It’s bothering me that I am thinking about how to explain this to you. So I am just going to fucking write it. I want to smoke. I want to be like everyone else. And that’s never come easy to me. So saying you like that I can’t makes me feel like you like that I have struggles that feel insurmountable, that I usually feel like I am a failure, and that I will never ever be like a normal person. I have always felt strange, apart, and abnormal/defective. I have never fit in outside a psychiatric setting and that happened when I was thirty years old. Until then I was never similar to anyone I had ever met. I was completely alone. I’m socially inept and physically clumsy, estranged from my body because it feels like a foreign entity. I am only smart. Actually brilliant and I was incredibly precocious. But decades of stress, anxiety, and depression actually deteriorate the brain, causing premature cognitive decline. I can’t remember. I can’t recall the word I want to say or spell it. It’s difficult to focus or concentrate. I am not creative anymore. So I have and am losing the only thing positive I possessed in life. You started drinking at 13, but at 13 I decided life was more misery than joy. That nothing in the future of my life is worth staying alive to experience it. It’s my most steadfast belief, my truth. So, you don’t understand how frustrated I feel about not being able to connect, find meaning, accomplish goals, and feel happy. I can’t change my reality or alter my truth. That is my only reliable experience in three decades. I don’t like that. So I worry about failing at a physically activity as mundane as breathing in smoke. I find it difficult to accomplish and therefore am humiliated that I can’t do something almost everyone else can.
I get pretty jealous of lovers, friends, and even relatives when I hear about their plans and activites. They go to dinners, parties, out on the town, day trips, and vacations. It seems like I am always home alone.
I was lucky to have 3 friends overseas that spent actual time in the same physical space as me. They had other friends and went to lots of dinners and parties, but they still made time for me. Friendless and unlikeable me, the woman always sad and complaining.
The first party I was invited to was after I was 30. Before that, I didn’t have any social interactions except with nerds, geeks, future-librarians and expats.
Being socially awkward, I have always struggled with small talk, superficial conversation, mean-spirited remarks, and the natural flow of conversation. If I recount an event, I always have witty or insightful replies observations and replies. But I only thought them rather than saying them. Sometimes the perfect response comes to me later, after ruminating on the event. That of course is perfectly useless.
That social ineptitude doesn’t actually get better in closer relationships that have grown over time. It’s really that I can communicate only with a minority of accommodating human beings.
Additionally, I have a problem being present in the moment. Life is on the other side of a glass window. I see life. I study life. I do not experience life. I overanalyze everything as it’s happening, trying to draw lessons from the past while anticipating other people’s reactions. So mostly, I am completely lost in the worry and confusion in my head all the time. It’s a wonder I have noticed the sky is blue, right?
Actually in aloneness, I can notice my physical surroundings. But that is because I am a simple observer. There is still the indirectness of all experience of reality being perceived through our limited senses. But at least complicated human interaction isn’t in my way.
My conclusion is that my inability to act in coordination with the people and immediate environment in front of me makes it impossible to relish the fun times I believe other people to be having. If even I had the same social opportunities other people seem to enjoy so easily, I can’t connect with truly being a part of it. I feel self-conscious and out of place, barely managing my unabated anxiety. There’s simply a component in me lacking. And I am very jealous of normal people who have it.
I remember, after a religious conversion, seeing the sky. It was blue.
It was as if the world had suddenly burst into vibrant color. I was Dorothy and I found myself in Oz when previously I had only known sepia Kansas.
I took this as evidence of the correctness of my new religion. Years later, upon reflection, I realize that I had found something more powerful, although more vague and mysterious: hope.
My life prior had been fully greedy, violent, resigned, and indifferent. My life changed at this time and I gained some freedom. That freedom gave birth to a fragile hope. And the world bloomed in color as it became more beautiful than I had ever known it could be.
The world was the same, of course, but I had new eyes.
But the dark world of my past came back to haunt me. This time it was more menacing, powerful, and hellish than I had ever felt before. It was a long time of grief.
Again, the reality we interact within and share remained as it is and I was the change that threw my life into chaos. Whether stolen, forgotten, or abandoned, the result was the same; my hope was gone.
The bright blue sky, same wherever it is visible-no matter where you are-was fading to some pale gray tinged derivative. I would still try to find that perfect sky from five years ago: tropical beaches, small boats on the ocean, fields with distant horizons.
But my hopeless was gray. The weather was brutal winters. The kind that bite deep into your bones. Or it was dingy, soaking rain with no umbrella. Or oppressive heat that sizzles and bakes away energy and time.
The places around me were full of ugliness and cruelty. Or indifference to me, as I became isolated from life.
I saw joy and love others’ experienced from life as if separated by a thick panel of glass. It was clear. My vision didn’t seem distorted. And the scene was somewhat familiar. But even if it had been strange, it would have been radiant still, beautiful still.
My life on the other side of the glass was dark. Trapped in this small cage, I couldn’t find any way out.And as days, then months, passed, my energy started evaporating. Trying was harder as hope died. As it was dying, fear crept in. After fear made a home named anxiety in my heart, resignation settled in.
Isolated, in pain, hopeless, despairing-that is how I existed. And the days and months added up to years. As I moved geographically, my despair and grief packed up and moved along with me. I was chased across the world, through time zones and countries, by a dark shadow only I felt.
Myself was dead. Somehow, while I was drowning in intense pain, who I was became less than a memory. It was as if she had never existed.
The conscious moments were I chose the wrong instead of the right had led me somewhere inescapable. My mistakes that created despair that radiated outward to everyone in connection to me. I was only sobbing, messy, dirty, and disgusting.
And because hope had already died, anxiety taken rooted, and resignation crowned, this hell was the only reality possible. That glass wasn’t one-sided. Those who looked back at me felt as helpless as I knew I was. No one could help, many tried, the only ones who survived were the ones who gave free gifts of love over and over to an unchanging, unrescued prisoner.
This grief is called depression.
This was the darkest depression I had ever felt in my short life that had already many times been tainted by darkness.