To Complicate the Uncomplicated: Why I don’t believe in Mental-Health Days.
About two weeks or so ago I was seeing a guy. When we initially met I didn’t feel that into him. We started talking on Okcupid, and for every message I sent in the course of our conversation he would send 5. I thought that it was too eager and over-bearing, and for awhile we didn’t speak. Then he messages me again after about a month, still over-eager but I eventually forgave it due to the fact that our conversations were engaging and intriguing; something not very easy to come by in the online-dating world.
He asked me out to a concert that weekend and, long story short, I ended up being much more into him than I’d thought I’d be. We spent the following weekend together at his apartment, watching weird movies, listening to music, reading comic books, smoking pot, and gettin’ in the goo. It was literally the perfect weekend.
Assuming that this would be a regular thing that would evolve into something long-term, we started planning ahead towards the future in terms of activities. But I started to notice that something was off because, whereas he normally messaged me constantly, he was only messaging my sporadically. Since we had communicated our insecurities so well with one another, I texted him asking if his feelings had started to wane since we had been intimate. This was something that I had regularly experienced, and I had hoped that it wasn’t the case despite the feelings I was having to the contrary. But he assured me, almost surprisingly, that no, that wasn’t the case. He said that he was busy but that he was looking forward to seeing me.
The journey to his apartment that day didn’t start off well, as it was a literal journey. I got lost trying to escape traffic on the way to the metro, then when I was going down the escalator to the platform I realized that I had forgot something in my car, taking more money off of my fare card, all the while having to endure the delays that are now the norm with the DC metro.
When I finally reached the station I was relieved. As soon as I made it up the escalator I knew everything would be OK because goofball would be there waiting for me.
Until I made it off the escalator and his bitch-ass was no where to be found.
It wasn’t that he was a long way from the metro that bothered me, but the fact that despite all the lovey-dovey exchanges he somehow didn’t think it necessary to meet me at the station in order to make the walk enjoyable and in tandem as opposed to objective and alone.
I get to his apartment, all the while making and acting on the decision to not be moody despite the ordeal getting there. He’s very sweet and sensitive and just got out of a volatile relationship, I thought, so I’m not going to make this a problem just to temporarily make myself feel vindicated.
But then I started to notice that something was indeed off.
In between exchanging creative ideas and musings, our conversations were very affectionate. The things we said to one another were so sickeningly saccharine that, if you called poison control because you ingested a toxic substance then they would instruct you to read our messages in order to induce vomiting.
But when I went to cuddle with him while we we’re watching a movie, he didn’t even touch me. I tried to kiss him and he said his gums were sore from brushing his teeth too hard. Eventually, as we were about to leave to go see an L7 concert I flat-out asked him what was wrong.
He said, albeit very scattered and inconsistent, that he didn’t want to be in a relationship, wasn’t feeling very physical, and just couldn’t articulate his feelings.
I was devastated. But first, I was angry. He didn’t seem to have an answer for why he couldn’t tell me this long before I came over, or when I asked him if everything was fine and if he felt like he was being pressured. Then, it was no, everything was great and he didn’t feel pressured.
Now, its, “well…partially.”
Needless to say, that night was terrible, and the weekend was ten times worse.
You know when someone fucks up, knows that they fucked up, but won’t admit that they fucked up and starts making overtures of friendliness? He maintained that he still wanted to be friends but I figured, why the fuck would I want to be friends with someone who straight up lied about how they felt about me? How the fuck am I supposed to trust you? Keep in mind, hes one of those people who will apologize profusely for things that are just accidents, like spilling a glass of water, or bumping into you, but was impatient and aggravated with me for being visibly emotional over something that he did that directly upset me.
I didn’t want to go home and have my parents in my business over why I came back so early, or take the metro after dark, so I spent that weekend doing everything I could to just…sleep. I smoked every 5 minutes, and chased Advil PM’s with riesling. I got about 3 actual hours of sleep. I felt trapped and alone. It reminded me of when I’d be at my ex’s house and he’d pressure me to get drunk with him (a shot of Evan Williams chased with ginger ale every 15 minutes) and then verbally abuse me. The last thing I wanted was to turn this guy into an escape, because I knew that I was in a good place with myself when we initially went out, but it still manged to hearken back to one of the most depressing times in my life.
