Ah depressive angry insomnia, hello. It’s been a long time. You’re unwelcome, but since you’re here…I’d like to take this midnight opportunity to rant, if I may.
In the past couple of weeks I’ve NOT punched at least three people delivering the same flippant message under various guises: the perky cheerleader type, the concerned counselor type, the self-help blunt type. Do you know I’ve gotten to the point in these episodes that I don’t bother explaining why that’s not helpful? I actually just nod or say ok and change the subject, because I suppose I presume it’s both a discomfort and a lack of experiential reference on their part.
Have you ever gone swimming in the deep end of the pool? Out in the middle of a lake? A couple miles off shore in the ocean? Ever find yourself suddenly exhausted and floundering, over your head?
Imagine that sensation in the pit of your stomach, your arms aching, legs so tired you can barely keep your chin out of the water, head tipped back to get as much air as possible in case a wave shoots water up your nose.
Now, imagine doing that in the dark.
In the sea.
In a raging storm.
The wind is blowing water into your eyes, howling around you. Waves tower over you, and you can’t get your bearings between the crushing rounds shoving your head under. You’ve swallowed so much icy saltwater you gag every time the water smashes your face, and you feel nauseated even as you try to keep your head tilted to the sky for as much air as you can gulp between hits. You have NO IDEA which direction shore might be, and you’re too tired to actually swim there anyway. Something huge just bumped into your legs under the surface. Is it flotsam in the storm, or a shark? Do you try to swim in some direction and hope you find anything to hold onto, or do you tread water and wait for the storm to pass? Or do you let yourself sink into the seductively quiet underside of the waves and whatever’s circling beneath?
Now, imagine someone floats by on a raft and says “come on dude, just change your attitude and you’ll be fine” or “you just have to put energy in” or “can’t you just feel better?”…
Yeah. I want to punch them.
I mean, obviously I want to be this way, right? I already KNOW it’s inconvenient and worrisome to those who love me, unfun in pretty much every way for however long it lasts, and uncomfortable for those who don’t know what to say. Of course I choose to do this on occasion. It must be for the attention…you know, the same attention I refuse to accept and generally push away to protect those I really don’t want to infect with a pirate’s Black Spot of being a troublesome burden.
The truth is, it’s a cycle I have to just ride out, and the severity isn’t usually so bad (a good night’s sleep and I’m often fine). Exhaustion and stress make it exponentially worse, and when it’s really awful it’s very similar to the panic of being too far from shore and too tired to swim back in (uh, yes, that happened to me once, and let me tell you the panic that hits when you suddenly realize the clear water is actually about 60 feet deep and there are fucking SHARKS in the ocean is goddamned terrifying).
Annoyingly (mostly for those who love me), my own hang-ups prevent my acceptance of a lot of help (which I absolutely recognize is a douchey thing of me to do to people, but there you go).
Hell, the single thing I really need when at the lowest, the most terrible and dark drowning stage, is the one thing I can’t and won’t accept from anyone because holy shit that’s a level of vulnerable I now avoid like the plague. Yes, I’m my own catch-22.
Recognizing it isn’t the same as just changing my fucking mind about being IN it. Sometimes, the storm just has to be endured. If you’re lucky, someone offers to be a sandbar or driftwood or even a rock: a place to rest for a little while.
If not, you tread water and hope the thing in there with you is a whale, not a shark.