Where Do We Go From Here?

For lent this year, I wanted to improve myself physically and mentally. I gave up junk food (except in cases where it might involve wasting food) and I vowed to stay positive. The latter one fell apart fairly quickly.

As someone with both depression and anxiety issues, the last forty (-seven) days tried that. And I’m pretty sure it won.

Three weeks ago, my coworker had a mental breakdown of her own, leaving me alone to run a class of 4-year-olds. Now, for normal people, this would be a little stressful, but manageable. After all, four years on the job, one should have enough skills to handle children, parents, events, all that good stuff.

Unfortunately, when you go from being a background character in someone else’s story, to a secondary character, and then suddenly you’re a main character all within two weeks, and on top of that you’re prone to the anxiety known as social, that’s soap opera level drama waiting to happen. That’s like going from a cashier to a department supervisor to a manager of a whole dang store in fourteen days. It’s not fun. And when no one gave you any kind of instructions of what to do now that you have that new position, it’s even less fun.

For three weeks, I handled lesson plans, making copies, assembling crafts, a career day and a class party, and directing a TA who somehow managed to dress herself every morning.

Of course that’s not the worst of it.

Brother-in-Law, as previously discussed, never came back. For a whole week we prayed and pleaded but it wasn’t good enough. Not even Johnny Cash could bring him back.

And just my luck I ran into the dads of one of the kids in my class who then told his wife who asked how I was doing. What do I say? “No, I’m not okay. I just lost my brother and I don’t want to be here right now but I can’t leave because the main teacher abandoned me and I have to be here to take care of the classroom because if I don’t then who will?” I’m pretty sure she told the other parents but they don’t know me well enough to bring it up. Like I said, they just barely started seeing more of me. in the meantime, I have to keep going to work. My boss’ll be disappointed in me for being so upset at work, but who else is going to take care of Zumba? Of yoga?

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t know how normal people feel when they’re depressed. I know I can’t handle it. Not emotionally, not physically, not mentally. If I could, I wouldn’t need Zoloft as my midnight snack. My entire life I made myself ignore it and keep going. The world won’t stop for me and regardless of whether or not I want to curl up under my bed and hide, no one cares or even likes me enough to care. As the old adage goes, everyone has problems but you don’t see them complaining. This always brought me down even more, as it caused a vicious circle of doubt and self-hatred.

Now, because of the depression, I don’t know when it’s acceptable to be depressed or how much depression is acceptable.

You don’t have a job even after applying to three hundred last year? Can’t be depressed about that. Pet died? You can be sad, but not depressed. Your supervisors don’t know you exist? Don’t be a baby. Your car got stolen? Yeah that sucks, but you don’t have to be that sad about it.

I’ve never had anything this bad happen to me. So what’s one to do? Can I sleep for hours on end like I used to do? Am I allowed to forego eating, as I have been known to do? Can I crawl under a table or sit in a corner and hide for hours like I did in high school? Would anyone judge me if I just left the house and walked for a few hours in hopes of getting lost, like I did before? Can I ignore the outside world and turn off my phone and simply keep to myself for a few days? I haven’t done that in a while. Do I have to keep talking to people and smile like nothing’s wrong or can I keep my head down and avoid conversations like I used to do? At what point will I have to stop? Can I avoid people in fear of someone asking, “Are you okay?” or “I’m sorry for your loss”? Can I be depressed for as long as I want or will people tell me, “We don’t actually care anymore,” like I’ve been told before? Or can I force myself to stifle every though about him, pretend he never existed, cut anything that reminds me of him, and if thoughts do come up, pretend they’re a distant memory of someone I used to know a long time ago? Because that, I’ve been told, is selfish and unhealthy. But it’s also gotten me this far in life, so that’s also debatable.

Right now I want to hide. Hide for a while and pretend I don’t exist anymore. I don’t want to work, I don’t want to write, I don’t want to eat, I don’t want to talk, I don’t want to go out, I don’t want to be. I want to sleep. I want to stay in my fantasy world for a while, where I don’t have to worry.

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