For a while, I stopped caring about everything. I didn’t feel like getting dressed, even to meet up with my friends. I didn’t feel like getting up in the morning, even to eat my favorite breakfast. I didn’t feel like answering texts or showering or brushing my teeth. The only thing I wanted to do was sleep, because it gave me an escape from the real world. With my eyes closed, I could imagine past memories and pretend they were happening in the present. Or I could make up entirely new scenarios inside of my head where I was happy, where I felt fulfilled, where I believed in myself and my future.
Somewhere along the way, I stopped caring about the way other people perceived me. I stopped dressing nice before leaving the house. I stopped eating three meals per day. I stopped answering texts. I lost friends because I never felt like going out on Friday nights since I was too busy recovering from my hectic week. Even when we saw each other, we had nothing to talk about. They would tell me about their career and their love life and instead of feeling happy for them, I felt like shit. I felt like I was falling behind. I felt like no one else could understand what I was going through because they were all ahead of me.
To their credit, it’s not like they never tried to help me. Most people failed to notice my change in mood, but the ones who paid attention tried to make me feel better and I lashed out at them. I didn’t want their sympathy. I didn’t want their advice. I didn’t want to hear about how they loved me and they would be there if I wanted to talk, because I felt more comfortable in my misery. I complained about being alone but a part of me preferred it that way.
Nothing mattered back then. Even the good things felt mehh. I had trouble forcing smiles and faking laughter. I struggled to complete basic tasks like cooking food and remembering passwords. Bigger things, like finding a good job and graduating, felt impossible because it was hard enough to do the little things. Instead of planning out what I would do in a year or two, I was only focused on getting through that day. I stopped having a plan for my future because I wasn’t even sure if I would have a future.
I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point I started to care again. I started exercising. I started eating right. I started meeting up with friends on weekends. I started showering and answering texts and brushing my hair every single day, not just on occasion.
It took a long time, but I finally learned how to shake away the numbness (at least for now). I am finally remembering what it feels like to experience genuine, unfiltered happiness. I am finally able to say everything is going to be okay and mean it.