Today is a Depression Day; Anxiety has apparently come to visit, as well. I stare at the white blank wall right next to me, and slowly trace the hooved patterns, drawing rigid stars here and there. Up-slant. Down-slant. Up-slant. Straight. Down-slant. Connect. Repeat.
I want to distract myself from yet another sleepless night of nightmares and sudden wakeups at 3, 5, 7 AM? I don’t want to think about it. I don’t want to think about the amount of sleep I didn’t get. I don’t want to think of the possible time I had left to sleep. I don’t want to think. I suck. I’m such a failure. I can’t even succeed in sleep. I hate myself.
I crush my sweat-filled comforter tightly at every single word and reach for my phone that was lying on the bamboo shelf hanging off the side of my bed. 9:19. Haha. Just my luck. Class was going to start in six minutes, and I was still on this God-forsaken bed in my pajamas trying to find the energy someway somehow to just GET UP.
I stare at my ceiling, with my alarm blasting away, a combination of canaries squawking, high-pitched laughter, and loud symbols crashing in my brain. I slowly sit up and bury my head in my fleece-covered knees, trying to internalize, focus, do anything to keep this draining energy locked away. But it just seemed to overwhelm me even more.
It doesn’t matter if I miss another class. It’s not like I’m going to get anything out of it anyway. I throw off my comforter and make my way down the ladder of my loft. I don’t want to do anything, but I sure as hell don’t want to stay in my bed lying down doing nothing, and I especially don’t want to be alone with my own thoughts.
I make my way to my sink, barely bothering to brush my teeth. Though my contacts are in days old solution, I force them into my eyes anyway, making sure to blink the pain away. I slowly grab my favorite dark-blue, plaid, fleece shirt among other scattered clothes and locate my jeans on an askew chair and put those on. I shrug my backpack of bricks on one shoulder and walk out the door, quickly texting my boyfriend that I’d be down in a sec. I don’t want to be more of a burden than I already am. I look back at my roommate, sleeping soundly in her bed. I want to wake her up like she told me to. But I…just couldn’t. Wow, some friend I am. I wince, and walk out the quickly, as if to lessen my sin.
9:25. I was late, but that was okay. Class is 50 minutes long, it’s going to take me only seven minutes to walk there, and I had gotten out of bed. That alone was an accomplishment, right? No.
I see my boyfriend waving at me from the local café and his dorm. As I got closer, he could already tell: today is a depression day. I tentatively reach for his hand, which he takes and grips firmly. Human touch is always nice.
“Come, come bae, we must go quickly,” he whispers patiently. I nodded slowly and try to walk fast. I am down, but no one had to be dragged down with me. We walked hand in hand in an understood silence. The walk feels longer than usual, and I close my eyes because it is just too bright, too, too, bright, and I was starting to regret my decision to get out of bed. I can’t do this. I wish that I could, but I just can’t. I think I might have grasped his hand too tightly or twitched or something, because I felt his grip strengthen suddenly, a sort of reassurance that everything is going to be okay, I guess. We walk until each of our respective classroom buildings and depart, with promises to see each other after class.
10:14. I knew I should have left class. I don’t remember when I stopped paying attention, but somehow we went from a discussion on the mitochondria to talking about Alzheimer’s and I’m really not sure how that happened. I look at my laptop screen filled with incomprehensible notes that are probably just verbatim of what my professor said. I’ll decipher them later. Maybe. Probably. Not. Figures.
People around me have already started to pack up. I close my laptop forcefully, feeling my energy drain away at the prospect of the rest of the mundane day ahead. I want to get out of this stuffy, windowless void, but there is nowhere to go. I joined the mass of people who were rushing, rushing, rushing, with purposes in mind, going places that I probably wasn’t going to go. Maybe it is Depression Day for some of them too, and I sympathize. Really I do.
But I couldn’t take care of them, let alone myself right now. I’m so selfish. I close my eyes. Where should I do? I don’t have anything to do really until the late afternoon, I think, so where should I go? My bed seems tempting, but I’m in the awkward limbo of my mind racing, and my body dragging. So that wouldn’t work.
