easy smile. The fire in my eyes isn’t directed at you, it’s meant for me.
I wish I were different.
But I’m not. This is who I am. Always broken, always misunderstood, too depressed and withdrawn to even apologize because I hate myself so much.
This is who I am. And I’m sorry if you catch me on one of those days.