Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Ain't No Sunshine

And now, just in time to catch all the readers from the Smith Alumane Quarterly who have logged on to read some wacky, single-girl-in-the-city hilarity the Cupcake Mafia presents a post about depression.

Of course, when I say the sadness has come on, I am speaking euphemistically about experiencing a bout of depression. Rather than being “sad” about one thing, it is as if a brick has taken up residence in my stomach. During an especially busy day, I may be distracted from its presence, but I cannot escape feeling it, sharp, painful and heavy. On a normal day when I see a happy couple making out in the Canal Street Subway station, I might feel like, “Oh, give me a break. Whatever, I’m happy being single.” But when the sadness has moved in, the sight of two people in love makes me feel conversely totally unlovable. For all of the amazing friend and family relationships I have, I have the sense that these will never be enough and that I will die alone, without ever having experienced this kind of love. I am convinced that I am a source of pity for others around me for whom my lonely fate is apparent. This is not the sort of thing one, “cheers up” from.

On a normal day when I return to my apartment and see dirty dishes in the sink, I think, “Oh crap. Gotta do those dishes.” On a depressed day, the dishes in the sink seem insurmountable- a monument to failure and filth in which I believe I deserve to live. If I could just do the dishes, I know I might begin to feel better, but I can’t bring myself to do them. I look around and my apartment seems tiny, crowded, dirty and pathetic. On any other day, I adore my two-room Brooklyn studio and think that it is one of the best things that ever happened to me.

When I am depressed, my reflection repulses me. All of the little quirks and parts in which I normally find self-beauty reveal themselves to be ugly mirages. I am disgusted by my body. I see only red eyes, splotchy skin and giant pores. This view is not just trained upon myself, I see ugliness everywhere. On the subway I fixate on bumpy noses, flat hair, clammy pallors, overbites and acne. Doing yoga twice a week is not going to make this go away.

The sadness is just one part of the depression, it also arrives with anger. All day long I have to srtuggle to keep from throwing a tantrum with the IT Guy, yelling at my co-worker, mowing down pedestrians that are moving too slowly on the sidewalk. The self-restraint that is required to keep my volcano from errupting only adds to my fatigue. In general, I feel that all of my emotions are no longer under my control. But I haven't completely been swallowed up there is still a tiny fraction of my brain that is working rationally and the fact that I know that I am having totally disproportionate emotional responses to everyday things only frustrates me more.

Fortunately, I know that this depression is temporary. As mysteriously as it came on, it will vanish. When I am depressed I like to retreat- not answer my phone, stay home, sleep. But if the depression gets too bad, or if it lasts too long, I know that I have to be proactive to save myself. I ned to reach out to friends or family and tell them how I am feeling and that I need to talk to someone. I may try to do something nice for myself, like get a massage or go shopping. Or, I might take a trip to get out of town and visit friends. And of course eating, my primary form of self-soothing, is all tied up in this as well.

So, that's a little bit about my depression, which is a part of me. When I say I am feeling sad, I do not want to talk to you, but if you persist, I might appreciate your efforts, or I might tell you to go to hell. I don't know which it will be, and that't not fair, but that's how it is. I don't particularly like to be told to "buck up" "cheer up" "smile" or "hang in there", but if I can see through the cloud that you are saying these things to me because you are trying to express that you care about me, that is the greatest gift you can give me and I will be moved by your kindness. What can I say? It's a crap shoot. I am not trying to be clever here, I am trying to be honest.

That's all. We now return to our regularly scheduled trite, sugar-frosted posting.


Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say that I love reading your blog, and read it every day. Lovin' the Cupcake from all the way down here in Texas!
Peace to you.

a girl like me said...

Me too - I do indeed also read your blog daily (and have for some time). It is a source of muchos amusement for me. :)

Joshua said...

Hey Cupcake, buck up! Wait, no, sorry.
But honestly, have you thought about joining a gym or some sort of sports team where minor violence is involved ( street hockey comes to mind.) Either of those things can really help with your mood and are also great releases for any agression that might be building up. Also, you'll feel really good when you get home with your body aches as a reminder that you just did something healthy.
I haven't been to the gym in months, and I want to smack people on the subway daily. The message: go to the gym and feel better.

Also, I am sad the Aussie who commented above this doesn't actually have a blog. 'cause I would have liked to read about things in Australia. Like koalas surfing on crocodiles.

Cupcake said...

Thanks, cupcakes. "a girl like me" had a blog, I swear I looked at it just the other day. She must have taken in offline. Your public awaits, Aussie girl.

Actually, I'm looking into joining the new Crunch (gym) that just took over Park Slope Sports on Flatbush. I'm real excited to join, provided that it doesn't cost eleventy-billion dollars.