Last night, I inhaled a third pounder Angus burger from McDonald’s and sobbed uncontrollably at the same damn time. And that was the highlight of my day.
Why? Because the rest of the day was spent not doing anything at all. So as terrible as the act of simultaneously binge eating and crying was, it was better than nothing.
And that is what most of my days over the past few weeks have consisted of: absolutely nothing. Because this latest bout with depression has made even the most mundane of activities excruciatingly difficult. Instead of doing stuff, I sleep, cry, eat and wonder why I can’t at least be symptomatic of depression in a “loss of appetite” kind of way.
I won’t get into the myriad of things that has triggered this current episode but I’ll sum it up by saying this: I don’t feel smart or interesting or funny or confident or charming or pretty or sexy or sexual or talented or hardworking or ambitious or any of the other things that make Shayla Shayla on even her most mediocre day. I am the worst version of myself that I have ever been and I cannot stand it. And the only people more dissatisfied with me than I am are, well, every person that I know.
“Yo, what’s wrong with you?” my best friend snapped a few months ago. “You don’t seem like you.”
That sounds like concern right? Well maybe a fraction of that was, but I know my best friend and I know the furrowed brow, flared nostrils, and snarled upper lip that accompanied her question. That collection of involuntary movements is her stank face and it manifests when someone either annoys or disgusts her. Here, with the help of my wordlessness and hobo chic ensemble, I have managed to accomplish both.
I don’t even bother trying to come up with the words to describe what is wrong with me because, honestly, I just don’t know. So there’s more awkward silence and more ugly contortions of my BFF’s otherwise lovely face.
And then there’s my mother.
“You can’t keep doing this,” is her favorite line. The “this” being, ironically, the “absolutely nothing” I mentioned earlier. The sight of me moping around the house in my holey sweats is visually offensive and she’s tired of looking at me. She can’t understand why I can’t just choose to be happy, slap on a smile, and conquer the world. As if I enjoy being this miserable.
This is what gray with an “a” looks like.
My mom is at her wits end. “What’s the matter with you?”
“I just don’t like myself right now,” is how I decide to describe it. “It’s like I’m usually magenta or teal or yellow — and right now I just feel gray.” And not even the sophisticated, classy English grey with the “e.” I’m the lazy frumpy American gray with an “a.”
“Well, which shade are you? There’re 50 of them, ya know.” That’s supposed to make me smile, but it doesn’t.
“Whichever’s the fattest.” I shrug. “And least fashionable.”
Now, I have no doubt that the people who love me are genuinely concerned. I know for a fact that they are. But they are also frustrated.
They’re frustrated because the normal me is funny and talkative and entertaining — and generally fucking awesome — and right now I’m just pathetic and not living up to any of those expectations. I mean, I’ve never been Ms. Sunshine. I’ve always been a cynical asshole, but I’m usually a cynical asshole who smiles, laughs, cracks jokes and brushes her hair. But now it’s as if the personality and propensity for basic grooming habits have been sucked clean out of me. I can’t blame people for being frustrated with me. I’m frustrated with myself.
But, more than anything, they’re frustrated because they think that I’ve given up and I’m not fighting for the person I’m supposed to be. So maybe not frustrated. They’re probably just plain ol’ pissed. And even though I understand why, it still hurts.
Because I haven’t given up. I don’t have any immediate plans to stay this way. This is an episode, one that will eventually pass with the proper tools to combat depression. Not shame, or judgment, or confrontation, or impatience, or dirty looks, or exhausted demands to just “snap out of it.” I need time and treatment, support and understanding.
So, yes, I know I’m not much fun to be around right now. I may even be irritating. But making me feel bad about feeling bad isn’t going to make me feel any better.