“How many times have you felt too sad to get out of bed in the past week?”
I sat a little numb on the paper cloth of the examination table. I had to think for a little while, totally stopping the methodical scratch of my pen. I didn’t know the answer. For once, I didn’t have a totally depressed and awful week. It took me several minutes to refocus my eyes. The idea that I could have had a normal week was too foreign a subject to understand. It felt disconcerting. It felt odd. It felt good.
I checked the “never” box and continued on.
“How many times have you felt too sad to eat?”
“How many times have you been so visibly upset that others have taken notice?”
“How many times have you felt like a disappointment or a mistake?”
I stopped again. I knew it. I knew it was too good to be true, the happiness and the good feelings.
I didn’t have a depressed week last week. In fact, I haven’t had one in many many weeks. No, my weeks don’t look like they used to, where I couldn’t muster the strength to peel myself from the tear stained sheets I once hid between. No, my appetite hadn’t mysteriously faded into the abyss and left me starving myself. No, my parents and siblings and friends couldn’t hear the tinge of sadness in my voice that I used to try and hide so steadfastly. No. I haven’t had that in a while.
My week last week looked like the many that had preceded it.
Anxious. Kind of sad. Not depressed, just empty.
But I lied. I checked “never” again and moved on. The second that check mark fell into the box, I felt my heart drop into the pit of my stomach. It felt like some one had slapped me in the face.
It’s not often that I let myself wallow in self pity these days but I sat and blinked the tears away and wallowed.
Do you know what its like to feel like a disappointment? Like, despite all of your efforts and your simultaneous grand steps in thousands of directions, you simply cannot do anything right?
It feels… bad. I don’t really know how else to describe it. I mean, I do. I suppose I could say that it feels as though someone has relentlessly pulled your insides out with jagged fingernails. Or, as a friend once said, it feels “like a mouth full of razor blades”. But, in that moment, it just felt bad.
It feels bad to feel as though you are not important enough for someone to care for you. It feels bad to feel as though you have let down your loved ones by simply doing what will make you happy. It feels bad to know that, no matter how hard you try, you may never be doing the right thing for everyone. It feels bad.
But it passed. It faded away as I moved on to the next question. The nagging voice in the back of my mind warned that it would come back full force later on.
And then my phone vibrated and I forgot for a second.
“What’s a colonial village?”
It was my boyfriend, responding to a text I had sent before I had walked into the office. And I smiled. I remembered why I hadn’t had a depressed week lately. Why my appetite has been back in full force for longer than I can recall. Why my voice isn’t tinged with too much sadness anymore. Why I felt like I could pull myself out of bed every single day without a single bad thought.
There are days where my anxiety makes me feel worthless and scared. There are days where I feel like I am just as broken as the depressed 13 year old I vaguely remember from my past. There are days where I feel as though I simply can’t.
But he’s there. He’s never NOT. No matter how many people effortlessly toss me to the side and act as though I am nothing, he is there. No matter what hour of the day, even though he falls asleep at 8pm on a good day, he is there. No matter how terrible and mean and awful I am to him, he is there.
He has taught me that self worth does not come from the attention that others do or do not give you. He has taught me that the people that truly love and care for you will not bow out in an effortless motion. He has taught me how to regain my own happiness while providing so many reasons to be happy in his own quirky ways.
He loves me and he is there. And that is all I need.
So, today, I went to the doctor and reevaluated myself once again. And I realized that, though there are days where life is still crap and sadness overrules every other feeling, I am not worthless and I matter. Even if it’s just to me and him. And that is okay in my book.
Because I matter.
And life feels good again.