Please welcome C.J. Listro of Sarcasm & Lemons to the blog today! C.J. is sharing some of her random thoughts she’s written down about depression. And have I ever read something more relatable? Doubtful. Honestly, I felt like she was inside my head when I read these! I hope you find the comfort in them that I did!
A series of collected, unconnected musings on living with depression
I watched a lot of Disney Channel my first year of grad school.
It was the first time I’d lived alone, and I felt alone. I’d just gotten broken up with. A friend ghosted me. I had no friends in the city, and my cohort at school was full of nice people who had lives that didn’t include me.
Most of all, I didn’t want to be alone with my thoughts.
At 21, I became friends with Alex of Wizards of Waverly Place and Austin and Aly. I didn’t always necessarily watch with my full attention. I rarely did, in fact. I’m a good multitasker. I can watch TV and muse on the horrors of my depression at the same time perfectly well. I was usually on my computer too, playing Minecraft or trawling my newly created Twitter timeline or doing something else to make sure that every iota of useable brain power was occupied.
And I watched shows made for preteens, because there was something light and silly and hopeful about them. I could imagine myself back into my preteen self, when I was just as depressed but much more hopeful, because there was a Future ahead of me. High school, college, years of time in which things could improve.
The older I get, the less I’m able to cling to that hope, because I feel like time is fading. It’s too late for me.
I still think back to Wizards of Waverly Place sometimes.
It was a friend when I needed to escape my own head.
It was a show for kids.
Depression doesn’t have rules.
Just because you know the voices in your head aren’t real doesn’t mean you don’t believe them.
I’m a therapist. I’m in therapy. Fun fact, if you have a therapist, they probably also have a therapist. Just because we’re helpful with your lives doesn’t mean we’re not also fucked up.
This means that I’m an expert in treating people like me. It also means that I’ve tried the tricks and worksheets, and when I keep doing them and I don’t hate myself any less, I feel like I’ve failed. I feel like a bad psychologist.
I think I’ve spent more hours wishing I were someone else than being the person I am.
What they don’t tell you in grad school is that, sometimes, you can’t just convince yourself into liking yourself. The worksheets are helpful, don’t get me wrong. They’ve pulled me back from many a spiral.
But learning to love yourself? That’s a process. You can’t logic yourself into. You have to have faith.
You have to leap.
It’s a cliché, but kindergartners are smarter than adults. At least, I was. At the age of five, I was outgoing and I talked to everyone. I felt pretty good and I liked other people and, I think, myself.
Then I hit the age where I realized you could be weird, and I stopped talking. I carved out space in my brain for the Me that was important to me and I locked it up.
And I’ve spent all the years since trying to get back to where I was when I was five.
I thrive on escape. I listen to death metal because it shreds through your brain and punches you in the heart. You literally can’t think of anything else.
I read because I can be another person. Live in another world. Experience things beyond my reach.
I read true crime and listen to audiobooks about serial killers because the only way to escape myself is drowning in other people’s misery.
I’m a pain junkie.
I’m just sick of my own pain.
When you’re little, you think you’re going to grow up and have a great job and get married. You don’t even think it. You know it. Because that’s what happens for people who want those things. That’s what the sitcoms say. That’s what’s expected. Even when it seems far away, you know there’s still time.
Then at some point you realize that maybe those things will never happen for you.
That’s when you become an adult.
I’ve been in mourning since I was born.
My life is a mausoleum. My body—they say it’s a temple? Mine is a tomb.
Maybe it’s because I’ve always known I could die. Other kids felt invincible. I’d seen the face of someone I would never meet, a brother who wasn’t coming back. I knew I was fragile.
Some people would take that as a challenge to live every day to the fullest.
I took it as a warning: there’s not enough time, so don’t fuck it up.
I grew up knowing I would die.
I’m still learning how to live.