I wish I could accurately explain what living with depression is like, but I can’t. I’ve tried to, but if you’ve never experienced it then the explanations just don’t quite make sense, for most people. There’s this shared sense of knowing that fellow depressed people just get, you know? But what I can explain is what it’s like to finally, FINALLY, feel normal.
I have spent the vast majority of my life desperately wanting to feel normal. And before you say, “Brittany, there’s no such thing as normal.” I know, but I also know that there’s a general scale of how normal people deal with emotions, life, and, you know, not wanting to die all the time. Mental illness is a massive suck-fest, to put it simply. Not being able to control your emotions is exhausting. For the past few months (years really) I have been on the worlds crappiest roller coaster. One day I would be fine, then the next three would be horrible, then I would be okay for five hours, and then awful again. Every day was like a mystery grab bag. Was I going to get a cheap plastic toy, or was it going to be literal shit? [Spoiler alert: 9 out of 10 times it was shit. But that one time it wasn’t was super great.] And the worst thing is, is that you can’t opt out. You can’t say, “You know what? I’m not going to ride this roller coaster today. I’m going to go for a nice relaxing ride on the merry-go-round.” That’s just not how this thing works; at least, not for me. I’ve tried. You just kind of learn how to cope with what you’ve got, and how to best hide it from people, because it tends to freak a lot of people out when you start joking about death. [Side note: if I’m joking around about my issues that’s a good sign, because if I can joke about it then I’m still okay.] But after a while you get exhausted. And I don’t mean, I’ve had a rough day at work exhausted. I mean you feel like you’ve been drug (dragged if you want to be grammatically correct) behind a semi for a year, beaten with a crowbar, and then forced to replace a laid off Atlas due to budget cuts.
After several months of this I finally put on my big girl undies, and made an appointment to see my counselor again. She, in turn, referred me to a psychiatrist. He then bumped up the dosage of my Zoloft prescription, and OH MY GOD! How did I ever manage to live my life before this?! Becoming mentally stable is like waking up on the first day it finally feels like Spring after a long Winter. Everything is different, but not really. You just perceive it differently. Life is no longer some never ending rickety roller coaster from Hell. It’s just life, and it is so beautiful. There have been several times where I’ve asked HB if this is how everyone else lives, because I just can’t quite seem to wrap my head around feeling completely normal. I get to choose my emotions! Do y’all know how amazing that is?! Minescule mistakes no longer make me spiral downwards into a pit of self-loathing and dispare. I can just live life. It’s an absolutely amazing thing to experience after so many difficult years. There’s a small part of me that thinks this won’t last, but, quite frankly, she can shut her face, because I am going to enjoy this as long as it lasts.