I’ve been keeping a log of the progression of my thoughts for the last couple of days in a small, very plain-looking notebook, so that the next time I hit a low point I can anticipate that it will take approximately X days to recover from it. I’m hoping it will give me comfort—the only (somewhat ironic) problem with this method is that I have to remind myself to think about whether I’ve thought about the thing that I’m trying to stop thinking about so I can write it down.
I was trying to explain this method to a friend, who I rarely see and who I only really hang out with during the week because I get nervous when I have nothing going on after work—which is a legitimate (and usually dismissed) fear of mine that comes from when I was at my most depressed and I would lie in my bed in the dark, trapped under my comforter in an oversized fraternity shirt and Christmas underwear with fraying elastic for days. Anyway, I had agreed to see her, and we met on the roof of her apartment building and watched the sky turn pink and I remember thinking I would’ve enjoyed the scenery a lot more if she were anyone else. I can say this, because I know she won’t read it. And because it’s true.
She asked me about him—to be polite—and while she was still talking, I tried to remember if I had thought about him that day at all and then considered the fact that I was currently thinking about him (she had asked how we met) counted as me still thinking about him. Fuck me, another day. I swapped the ring I wear on my left middle finger to my left pointer finger, so that I would remember to write it down later. This is a habit I picked up from my mom to remember things. It is almost infallible.
So I told her about what I was doing and how I was doing it in a bizarre attempt to organize and stay on top of everything that was making my depression unmanageable—because it was starting to seep into my REM cycles and attention span at work—and she told me I should consider processing my emotions, like a regular human being.
I’d rather die than properly process my emotions. I don’t want to know what’s down there.
Also, frankly, there is nothing more embarrassing to me than spending time trying to verbalize something crazy you’ve concocted in your head, only for someone to immediately be like, “um, hm, okay. That was kind of dark! How about you just try being neurotypical?”
It reminds me of how so many people who fetishize a certain level of sadness—a cutesy sadness, a convenient sadness—get completely grossed out when I start digging up a bunch of darkness for them to look at. Spiders aren’t pouring out of my eyes, I’m just telling you that I need to keep track of how long I have these thoughts.
Nobody who hasn’t had depression wants to hear about depression. That’s what also really freaks me out about writing about this—because I’m supposed to be generating traffic!!! People are supposed to read this. I never considered that my feelings were ever going to be measured by page views and shares and clicks and ads. Are my feelings sellable? Is that anecdote about me spending days lying in my bed in the dark, trapped under my comforter in an oversized fraternity shirt and Christmas underwear with fraying elastic, going to make people click?
I’ve been reading a lot of Jenny Zhang’s work recently and found (and loved and hated):
The failure to move someone with what you think is the tragedy of your existence. I don’t know, or just another way of saying #noonecares.
Kind of dark, right?
Anyway, I have thought about him at least once a day, every day, for several months. I just assume one day it will stop.