One Day At A Time

One Day At A Time


“Crippling depression” is a hard phrase to quantify. Unless you’re familiar with the actual feeling, you usually just think of the “crippling” part as a qualifier, just something to color-up depression, to let someone not in the club know “this is a serious problem.”

It’s more than that. Of course it’s more than that. It’s not wanting to wake up in the morning, or even move. It’s praying you can find something funny to watch, or something cool enough to grab your whole attention, or maybe that you’ll feel like taking in an old favorite; anything to get away from that crushing feeling of alone.

It defies logic. I can’t explain it, I can barely write it out. My girlfriend asked me to tell her what was going on in my head and I couldn’t say anything but something vague about it being the usual stuff that just isn’t real. That’s what drives me insane about it. I know I have no real reason to feel this way. I have so many things that I am happy and grateful for. But anytime the silence creeps in, it’s like I can’t shut down my brain telling me the opposite is true.

There’s a type of OCD I read about that involved homicidal thoughts. The young woman who suffered from this hated it, knew it was wrong and had no desire to actually go through with it, yet every time she closed her eyes or shut down a little bit, these thoughts of her killing people she loved would intrude into her mind, and inside her head it would become a battle between keeping these horrible thoughts away and staying relaxed enough to not scream or burst into tears or something. There’s nothing homicidal about the thoughts that intrude in my head, I am far too non-violent a person to even entertain a fantasy of killing someone else. Myself though? That’s apparently fair game.

When someone asks you not to think about something, that’s the first place your mind goes. It’s a knee-jerk reaction, something wholly out of your control. For me, there’s a constant “Don’t think about killing yourself. Don’t think about how awful you are. Don’t think about how much better everyone else would be without you there. Don’t think about it. Just stop.”

So, of course, I can’t and don’t.

“One day at a time” is a phrase you hear often in regards to mental illness, regular illness, pretty much any kind of hardship one goes through. All you can do is take it one day at a time. I was taught to avoid cliches when writing, but they’re cliche for a reason. There is no other way to say that, not really. There’s no other way to say that all I can do is open my eyes in the morning and try again. Try to get up and make myself a person. Try to feel human again.

The problem is that I don’t remember how. I just don’t. I don’t remember what normal feels like. I want to. I want to be everything I put out. I want to be the man I know I can be, but I don’t know how. I don’t know how to stop hurting, and it feels like that’s all I do anymore is hurt. The things, the people that bring me joy, I’m just now in a constant state of edging panic that I’m going to lose them. All of them. Because, in my mind, that tiny voice is constantly asking why they would stay? What reason do any of them have? How much a difference in their day do I actually make? Would anyone actually miss me if I were gone?

The worst part of it is how badly I want it to stop, I just don’t know how. I don’t know how to put any of this into actual words, and what do you do, write your doctor a letter? I doubt they respond that well to that.

So what else can I do? One day at a time. A mantra that I’ve had to use before and will undoubtedly have to use again. I’m scared of over-medicating, but the answer likely lies in pills, and it’s a crapshoot on what will work and when I’ll find it.

One day at a time. Always forward. Forward, always.

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