I’m crazy and it cost me you.
When we were both undergrads, I knew who I was. We met everyday to have lunch and dinner, the new hall bread, eggs and turkey suya never tasted better. I was head-over-heels in love with you, and you felt the same about me. We weren’t exactly living the dream, but I knew who I was. I was the luckiest guy on Earth.
When I was first diagnosed with clinical depression, you knew who you were. you were my rock, my strength, my lover, you were my refuge. You were my reason, and I was yours. For a year and six months, we had an incredible gift — even when in my darkest hours it felt like the weight of the things I was going through was building up so rapidly it was crushing you with each passing day. Do you know that song? “I’m gonna love you like I’m gonna lose you; I’m gonna kiss you like we’re saying goodbye.” I think we had that, every minute of every day with growing certainty (on my part) for over 600 days, but I knew who I was. I was the guy who treasured every moment, even when it felt like everything he loved and lived for was going bad and would slip through his fingers eventually. It is not pleasant to experience decay, to find yourself exposed to the ravages of an almost daily rain, and to know that you are turning into something feeble.
I’m crazy and it cost me you, my body remembers the pain other people put me through, and it quakes as the sensations arise while my mind callously observes. I did it again, I let my heart speak against the better judgment of head and for a moment there I decided that I would not feel bad about it this time, that maybe I’m not the one who should feel bad about this and that maybe it’s not my fault that I’m like this, sick with my mind threatening to consume me whole. Depression is an ugly, selfish, all-consuming disease. It’s the worst kind of vicious cycle. On some days you feel guilty because you don’t actually have anything tangible to be sad about. That paralyzing guilt makes you feel even more depressed. You alienate those closest to you because you don’t want to bother them with your pain, even though you need them more than ever.
Maybe it’s not me who has to hide, maybe it’s you, maybe it’s you who should realize that all you had to do was be there. Maybe it’s you who needs to realize that you do more staying with me than trying to fix me. But I don’t think that thought lasted more than five minutes, I don’t think the tears needed more than five minutes to start falling, I don’t think my head needed more than five minutes to start beating me up for every little stupid thing I did, for everything I couldn’t control. In less than five minutes, I was sobbing and wishing I didn’t exist.
When you said you were leaving, I knew who I was. I still wake each morning with a punch to the gut, my first conscious thought being, “She’s gone.” I still keep pictures of you, of us on my phone, and sometimes I would scroll from picture to picture, talking to God through my tears, I would say:
“Dear God, I don’t know what you have planned for us. But I’m asking that you would save us. Give us a fresh start. Give us strength for the journey ahead.
Assure us that you’d be with us every step of the way. Fill our empty hearts. Amen”
I can remember three different times, standing in the middle of a room suddenly aware that I had been screaming, no words, just screaming. Some nights, bromazepam pills were like M&Ms and I would swallow them till I was numb just so I could sleep without being racked by the anxiety that comes with the certainty of never finding something as good (I was serious when I said you were proof that God loves me). I knew who I was. I was a pain-filled husk,maybe I still am. I didn’t just grieve, I was Grief.
But the thing about that was, my grief held you in my heart and in my thoughts, all day, every day. I’m in a pretty great space now but it feels like shit because after what you went through, you left before it started to get better. I embraced my pain and sadness because in a way, it is my last connection to you, and you’re worth it. Hadn’t you lived in horrible pain just to be with me? On the day it felt like I had enough and I was bent on “ending it” you cried and begged. Promised it would get better and all I had to do was live for another day. You didn’t have to tell me you would walk through hell to be with me. You did it. So how could I do anything less?
Recently, something has changed. I’m getting help. I find myself doing things, anything, and I notice that I enjoy doing it. I talk to someone, and I’m happy. I wake up looking forward to the day. You might think I would feel good about all this, but I don’t. I feel guilty as hell. I feel like I’m abandoning you. I feel like I haven’t done enough, like I haven’t finished something, but I don’t know what. Its shitty knowing it only gets better from here and I can’t share it with you. I don’t know who I am anymore. I don’t know what to do or who to do it for. I miss my grief.
You’re pathologically happy. A fucking incurable optimist, even when we were in a shit-storm. I remember that week we both emptied our accounts to fix a laptop that you borrowed. We had no other way to get money, but we still met after classes everyday with you flashing that mega-watt smile, carrying that black bag I still won’t admit to hating. You had no (maybe a little more than just a little) tolerance for avoidance or denial, two of my favorite pastimes.
I really do miss you, and if my perception is anything to go by, I’d say it is most definitely not what you want to hear anymore but I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying how I feel. I’m in love with you. Always have, always will. It’s all just stinky without you. I’ll probably never get a do-over but if I could change or choose anything, it would be better mental health or at least the strength to handle it so it doesn’t wear you out as much as it did. I don’t know what to do or why to do it, but, yeah. Whatever it is, it’s time to get on with it.