Oh, little rosebud. You’ve been having a bit of a rough go of things, haven’t you? Suffering from what you call “the funk.” But if we’re being completely honest, dear, “funk” is just a cutesy euphemism for “mild depression.” Which, in the name of full full disclosure, probably doesn’t need a Taco Bell hot sauce qualifier and should in fact simply be called “depression.” But, regardless of what you call it, or however many slightly-endearing-mostly-patronizing floral nicknames you come up with for yourself — it doesn’t feel so good, does it? That inexplicable heaviness in your chest, however big or small. The meltdowns so blubbery random police officers deem it necessary to bring you tissues and water as you curl up in embarrassment in your car. The persistent mantra of “I am not good enough,” despite being surrounded by the most loving of friend cheerleaders and even sometimes attempting to wield the pom poms yourself.
You’ve been tired without really knowing why. Your body aches, and not in that amazing post-run-post-kinky-sex-post-food-baby-glory way. You’re remembering all the “revelations” you’ve had over the past year and wondering how you let yourself slip back to this place. This delusional realm where other people’s opinions and expectations and unhappiness are somehow your problems, too. You’re apologizing for being “needy” and “crazy” and praying you’ll get your period soon so you’ll have an emotional scapegoat when deep down you know this shit rests on more than just a few days of hyperactive uterus partying.
You went to therapy, goddamnit. You occasionally workout and sure as hell eat enough and you have hobbies and family and all the distractions in the world. And yet it still hurts. Your heart hurts your head hurts everything just really really fucking hurts and it hurts to try to explain and hurts worse when you don’t and you just want it to stop. hurting. And there are no quick-fix band-aid solutions because if there were you would’ve slammed them down with the rest of those beers and you wouldn’t have cried after making out with him and your mother wouldn’t be sending you puppy memes because you’d be taped back together and fine. But you’re not. You’re bottling it all in only to explode at the worst possible moments — drinking too much, sobbing too much, too much-ing your way through everything to overcompensate for never being enough and you’ve done this before why isn’t it ever getting better?
Obviously being manic in this way is not helping. So let’s try a different approach, hmm? Take a minute or two to cry. Or half an hour. Or a week. Really, bawl your eyes out. Scream, if you must, ya overachiever. And whenever you’re done — exhausted not from everything you’re trying to run away from but from sheer aggressive air gasping exertion — rub your snot on your sleeve in the most un-lady-like fashion, take a deep, deep breath, and listen.
It’s OK to admit that sometimes when you say, “I need a drink,” what you’re really hoping someone will hear is, “I need a hug.” I need a hand squeeze. I need time to lay by myself on my big girl bed and do absolutely nothing. You can also explicitly ask for these things, you know. And you’ll get them, from the right people.
Because you know what? You’re actually pretty baller. You’re like, the ballsiest you can be without literal balls. Your metaphorical so-called “masculine” genitalia is pretty fucking fantastic, and it’s not conceited to think so. In fact, it’s brave. Barring shark cage diving or attempting to convert a hoard of violence inclined Trump supporters (which, one could argue, are both quite stupid rather than courageous endeavors), owning your confidence or lack thereof is one of the gutsiest things you can do. To wake up each day and try to be gentle with yourself and your feelings no matter what? Goddamn, that’s badass.
It’s obviously not easy. If it were, you wouldn’t have the urge to write second-person blog posts every few months with the classic woe-is-me-but-wait-you’re-great! story arc. And while you could admonish yourself for not sticking to your own advice, maybe you’re learning to accept this isn’t a linear journey like you had hoped. Maybe you’re scheduling internal mental health checkups more frequently than you visit the dentist or doctor and confusing this with worrying too much when in reality the “neuroticism” and desire for impeccable self-awareness are helping you grow. Maybe your depression doesn’t feel as valid as someone else’s, maybe you’re being too whiny and self-absorbed — but then again, aren’t those the thoughts that got you here in the first place? Tearing yourself apart and then comparing the scraps to other people? Denying you have problems while simultaneously pushing them front and center, blocking all the good things out?
No wonder you’re exhausted. Here you are, fighting against all the little quirks and nervous ticks that make you you. Making yourself the punch line, talking to yourself in a way you would never, ever imagine using on someone you love, lowering your expectations for people who still can’t be bothered to reach them. You are amazing. And for some godforsaken reason, you’re far too eager to forgo that for the alternative of being miserable, a comforting discomfort you’ve held onto for too long. Please, let go. Stop confusing “familiar” with “good.” Stop surrounding yourself with anyone or anything that doesn’t bring out the best in your wonderful albeit perpetually snarky self. Stop making lists of things to stop doing.
Get outside. Call your brother. Run slowly, and often. Read a book. Love those who can love you back just as fiercely. Gag when your own advice makes you ill. Tell yourself lovely things without referencing gagging. Bloom, motherfucker. Write this knowing it will not be the last time you worry about your thorns. Smile anyway.