And then I read something really good. Something that simultaneously rips my heart to shreds with its honesty, and makes me laugh with its cleverness.
I came late to Hyperbole and a Half, from the point actually where she had stopped posting. I remember exactly when, because Anna needed to have all four of her wisdom teeth removed, and thus, she showed me Parp, and my life changed.
We'd wander around, Anna and me, randomly saying, "Parp?" to each other, and giggling.
This was before she even had her post-surgery meds, but long after I'd started taking Lexapro.
Ooh, yeah. Lexapro. I owe my life to this little tiny pill of almost-normalcy. For a long, long while, I couldn't sleep. I'd be up at night, wishing I could sleep, and when I finally did, my nightmares would wake me in a cold sweat. Days drifted past in a sleepy fog. I stopped showering regularly because I couldn't get out of bed in time to do so before work, and when I came home, the last thing I wanted to do was anything that involved standing up.
And so, I knew about Hyperbole and a Half, and once I'd finished saying "Parp?" all the time, I read the rest of it. It's really good.
Allie, who writes it, suffers from depression. And, as you may guess, so do I. Her expressiveness, both in her art and her words, leave me gasping both in awe and with laughter. Except that she's been suffering quite a bit, and during nearly the same recent length of time I have. And when I reached the last post in her blog, it was like I'd reached myself. My own story (except the part about biking; I don't know how to ride a bike).
Meanwhile, I continued to do things, to go about being as normal as possible.
But I've felt like I've been living two lives. One in which I'm happy and do things I enjoy, like knitting, spinning, going on road trips with my yarn peeps... and another, sinister one in which I barely get out of bed each morning and where standards of personal and home hygiene are irrelevant.
In November, things just went from bad to worse. There's a point where you believe you could not get any worse... and then you do. Little things, busy things, every single thing. So I returned to the doctor and got a bigger prescription for Lexapro, and also one for valium, because my anxiety and panic would choke me during the day, keep me up at night, and some days, I just wished life would go away. Pooft! Just go away and leave me be!
I took some medical leave so I could stop thinking about all the things I had to do, and all the ways I could keep myself from doing them, and whatever else it was that went on inside the darkest folds of the little grey cells. When I went to work, if I found myself overwhelmed, I had permission to leave... and I often did.
Except, you can't always run away, especially when you don't know why you're running, or where you'll end up when you stop.
Which brings me around again to Allie, of Hyperbole and a Half. It's a circle!
I cried and cried while reading her post. As I was at work, I had to go to the bathroom to finish crying. She says everything, everything, everything about my last year or so. About her last year or so. It's my life, and hers, and millions of others, through the lens of a much better writer.
And that's the most frustrating thing about depression. It isn't always something you can fight back against with hope. It isn't even something — it's nothing. And you can't combat nothing. You can't fill it up. You can't cover it. It's just there, pulling the meaning out of everything.I've been in therapy for the past several months, and it's helped me a lot. My last utter and complete meltdown happened in March. And by meltdown, I mean sobbing on the floor at work, barely coherent meltdown, because at various points in the void, you don't care what things may or may not do to your career.
-- Allie Brosh
Things are getting better, slowly and mostly steadily. It's hard to know what will happen day to day.
Later, a post in which the side of myself that did things and went places gets to tell the story. It won't be as good as Allie Brosh, but it'll be a story nonetheless.
(drawings from Hyperbole and a Half, copyright Allie Brosh)