“To say a person is a happy person or an unhappy person is ridiculous. We are a thousand different kinds of people every hour.”
— Anthony Doerr, Memory Wall: Stories
On the darkest days, I think of how I would end it all.
In blue skies I only see an expanse of gray, brooding clouds suffocating my once clear world.
When I’m at my lowest, I am as tense as a tightly wound coil, as if homeostasis has always been a body torqued in pain.
As much as I try to be strong and stay positive, some days it’s not enough in the face of this disease, this marriage, this economy, this life. It’s not all the time I am this way.
But sometimes it feels like I’m slipping. Slipping. Slipping into an unshakable depression.
Part of it is the situation we are in. Nick and I struggle. A lot. We knew that his career change came with mutual sacrifice – he gave up a decent-paying job with benefits for an internship with no benefits or paid vacation. He’s in school four out of the five weeknights this semester. Then he freelances other nights.
He works himself to the bone. Sacrifice.
And I work, too. My real job, and then come home and work some more. Whatever helps pay the bills. Sacrifice.
Energy is in short supply these days. So after 10-12 hours of work, I don’t always feel up to cooking or cleaning. Sure, I start strong. Sunday, Monday, sometimes even Tuesday, I feel up to doing the basics to keep the house in order and myself and Nick fed. But I’m slipping.
I’m exhausted, in this body that no longer works like it should, that some days can’t even put one foot in front of the other. I’m so tired. And this isn’t your garden-variety, bounce back in the morning from it fatigue. This is can’t even lift a spoon to my mouth tired. The kind of exhaustion that never really goes away. The kind that is best friends with clinical depression.
Why not change the situation? Can’t. Debt would pile up to the sky, practically reaching the moon. We have to keep up this pace, at least for now. But I’m not sure how much longer I can hold on. I’m slipping.
And on those darkest days, I want to leave it all for good.
When I was young, I never thought life would be this much of a struggle. I learned early on that being a grown-up came with responsibilities, but I always expected that sacrifice and hard work would be rewarded eventually. I thought the most difficult decision I would face was what color Miata to get. Or what to name my daughter/son twin combo pack.
I didn’t know I would stumble through the world, that I would work 65-hour weeks with no letup, that Nick and I would never see each other and then only fight during the rare time we did get to spend together.
I never expected that I would face the double whammy of multiple sclerosis and depression. That I would cry more days than I didn’t. That the sky would always appear gray when I shook my fists upward.
On the darkest days, I feel myself slipping. Sacrifice.