I had thought that by the time I was 29 that I would not longer have depressive episodes. I knew of course that depression was a lifelong condition for some people; I just assumed without ever articulating it to myself that it would evaporate for me by the time that I “arrived,” along with the typical aimlessness and self-doubt that are still with me. What “arrival” is or looks like I can’t say, except that I’ve expected it since I turned 22.
Bigfuck depression arrived on Sunday when I had an anxiety attack over hosting my birthday party. Hosting is always mildly stressful for me; hosting for myself specifically is much more so. I knew it was likely to come, just as sure as the cooler weather and rain on the day I had hoped would be sunny and warm. It wasn’t until the morning of that the questions started – who would come? Too many people to fit in my apartment? Not enough? More maybes and fewer yeses? How much food should I get? How much should I spend? Why am I not good at this? Why don’t I know the answers? Why did I pick this date? – until the folds inside my fingerprints buzzed with fear and I felt sick.
I can identify now what happens, which is that my judgment and instincts are shredded by second-guessing. I walked one block between my apartment and the store back and forth three times, torn between whether to go and purchase more deviled eggs (somehow I failed entirely at hard boiling eggs) or not. I bought them and they were uneaten. I can predict that whatever choice I end up making in that state is the wrong one… yet I have to make a choice. There’s no sitting things out until the world settles.
An hour before I broke down entirely and decided to cancel. I went back on that before I emailed anyone. I held it together while people where there and had fun, but in that state I know that my entire being is questioning – did I say the right thing? do you want to be here, actually? was that joke awful? am I putting people on edge by being so on edge myself? do you hate the food? am I the only one drinking? do you like me? what about now? – that without speaking any of those aloud I know I shadow my own celebration.
When people went home I felt I failed.
All of this has happened before. I didn’t want to think that it would happen again, but it did, and it will.
The anxiety has passed but the bigfuck depression has set in. It’s heaviness, and when I fight it’s the same anxiety, the same opposite-day perception of the world that I know is incorrect, but I have no other means to navigate. Undersea all the time,
a stranger whose elbows wouldn’t work.
So maybe I don’t need to fight this time. Maybe it’s just a matter of waiting it out. Making sure that I and the cat are fed, coasting as needed. Not thrashing against the wait/ weight.
Depression is not a problem to be solved. It’s an equation that is already balanced and but gives you a sum you didn’t want. I know that the tide will change. I just have to wait for it.