“Are you happy?” must be the question that I’ve asked my friends the most. Whenever they tell me about a life changing event, I ask them about all the practical questions – “Is he a good boyfriend?”, “Are you happy in the new apartment?”, “Do you like what you’re studying?”; and afterwards, I ask them the one true question, the only one that really matters: “Are you happy?”
Happy people are a mystery to me. I have dated two – mostly – happy men. I have – some – happy friends. I admire them. And I have been analyzing them the best I could, to reach the conclusion that I don’t get it. That I never will. But that I’m happy that they are happy.
“Are you sad?” is what my friends ask me when they want to understand my depression.
“I guess” is the short answer. Because I can’t always take the time to explain the depression. And I’m really tired of hearing that “a talented, beautiful and smart person like you shouldn’t be depressed”.
But I’m not sad. I just have a monster inside of me, and it wants me to die. It pops up on the most random moments, just to remind me that happiness isn’t for me, that my life isn’t worth living, and that death is the only solution. On “good” days, the days that I fill with all kinds of activities, the monster is too tired to speak. Those days are the days when I manage to ignore the depression and the suicidal tendencies. On other days, “bad” days, the monster is the only thing that matters, and it takes over my life.
The monster feeds on my thoughts. If I find the time to think, everything goes wrong. That’s why I knew, on Tuesday, after staying home for a day, that I wouldn’t be able to get out of my house until I was forced to. I made a mistake, on Tuesday, because I didn’t plan anything, and I spent my day “resting”. Resting means thinking. Thinking means feeding the monster.
I can’t sleep without music or TV shows. I can’t sleep if I’m not focusing on something. Because silence means thinking. And thinking means feeding the monster. I welcome the days where I’m so sick that I have to take painkillers. Because painkillers help me fall asleep, and they stop the nightmares. But I’m careful not to get addicted, so I only take them when my body really hurts. So I have a lot of nightmares. Nightmares about the past, nightmares about the future, nightmares that wake me up in tears. Mostly about the past, though. Mostly about the traumas.
My nightmares leave me anxious, nauseous, and empty. After one or two in the same night, I become afraid of sleeping. So I sometimes wake up at 5 AM, and start doing other things. That’s mostly how I find the time to “do it all”. Work, school, friends, writing. And that’s also why I’m always exhausted.
Some days, I function perfectly. Other days, I cry for hours, because my brain wants me to die, and my body hurts, and I’m nauseous, and I can’t breathe, and there’s a hole where my heart is supposed to be, and all I want is for all of it to stop. So I cry until I’m exhausted, and then I fall asleep. Sometimes, this goes on for days, and sometimes weeks. But I always woman up when I have to go to work. And when I have mandatory classes. And I try my hardest to always be there for my friends.
But because I don’t let my depression destroy my life, because I still go outside and fulfill my responsibilities, because some days I function perfectly, people – and especially, my family – can’t understand that I’m on the verge of suicide at least once a month. That is the biggest problem, when you’re a functional depressed person. Since the monster is in my head, nobody sees it. And that, fatally, also feeds the monster.
“Are you sad?”
No, I’m not sad. I’m just exhausted from fighting against the part of my brain that wants me to die.