I have not left the state in over 3 years; I didn’t realize until recently that this is not something I like. I say that even as I actively plot ways to stay home as long as possible before going to work tomorrow. I am shut-in and a homebody and would rather hide from the world than have it take any notice of me, but I also want to leave and go do things, outside things, near-people things, maybe some things that involve water that isn’t boiled and mixed with delicious, delicious herbs.
I wonder how many people relate to this weird feeling I’ve been having lately. I’ve suddenly both felt like I’ve been stuck in one place way too long without a break, but when I try to zoom in on the specifics to pinpoint when exactly the stuck-ness started, I can’t. Maybe it’s easier to see how much we need a break from what we see everyday when a break actually becomes an option.
And a break is finally an option, at least for me.
In a few weeks, I’m going on vacation with my partner and their family, and this has given me a few things to think about. 1) Wow, these wonderful people are really gambling that they can like me for a week without a break. 2) The closer I get to leaving, the more I want to already be gone. 3) Are there other things like this?
That last one is the question that is going to keep me awake through the night and make me grumpy all day tomorrow. If it took me until I had the option of leaving town to actually realize I really wanted to get away, then does that mean there are other things I don’t realize I want? What are those things? Can I have them? Can someone tell me what they are so I can devote all my time and energy and laughably limited resources to obtaining them? Like every philosopher and angsty teen past midnight, I have to wonder what else is there to life beyond what I have now.
You know those pens that have all the different little clicky bits that make different colors ink come out? I know those exist. I could probably get one if I wanted to. That knowledge does not fill me with anticipation and energy and unfamiliar excitement. But what if I take a moment and consider something I never thought would be possible and decide it can be mine. Hmmm finally having a hat that doesn’t make me look like a stoner? No, that doesn’t do it for me, and maybe too unrealistic. Cheesecake? No, too nebulous. I can’t decide if I’d want to eat it or learn to make it or drop it off a skyscraper. Skyscraper, there’s something to that one. Why is the idea of a colossal building appealing to me? Is it because it’s so strange and frighteningly tall like nothing around me could be? Do I want to stand at the synthetic peak of humanity’s world and spit on the invisible people below? No, I already decided I didn’t want to get high or I’d just get the hat. Still, getting things doesn’t sound as appealing as this idea of doing things. That’s new. I want to do things.
I haven’t wanted to do things in years.
Or, I have, but not in the same way. I’m the kind of depressed person that will say they want to go ice skating with the same level of intent as I’d have when I tell an acquaintance “we should hang out!” I wanted to do things, but there wasn’t any practical energy behind it. I’d want to do something, but there was the same chance of me actually doing that thing as there was of me ever returning a call. Strangely, however, I don’t feel quite the same lately. I feel like I actually have the energy to work on the things I want to do. Consumption, whether it’s food or buying shit I don’t need, has been my way of giving myself some form of reward for minimal effort because I didn’t have the time or energy or ability to put effort toward bigger rewards because all my energy was being taken by just getting out of bed and appearing functional. That’s what my specific brand of depression feels like: I want to do things, but actually doing them is an abstraction that cannot ever be real.
And the fact that I don’t feel that way anymore doesn’t mean I’m all better and the depression is all done and now I’m going to be a big happy forever and ever and fuck the therapists that said this might be something I struggle with all my life.
What it means is that I have this nice little window where things get to be a bit easier before they’re difficult and abstract again. In describing these windows in which the depression may have momentarily retreated, I’ll say exactly what I’ll say should I ever encounter one of those cathedrals with the enormous stained glass and all the weight of time on them: I really dig these windows.