From the Bottom of the Black Hole
I just logged onto Medium, and noticed that it’s been 20 days since I’ve written something here. And I almost couldn’t believe it.
But it doesn’t surprise me. Time has a weird habit of flying by when you’re at the bottom of the black hole. And the first thing to go when my depression kicks in is my creativity, my passion, my stream of ideas, my ability to put in the work to put words together coherently.
I haven’t written any fiction since Donald Trump was elected president. I’ve written very little of anything in the past two months. No poetry, no articles. I’ve done some reading, but any time I try to create, I feel like a broken glass. Whatever goodness I try to fill myself with drains away.
I have no energy. My sleeping and waking up are dictated entirely by my body. When I’m too tired to stay away, I fall asleep. When it gets too hot, I wake up. This creates a by-and-large fucked up sleep schedule … something like 18 hours up, 10 hours down. Any attempts to reset my schedule are completely futile.
I have left the house exactly once since the semester ended and I went to my Mom’s graduation on June 9th. It was for an hour long errand into town. A visit to the Notary; a trip to the grocery store. I have spent about 90% of the last couple of month within the same 1m². Excepting trips to the bathroom and kitchen, of course. This sounds like an exaggeration; it isn’t.
None of this is by choice. This is where poverty and depression intersect. Staring at the same wall, the same screen.
The best moments are when the numbness kicks in. I’m almost able to forget how much my ass hurts from sitting so much. I forget that there’s a whole world out there. I can focus on the book or the TV show in front of me. I watched 10 seasons of CSI: Miami in about two weeks. I’ve watched most of Star Trek: Voyager this week. Sometimes, I am able to lose myself. I am grateful for these moments.
The worst moments are when I’m most aware of how empty my life is. I see something on Facebook or Twitter, and it’s like I’ve been run through with a dozen spears. People out there have friends that they spend time with. They spend time with each other, go to shows, have parties, take selfies, kiss, fall in love, have friends, sign book deals, see exciting movies. There is a whole world out there that I don’t get to belong to. Whether it’s because I’m too poor, too fat, too ugly, or just don’t have the right brain chemistry, I don’t know. Probably a combination of all of the above.
A few hours ago, I was reminded that it’s almost October. I’m going to be another year older, and will have absolutely nothing to show for it. No new book, no book deal, no money, no love story, no child, no nothing. Just another year older. Another year that’s been absolutely lost, with nothing redeeming or worth remembering. Another empty year to throw on the pile of all those years before.
I can’t help but wonder: will my life be worth living someday? I don’t think so. And even if it is, will it be good enough to make up for the big pile of empty years? I doubt it.
In a few weeks, I will be expected to go back to school — assuming I can get the issues with my financial aid figured out, which seems unlikely. People will ask me, in the course of politeness, what I did over the summer. When I tell them “oh, nothing special”, they will assume that I had a restful and relaxing summer. They will assume that it was full of rest, healing, and peace; drinks on the beach, bonfires, and late night talks with friends — all of the things that encompass a polite “nothing”.
They won’t know that I’m speaking literally. They won’t realize that the highlights of my summer were Facebook-triggered moodswings and feelings of envy directed toward a holographic doctor on a fictional starship who, somehow, manages to have a better life than I do.