I apologize in advance for the disorganized and melancholic nature of this post. It’s not really a fun or interesting one, it’s just something I felt like I needed to write about and get off my chest.
When you’ve spent the past three years of your life existing in a sort of languid fog of sadness , self loathing and paralyzing numbness, feeling even just ‘okay’ for a few months seems like this massive feat, partially because it is, but mostly because when you’re living in this state of mind, contentment seems like some kind of distant dream or coveted impossibility. For the past few months, I’ve managed to achieve ‘okayness.’ There were even days where I was legitimately happy with myself. Mostly though, I was absolutely thrilled that I still had the ability to feel that emotion and that somehow I had crawled out of the dingy hole I’d been rotting in. I hadn’t felt that way in literally years. Lately though, the best words I can find to sum up my feelings are, “Well, fuck…”
I’ve been finding that ‘okayness’ becoming harder and harder to access. Contentment only comes in intermittent bursts, my smiles feel fake, I make stupid jokes sometimes and no matter how hard people are laughing, I remain straight-faced, not because I am a master of straight-faced humor, but because in the past month or so, it seems that nothing I do can make me happy. I reread old blog posts and start blushing with humiliation because it all just sounds like pseudo-intellectual, mawkish bullshit now. Hours of my time are wasted staring at blank Word documents because starting the story I want to write just feels so futile. I haven’t written a good song all summer and what’s even scarier, is that I pick up my guitar less and less these days. Even back when I was suicidal I still played.
The problem isn’t just the sadness and numbness though, it’s also about the fear. I don’t trust sadness to just go away anymore. I used to be able to assume that sadness was a fleeting emotion. It would pass, I’d be okay, it wasn’t anything to worry about. Last time I got sad, it stuck around for three years. The feelings I’m experiencing now are frighteningly familiar, and I keep suppressing them and trying not to feel them because I just want to be okay and it doesn’t work.
College is starting next month. Aside from worrying about starting this new chapter of my life depressed and numb, I am terrified. And I know I’m supposed to be terrified. Everyone is terrified of college. But I’m terrified of my inevitable failure. It’s not just that I’m terrified of the unfamiliarity of college. My terror is not a question, it’s a statement. It says “You will not make friends, you’ll fail your classes, you’ll eat every meal alone, you won’t join any of those cool clubs you were interested in, you’ll make everyone hate you including yourself and that is why you should feel terrified.” That just keeps circling in my head, keeping me up at night.
So I’ve been feigning happiness in attempt to run from my sadness. A few weeks ago, at college orientation, I adopted this persona of enthusiasm and sociability and pretended to be having fun. I met some really nice people that way, but they didn’t meet me. My journal has been sitting untouched in my top desk drawer because I’m afraid if I write in it, the true feelings will come out. Next week, I have a five day outdoor orientation for college that I signed up for where I’ll go backpacking with some other incoming freshman, and I’m sure I’ll spend the whole time pretending to be as outgoing and friendly as I can and basing my first friendships on lies.
Some part of me feels guilty for not being happy. I am so privileged. I have no reason to feel like this. I also feel like I owe it to those around me to be okay, like if I let my sadness show, I’ll drag everyone else down with me. And I feel selfish for thinking about my own emotions so much because technically I’m being self absorbed. But I’m also kicking myself for lying to everyone I meet. I guess I just feel like, by existing, I’m doing a disservice to the world, and the only bright side is that at least I was able to cut the bullshit for long enough to admit to myself that I am not okay right now, and as much as I really want this to end up being a false alarm, it is entirely possible that I’m not going to be ‘okay’ for awhile.