Elizabeth “Eth” Hyman
21 feels like a good age to pretend you have your life figured out. Pretending is something we all know how to do, right? Fake it till you make it! I think I’m close to “making it,” but in the past couple days, I have felt the unholy scratchings of perceived depression, a feeling I haven’t known since high school, which would be coming up on three years ago.
I think it’s human nature to wanna just be done with something. In my mind, especially now being the busybody that I am, I don’t have the TIME to be depressed. I’m over it. When I’m busy, I’m in the best mood of my life. Truly. When I have nothing to do, I feel like hot garbage. If I’m busy and stressed out, at least I know it’s in the pursuit of something, which gives me kind of a “runner’s high”, and I feel like I can do anything, which I damn well can! HOWEVER, when I’m stressed out and not busy, I feel like a failure, and I am PAINSTAKINGLY hard on myself, even though I deny it to my soon-to-be-wife. She’ll say, “You’re so hard on yourself, you can let yourself relax,” and I’ll say, “No I’m not, don’t say that!”, but of course, I am, and I tell her she was right, ‘cause she is.
Sometimes I wonder if, when I was diagnosed with depression, they just caught me on an off-day and I was just making myself feel shitty, but then isn’t that what depression is? Self-born, mysterious melancholia? This begs the question: What the hell is so chronic about it? When I’m great I’m great, but when I’m down, I’m down! Most people would just call that life. You can grow out of things, you know! So maybe I never had a depression problem and all along it was an expectation problem. If there’s one thing in my life that makes me feel like a fish out of water, it’s expectation. How I LOATHE expectation. I EXPECT every friend I’ve got to be as warm and fuzzy as me; I EXPECT my soon-to be wife to always wanna cuddle; I EXPECT myself to have really, really, good luck, and, all the while, when these expectations drop off and I’m in a social setting and I can’t collect enough energy to remedy the failed expectation (whatever that would look like), then I find myself in the melancholia, and I think “Why am I the way that I am?” My frustration ensues, and then self-criticism, and then from there I’m trapped in the sandbar till the next morning… Is this too much for a newspaper? Whether I still have depression or not (I don’t think I do because I allow myself to grow, and I don’t believe you can do that if you let a diagnosis run your life, something my Dad taught me), whatever that means or doesn’t mean, I’m doing great. My life is fabulous, even with all my burnouts and anxiety, my life is filled with as much possibility as I can fill it with, and that’s how I know I don’t have depression anymore, because I know how to fight on through any (and I do mean ANY) thing that comes my way.
I treat every day as a new one because it is. If you’d like an example, here’s one.
I sang karaoke last night at a coffee bar and did what I thought was pretty “OK,” and the crowd ate it up, but I wasn’t fully satisfied. I found myself feeling the same “sandbar” feeling after my performance, and looking round the coffee bar, feeling as good as I did after performing (like a hyped-up Patti Smith in all her 70’s glory), I wondered, somewhat sadly, “What am I doing? I should be beaming!” Laying by candlelight at home that evening, the fiancée hanging on my every word, I spoke to the ceiling and said every thought in my head about horrid ol’ expectation (regarding life in general and my performance), and it hurt like hell, just a tad, and I couldn’t sleep; I just felt devastated with my confusion and actively knew then and there, I was just making myself sad. I did GREAT that night. Crushed it, even; sure, my voice cracked, and no, I can’t be Patti Smith, but that’s ‘cause I’m already Elizabeth Hyman. I have nothing in the world to cry over, absolutely nothing (unless you count my toast I dropped in the sink last Tuesday…I think it was Tuesday). Remarkably, with a quick and swift ending to this little captain’s log, the next morning I felt better and remembered that I was the coolest and I’m multi-talented and beautifully tall and amazing, and most importantly, I wasn’t the type to throw around my rough days as personality traits, so all that gave me the final subconscious boost I needed, and there I was…
As I LITERALLY always have been, because this is LIFE. We are all signed up for the same thing. You’re no different without a diagnosis or ten. We’re all here doing the same thing. It’s OK.
Anyway, the rest of my morning was gravy.
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