There is a moment just after you wake up. Maybe it’s very early in the morning and you have work in a couple of hours, or maybe it’s Saturday and you’ve allowed yourself to sleep in. Whatever the circumstances, for a few brief seconds you are in limbo, caught between a strange paradox of sleep and awake and the only thought in your mind is whether to let yourself drift off to sleep again or to get out of bed. Maybe you’re still caught in your dreams, under a hazy blanket of unreality when you know that you’ll need to snap out of it soon. Whatever the case, your true reality – the one that the rest of your day will comprise of – is lost in your mind. For a few brief seconds, you are not thinking. You are not here, yet. You do not remember. You are caught in things that are left over from your subconscious, like little scraps of paper you desperately try to salvage. And as you slowly feel yourself awakening, the desperate reality of your situation crawls back. You start to remember everything. Your troubles. Your stresses. Your relationships. Your work. You are no longer at peace. You get out of bed.
There have been so many mornings in my life. Thousands, by now. Some days are characterized by a fleeting happiness or, if I’m lucky, a feeling of content. Some days I am anxious, heartbroken, and depressed; sometimes all three, often for no reason. I am tired of my days being defined by my emotions. I wish so badly that my days could be characterized by what happens in it. If I win the lottery, that is a good day. If I don’t win the lottery, it’s not necessarily a bad day but not the best day. If something mediocre happens, it is a boring day. The problem with depression and emotional insecurity is, you could take a trip to Italy, meet the President, win the lottery, and meet the love of your life all in one day and if you are in “not the best mood” none of it matters. You’d still go home and sulk, maybe in between sips of whiskey or pops of Xanax or Klonopin or whatever else the doctor gave you that weekend.
I am ready to stop being miserable.
There was once a time in my life where I prided myself on being miserable, as if drinking copious amounts alone or incessantly popping pills would make me a better person or a better writer. “Insane” “Crazy” or “Weird” were all words I didn’t mind myself being called. In fact, I enjoyed it. At college, I enjoyed being the wild one, always up for whatever the night would provide, whether it be alcohol or walking into a stranger’s apartment at four in the morning. There was a time when I endorsed it like a bad Kmart commercial. Do all the drugs and make all the mistakes. Wake up hungover the next morning, your head slunk down in the toilet bowl, come on, do it! Who cares? You’re in college. You’re young. One day you’ll be much more responsible, but not now, god, not now. Passing out on the toilet is certainly in your agenda. You are having fun. You are doing what every nineteen-year-old college kid does.
It took me a long time to realize that there is a difference between going out every once in a while and making the occasional mistake, and not knowing when to stop making those mistakes. When you are self-destructive as opposed to “wild,” repeating your mistakes rather than learning from them, that’s when you have a problem. When you feel as though you can’t stop drinking, can’t stop doing drugs, even when the fun is over, that’s when there is an issue. And more often than not in the case of alcohol and drug abuse comes their unwelcome sister, Depression, and its annoying boyfriend, Loneliness.
I don’t want to come across as preach-y and I’m not saying that everyone who indulges in alcohol or drugs recreationally is a bad person or an addict. But I’m tired of being miserable by justifying my self-destructive behavior. I’m tired of waking up in somebody else’s bed with no recollection of what happened the previous night. I’m tired of going barefoot in nightclubs, texting people I haven’t talked to in months because I’m drunk, alone in my bed for the fourth night in a row, and losing friends because of my unhealthy habits. I am sick of thinking that I am so unworthy of love that I will latch onto the first guy who shows me any attention, even if I’m the only one showing the affection. I’m ready to be healthy. I’m ready to stop the self-destructive habits. I know I will probably relapse, but I have a plan for that too. I don’t want to live the rest of my life justifying my mistakes instead of forgiving myself for them, labeling my behavior as “free” or insisting that every young person goes through this. In a way, we do, but I believe that there is a time to move on. There’s a time when you realize that you are worth so much more than the flat, uncomfortable pillow from some douchebag’s apartment that you don’t remember sleeping over at. You are worth so much more than the three shots of whiskey you insist will make you “happy” on a lonely Tuesday night. I am tired of grieving life as if it is something to grieve about.