When I got back home on Sunday, even though I wasn’t feeling the callousness from his presence, I was still very much depressed. I had very little food in my stomach and was tired and puffy due to all of the stress and crying in such a short amount of time. When I talked to my best friend about it, I was feeling a little better, but that night I sobbed uncontrollably. When things didn’t work out with guys, I might’ve been sad but I didn’t cry. I had only gone out on one or two dates with them anyway, and didn’t click with them on the level that I had with this person. They weren’t worth anything other than an exasperated sigh.
But this guy, it felt like, took the life out of me. I really thought that this was it and wasn’t the least bit projecting because he had established a mutual interest and excitement. This was so much worse than the dreaded ghosting (his musical moniker is SLOWGHOST so perhaps I should’ve seen this display of soullessness coming), because I was given assurance that the negative inklings I was having were based off of paranoia, when they were actually true to life. This is ghosting and gaslighting getting together and forming a loving and supportive relationship that produces a child that tries to eat its way to your heart, pinky toe first.
To reiterate, it was SUNDAY NIGHT. Meaning, I’d have to go to work in a few hours with this still fresh in my mind and burning its way through every orifice on my face.
But in the night, I found that at least one thing momentarily held the tears back long enough for me to get enough for m. A simple, yet potent phrase came to mind that just let everything make sense the more that I repeated it to myself.
Fuck everyone who isn’t me.
Fuck everyone who isn’t me.
FUCK EVERYONE WHO ISN’T ME.
So why don’t I believe in mental health days? Because despite the fact that I felt so mentally checked out, to the point where I ran over a bag of leaves on the curb before leaving the house before work and was moving at a snails pace throughout the work day, I felt 10 times better than I would have if I had just decided to call in sick and languish in bed all day.
Sure, some people can use their mental health days for the purpose of re-centering through constructive outlets, but I know me. I knew for a fact that I wasn’t going to do shit but be miserable. I would sleep, or just drift through consciousness and unconsciousness, til 3pm, if I was going to eat it would be something junky, and just do the bare minimum until I could fall asleep again. That is how I’ve spent all of my mental health days, and it did fuck all to address my problem. Maybe it quieted it for a bit, but that was it.
Now, did I go the entire day with breaking down? No. There were multiple times where I had to huff it to the bathroom because the tears just wouldn’t stop coming, and couldn’t leave until they stopped just enough that it didn’t look like I was crying. I just repeated my mordant mantra until its belief was reinforced and headed back to my desk. Lather, rinse, repeat. The last thing I wanted was attention because that would’ve made me lose it. I didn’t want to be made to feel like something was wrong when it wasn’t really that bad.
And thats when it hit me.
Despite everything that I was feeling, there was something to be said about the fact that I didn’t want attention because I knew that it would make things worse.
This was 100% normal. Everything that I was feeling was a normal part of human functions. Something happened and I was upset, very upset, but it wasn’t so terrible that the world needed to stop and take notice. Just because I was crying didn’t mean that I was inconsolable, unstable, or crazy.
I. Was. Just. Upset.
Society has a very misguided and insecure way of treating the expression of negative emotion as a problem, rather than as a sign of humanity. In a way, this has us convinced that if we’re not feeling 100%, despite knowing the source of our dejection, then theres something seriously wrong with us and we need to have it addressed immediately.But just because we are not in control of our emotions doesn’t mean that they control us.
I found that if I just go about my day normally while taking pause to get myself together, then I’d be fine. Its when I’m treated as abnormal for having the gall to be vulnerable in a public setting that I become unhinged, because I’m convinced that all the attention that I do not want, but am inadvertently drawing, speaks poorly of my mental faculties.
But even though I needed to maintain normalcy, I still needed to know that I was awesome enough in my own way that I didn’t need this bullshit. Looking back on it, I’m better for having met him because it allowed me to finally reach my limit and say, y’know what, I’m not dealing with this. I’m not dealing with people who don’t know what they want because they don’t feel in control of their own lives. Things were going too fast? Well, I only went as far as you were willing to go and asked if you wanted to stop. You said no, so I kept it moving. I was manipulative? Funny, because I’d say that getting me to your apartment to hang out with you under false pretenses, and calling me too sensitive when I point this out is pretty damn shady.
Some people are just content with making things complicated even when life already does a good job of that. Maybe its to give themselves a better backstory, or make themselves seem more intelligent and mysterious than they really are. I may have a long way to go, but I know that intelligent people are those who can simplify life’s complexities in order to make them easier for everyone to understand, not the other way around. Someone I thought was it turned out to be shit. There was no conspiracy by the cosmos to fuck me over, and I don’t think that this person intentionally set out to cause me harm.
It just didn’t happen for me.
So…Fuck it, back to square one.