Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Rounds of Low

I'm shocked at myself when it happens. When I'm walking through Barnes & Noble wondering where a certain book is, a woman crosses my path. She has no name tag on, yet she asks if she can help me find something. I stop and tell her what I'm looking for. She walks fast and when she gets to the front display she talks to another woman and asks her if she knows where the book is. They both notice the other books in my hand and make comments on them. I smile and talk back. That's what shocks me. Usually I just shake my head no or mumble and walk away. Lately I try to stay away from too many people. Lately they feel like needles sticking into my skin. I stay away from the campus during the day when people are crowding the halls and literally pouring in and out of class rooms. I try to only go places when I absolutely need to - like when I have no more food in the fridge - because I'm afraid of all the people. I stay at my mom's until my stomach gets nervous and nauseas and then I go home. All of them. Needles. Needles that feel like they're sticking into your skin - not enough to break it - but just enough to make you go insane. So just so we're all on the same page here - it's a good thing that I smiled and chatted up the Barnes & Noble employees. I take the books I've chosen to leaf through over to a table and sit down. And I think. Last night, after I got off the phone with Rachel, I held my head in my hands and I cried. I cried because I feel bad that whenever she calls I don't feel any better. I feel bad because in a previous conversation she says I've been stand-offish lately and I know it's true. I feel bad because she has to listen to me be like this all the time. I tell her that she doesn't have to, and that I know how annoying I can be. That I have been here before and annoyed friends before. She tells me that she knows she doesn't have to, but that she's my friend and she loves me and she worries about me. And when she tries to suggest certain things for me to do...I tell her I don't want to. And I feel bad about that too. I never thought it was possible to hate yourself this much, I said to her in a previous conversation. It is, she said. That makes me feel better. She didn't say I shouldn't and she didn't say I was wrong or weird or tell me just to turn it off like an easy to flip switch. She just went with it. That is fantastic. That I don't feel weird - not that I dislike myself. But I do take a second to give value to the moment. That I said that out loud. Because, I really haven't been very good to myself...for as long as I can remember. I feel bad because I've gotten good at hiding a lot of my lows. Which I think may have hit their peak. But for some odd reason I let them out on the phone with her. To a certain degree - but out nonetheless. I feel bad because all my good times in my life, my moments...that I rack up and love and think of often...all my times with my family and friends that include laughing, smiling, learning something...they're all gifts. And I feel undeserving of them. I feel bad about that. I remember reading a book on creativity and one of the exercises being Morning Pages. Three pages of free-writing, just whatever is on your mind. Quickly and without pause or thinking. The idea is to clear your mind for the day and open up space for more creative ideas and projects. I figure it can't hurt so I break rule #1 which is to do them first thing in the morning and around 11:30 pm I bust out the notebook and pen. I write until I can't write any more. I break rule #2 which is only three pages worth. I keep writing. I write and I write until my hand hurts. I feel a bit better. Uncertain. But better. Now I'm going to break rule #3. Rule #3 is that you're not supposed to share your Morning Pages with anyone or go back and look at them yourself. I'm not really going to share them with you but I will tell you the one line that hit me: I never stood a chance. I just wrote it down. Without thinking. This bout of depression has been a long time coming. It has nothing to do with anything I thought it did. If that makes sense to you. When I write it down, I sit back and I feel physical pain. Soreness. Like I've been getting the shit kicked out of me everyday and it finally let up. I never let me be anything. I boke me down before I even stood up. That won't make much sense to a lot of you...but so be it. I thought myself an awful person. And if I was just a little bit harder on myself then I might stop being awful. But I was never awful to begin with. I never even asked myself where I got that notion in the first place. Because I never let myself get that far. More thoughts pour out. I feel like I just finished a fight with an inner demon. Sore. So I wake up and I write my morning pages and I push past the things I've been scared to do. Not all the way, but in small ways that count. I call the subject of an interview and even though I'm relieved she can't meet with me and I'll have to email her my questions - I'm proud I called her at all. And I go in and ask for an application where I see a sign that the place is hiring...even though I'm afraid to be seen by people. And I smile and laugh with the ladies at Barnes & Noble. And I keep going. I have to navigate it. I can hang out with friends, but not too long or the step is too big and it sets me back again. I can visit with family but push too far and I will spend another night sleepless. I can work on my homework - slowly but surely. And I tell myself to believe that I will find my way. And I don't feel quite as low. And that makes me feel better.

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