Becoming a Substance Abuser and Other Fun Times
You can be in the prime of your life as a young professional twenty-something with a buzzing social circle and a designated place in the world, and yet still be depressed. You can be improving yourself mentally and physically in exponential ways but still have moments (or months) of self-doubt. Struggle personally. You can have a great life, but still have unexplicable feelings of sadness that poison your daily day. There are real issues that you face as a person that are impossibly difficult, and no matter how strong you are or how well you take it in stride, you have certainly felt better.
The weight of living.
I’m 22 years old: I go out clubbing and drinking with friends at night, and I take anti-depressants in the morning. It’s not unusual, but I do find it hard to admit. There’s still a lot of stigma surrounding depression and other mental illnesses and the behaviors induced by these conditions. It’s socially acceptable to indulge in alcohol, weed,etc. But to do it regularly, to crave these substances, and (worse yet) to do these things alone screams “I have a problem”. So you just don’t say anything.
Is it a Good or Bad Thing
It could be that we all as human beings make one drastic change to our individual way of life. This can be triggered by the death of someone close to you or your first party or a turbulent relationship. I’m partial to the belief that we all experience that “you’ve changed” moment where we vaguely see ourselves from another person’s perspective and notice that things are different.
It could be that small things do the trick as well. Maybe you’ve been introverted all your life, but recently, you started attending a monthly board game night with some of your coworkers. Maybe you adopted a casual new hobby like yoga or sketching, and over time, your lifestyle begins to alter itself around this new thing you’re doing. Piece by piece, “you’ve changed”. And when you hear someone else say it, you understand what they mean right away, and it quiets you inside.
I’m watching myself become a different person all the time. Sometimes, in one day, I’ll take multiple steps away from who I used to be. Sometimes, it’ll take me three weeks to move at all. The most exhilarating thing is to look back at your old footprints behind you, still weighty dents in the sand, but with every breath of wind, they start to smooth at the edges and you know how old they are.
The biggest change I’ve seen in myself is the fact that I can see myself objectively at all. When you’re younger, you are so present in your body and so affected by permanence. Everything that touches you leaves a scar. Everything hurts! When you’re young, its impossible to take a break from yourself, its overwhelming. Young people are giddy and gloomy and delirious and dramatic, and then when you get older, all of that just melts into one gray feeling that doesn’t feel too awful, but its not that nice either. And when you’re older, its so much easier to escape the place in yourself.
Substance Abuse is Everything
And everyone indulges in something. When I first get to work, I’m only living as long as it takes me to fill up a coffee cup. Then when that’s gone, I can stomach the tasks of the day, world news, and the fact that I didn’t get enough sleep last night. That’s my first substance abuse. My necessary ritual, my crippling addiction. Some people don’t need it, but they’ll abuse something else like a morning jog or an audiobook on their commute to work. We’re actively trying to escape ourselves on a daily basis. Just socializing with another individual can be the kind of high that gets us through the day. Drawl information and witty comebacks can get us out of our own heads. Going out to the same Ukrainian place for lunch every other day is your little indulgence, your sneaky, little pill. Or maybe you just take 16 Xanax a day. Just don’t let us see you on your days between the last pill and the prescription refill.
We all worry how people will look at us once they know “just how you do it every day”. Even though, not a single soul can really point fingers, they still do. It’s just human nature to be competitive and look for potential weaknesses. To us, everyone we know is just a few unkind phrases away from becoming an enemy. Whatever you’ve been depending on, keep substance-abusing it. The main thing is that you’re coping. Otherwise you become the guy that had an epic mental breakdown on Wednesday and ended up very fired. When he could’ve just jerked off in the morning or something.
There’s nothing gross about surviving.
But god, don’t be the Reason people have to cope
The only rule is: don’t hurt people. Sure, it happens, and sure, sometimes its genuinely out of our control. But don’t go out of your way to do it. Don’t make it your Thing to humiliate another person into the ground. Nobody expects you to start turning into some uplifting-ass, motivational speaker. Just stop kicking down that other kid’s Lego structure. Stop giving people shit for liking Taylor Swift songs. Yeah, you’re right, it’s lame, but it’s their cup of coffee. The truth is, you’re already on a lot of people’s minds as it is. Your family worries about you constantly, and it bothers them that you never call. That’s the real Reason your mother still half-heartedly goes to church every Sunday. You’re the Reason your ex smokes a couple cigarettes a day, you’re the customer that the Starbucks barista dreads, and you don’t give these others a second thought. Don’t add more names to a ledger of people that have one more thing to cope with. Give your dealer a break when he doesn’t get back to you for a couple days. If that girl ghosted you, don’t keep reminding her that you exist with your scalding quadruple texts. She knows that she hurt your feelings, she’s living with that knowledge.