I just read this post about depression by alison on bluishorange, and I am so there.
The scene is so familiar, and I’ve wondered for eleven years now what my alter ego in a parallel universe would’ve accomplished without this cloud of serious mental illness. I can’t even imagine. Sometimes, when I’m not wallowing in self-pity, when I can actually think clearly, I’m amazed that I’ve even gotten as far as I’ve gotten.
Last Friday night was bearable, although I did go straight to bed at 7 p.m., and I didn’t wake up until 8 a.m. the next morning. For the past month I’ve been sitting in this fog, not wanting to deal with the world. All I did was drag myself out of bed, go to work, come home, and then go back to bed. Shampoo, wash, and repeat. Thank God I like my job, otherwise my existence would be utterly pointless and it would also be a living hell.
Saturday I resolved to actually clean my apartment, which has been in a state of regretful squalor for a good three months now. My will, unfortunately, waned, and I decided to go to sleep at 11 p.m., despite knowing there was a party downtown, and that other people were probably having fun with their lives.
But I couldn’t actually fall asleep. Having not spoken to a single soul for 28 hours straight had really gotten to me, and I was feeling pretty shitty, so I got out of bed and drove to L.A. to my parents’ house. I got there at 12:45 a.m. and no one was awake. But like I said, at least the dog is always happy to see me. I finally got to sleep and felt much better in the morning. I can’t tell you what changed in my mood. It’s all very perplexing to me.
E randomly called me up today and we somehow got to the topic of death. (Lovely stuff.) Now I know I shouldn’t be one to complain because his dad was actually killed, but I think that I’ve been having a hard time dealing with my dad’s heart attack a year and a half ago. I mean, he’s doing great now, and he’s past that critical juncture of 1 year. The 1 year survival rate of having an infarct in the territory supplied by the left anterior descending coronary artery is pretty poor, particularly when you present with new-onset heart failure, but my dad has always been good at beating the odds. But I think it made my already fragile world even more tenuous.
B and S and E have all asked me if I’m dating anyone, and the answer, as always, is no. Part of it is that I’ve been pretty much emotionally maimed and mutilated and I don’t remember how to trust other people. Let me tell you, this makes it hard to form meaningful relationships with people you meet. It’s really easy for me to see signs of rejection, even if they aren’t really there. My first reaction to anything negative in a nascent friendship is to retreat and disappear.
Yes, the past two years have been kind of lonely. Just a little.
But the other part is that I haven’t been as aggressive about going out as I used to be. My oldest friend likes to use the statistical argument: meet enough women, however randomly, and you’re bound to meet someone who likes you eventually. It may take decades, but I know that he’s right. I tried applying this argument to my life in med school, but, as you can see, it didn’t really work out. I just need to meet more people, really, but I don’t even want to do that any more.
I find myself going home to visit my parents a lot.
The thing that I learned that has really messed me up badly is that, no matter how much someone loves you, ultimately, in the end, everyone leaves.
S tried to argue with me that it’s different if you die, in contrast to, say, betrayal, or moving halfway across the country, but it all adds up to the same thing. When everything is fleeting and temporary, where is the sense in trusting in anything? (Of course, it doesn’t help that I’ve been betrayed, but what are you going to do?)
So on Sunday, I went to watch “The Prestige” with my dad. My dad is a movie fiend. He loves going to the theater, even to watch shitty movies. He tells me he’s been obsessed with the silver screen since he was in high school, sometimes ditching class to watch in the fetid, non-air-conditioned theaters in the Philippines, spending a weeks’ worth of lunch money just for the treat, even if it mean being hungry for the next seven days. It’s been a while since I watched a movie with him.
As an aside, I’ve liked every Christopher Nolan movie that I’ve watched. The bizarre twists in everything he’s done just leave me in awe. He’s got M. Night Shymalan beat hands down when it comes to surprise endings. But I won’t talk about the movie here, except that it’s hardcore steampunk, dealing with electromagnetism and Arthur C. Clarke’s Three Laws and even the ethics of cloning (all right, I lied, that’s a big-time spoiler right there, try not to remember it.) Tesla is my hero. Boo for Edison.
But what I’m saying, I guess, is that we’re all going to die sometime, and will you feel like you’ve spent enough time with your loved ones when that time comes?
I’ve dealt with too much death, I guess. There is something perverse about watching the unfolding drama of a human being who is dying. There is something horrifically perverse about watching it multiple times. There is something awful and grotesque about having to deal with death almost every single day because it’s part of your job description, and you almost—almost—become blasé about it, except that you’ll be thinking about it for years on end, remembering their names etched onto your brains. The terrible grandeur, the horrifying magnificence of it all makes me want to puke sometimes.
And so, with this as a backdrop, I wend my way through life almost deliberately alone (except, you know what? I don’t want to be alone) because anyone that I grow to love will always abandon me. Boo-hoo.
That, I think, is the heart of my pathology. So maybe I’ve made some headway with identifying the problem. God only knows how the hell I’m going to succeed in fixing it. That is, if something like this is even fixable.
I think of having that MI one day alone in some squalid one bedroom apartment, ready to go work, going face down in the bathroom. I think about how long it will take before someone will realize that I’m gone, truly and utterly gone. I think about dying alone, and part of me tries to get used to it, because one day it will happen, but most of me just becomes hysterical and insanely depressed at the thought.
There have been days, and sometimes weeks, which I’d rather just sit out and maybe even disappear completely from. But I guess it’s that thought—that life is so goddamn fragile—that makes me grudgingly get out of bed and go to work. Because, if nothing else in my life has any significance whatsoever, at least I like my job, and maybe I even do a little good sometimes.