A Normal Life is Boring
I have become obsessed with my recovery. I feel like it’s a good thing to become obsessed with, on the whole, but some days when I am neurotically tagging and cataloging my days like cultures in petri dishes so that all my toil might yield the the mystical formula for Happiness(TM), I wonder if from the outside my fascination looks like mania. Am I the person convinced they’re on the right track, keeping and noting and preserving words and thoughts and moments like a mad scientist, only to discover my collection is trash I’ve cultivated from waste bins? Am I Madame Curie or Dr. Frankenstein?
Is this going to kill me?
Today’s catalog entry, though, comes with a spoon because I know next time this thing in me gets bad, I will want to eat these words:
I think the daily ennui of existing is the worst part.
Recovery, when you’re in the thick of it, is literally a matter of life and death, which is pretty stimulating. Not thrilling like an amusement park ride or the butterflies before a date, but stimulating as in it takes all your energy. It is consuming — everything else is secondary. And when you finally resolve to survive this thing, sometimes a resolve that gets checked daily in the mornings because it doesn’t always show up for work, the power is intoxicating. Look how strong I am, look how far I have come, look what I have done with my soul and my body.
And eventually you get to the point where there’s days like today when the fight appears to mostly be over, that you are not in survival mode, and it is not stimulating, it is not consuming, it is not exciting. There’s no mental head check, “Do I have the strength to go to work today?” because it’s become a given. There’s no patting yourself on the back for making friendly chatter in the elevator with a coworker even though you are visibly ill, because you are not visibly ill. Lunch is no longer a thrilling benchmark in the day you made it to because frankly now that you can work a whole day easily, you look down and realize it’s already 1:15 in the afternoon and you don’t actually need to go cry quietly to yourself in one of the bathrooms on a different floor from where your office is because last time you cried in the bathroom on your floor, the CDO found you and told your boss. Well meaningly, of course, but there’s only so much PTO you can afford to take on “normal” days when “normal” is a bench mark set by “didn’t pass out this morning.” There’s no grand romance in making yourself shrimp scampi for dinner. There’s no glee in blow drying your hair after the shower. There’s no relieved sigh when you sink into your bed at a ridiculously early time and pop two sleeping pills as a treat to yourself because you made it through the day.
Instead, you ask yourself, “This is what I bothered surviving for?” I slogged through all that so that I could get a mediocre night sleep, then wake up and throw my hair in a bun and only sort of try at my make up? I fought and crawled and cried to sit at a desk doing the same thing I did yesterday? I went through appointment after appointment just to go home at 5 and wonder what to do with the rest of my Tuesday night? And all of this, just to do it again tomorrow?
You find yourself asking what healthy people live for, because you forgot for so long what it was like to be healthy that now that you got there, you don’t know what you do with yourself. You idly wonder if this is why alcoholics go back to drinking because dysfunction is so much more interesting, and then you panic and fret you’ll become addicted to being unhealthy, and that’s the story of how I ended up tagging today as awful. God help me, I don’t want to go back into the dark. I just didn’t think it’d be so damn plain out here in the light.