I step outside, where the sun’s rays tried to pry my eyes fully open, or at least get me to look up. Starbucks. I would go there. Because I liked tea and tea was good and maybe caffeine would wake me up. And I wouldn’t be alone. I walked with my head downcast or only look at people’s faces, not their eyes; I’m afraid that I won’t be able to greet them properly if I do. I see people I know coming up in my path and busy myself with pretending to write out an important text on my phone so as to avoid any sort of interaction. It’s hard to smile right now.
10: 31 I shuffle into the comfortable coffee shop and pray, just pray that there was an open table anywhere, so that I wouldn’t have to go back out into reality. Table 1 had two girls, happily chatting away, probably for some sort of interview. Nope. Table 2 sat a woolen-haired middle-aged man who was dressed in a clean-cut oxford, wide-rimmed glasses, and a bright red bow tie that hurt my eyes. Nope.
And I am beginning to despair; every seat seems filled with happy, cheerfully chipper people, when I finally spot one in the back: the small corner table that was usually filled with remnants of people’s coffee purchases. Better than nothing, I guess. I let go of my backpack with a huff and pick up the trash one-by-one, tossed them in the bin, and heaved myself down. The line was too long to buy anything.
But I wasn’t even really here for coffee, or even tea. In everything around me, I could hear the loud pitter-patters of conversations dispersed throughout the whole shop, the slurps of people finishing off their drinks, and the grinding whirs of coffee blenders and ice-crushers all at work. And I needed sounds; anything to keep me from hearing my own thoughts.
I don’t want to waste any more time than I might already have. If I at least tried to do something, I would be okay. But if I don’t do it up to my own expectations, then I’m DEFINITELY a failure. I open my laptop off slowly and bang some key to make it come alive. Homework. Let’s try that.
I open up my biotransport homework that is due in three days and scroll through it, thinking that maybe I could at least answer one question, but I can’t even answer one. I’m so stupid. Everyone else is probably done with this by now. I should have started earlier. I should have started earlier. Inside, I can feel my chest tighten, and breathing suddenly becomes infinitely harder than usual. Why does this have to happen now?
I bury my face in my hands, desperately trying to calm down. Every breath I take feels like a hand around my throat, slowly snuffing out any hint of salvation. Stupid. I twitched. Shit, I was in public. Stop, Kathrine, stop.
But it’s just not fair. I’m too dumb to do anything. I was never good enough for her, and I’ll never be good enough now. I can’t finish this assignment, and if I don’t I’m going to feel even more awful than I already do. I suck in my cheeks, in efforts of suppressing my mind. But why do I work so slowly. Why couldn’t I just be a doctor to make everyone happy? Why does everything I do never seem to be okay? Why can’t I just make you proud once, Mom?
I open my eyes. Again. Everything leads back to her somehow. The wave of panic subsided, but the war of me against myself has just begun. I need to stop. I know I need to. I DID NOT want to feel this way. I go on Facebook and scroll mindlessly. You thought of her again. Don’t do that. Don’t do that, Kathrine. I’m not good enough. You’ve gotten so much better. Don’t do this. I can’t do this. You can fight this.
I grab headphones and stab them into my laptop’s audio jack and played anything that seemed to be convenient. Some Panic at the Disco song, I think, I didn’t care. I close out of my homework to try and work on something else. Come back to it later, come back to it later. You’ll finish this, you’ll finish this. Just scribble something down. My grade sucks anyway. I turn to my lab report. Yes. I knew I could do this. It’s too much.
I could do this. I focus every last bit of energy I could to try and write some sort of summary of my abstract. Intros are easy. This is okay. I guess. I write a simple heading down, and type, just type. Because you can do this. Because you’ve been getting better with counseling. Because you’re not stupid. I repeat the mantra to myself: today is just a Depression Day, today is just a Depression Day.