Confessions of a Blue Brown Lady

@ clinical depression: I want my 20s back.

This will not be a short write up about post-grad blues. This is not a story about job-hunting or finding the right career. This is about confronting reality with the quickness — then painfully slow. This is a documentation of all the conversations with myself, the nights spent laughing at my own jokes and grieving long gone bits of sanity, days spent killing my own vibe and trying too hard. The characterization of someone who’s been asleep in a warm body for the past few years.

In the early Spring of my senior year of college, I met with my psychiatrist. I had to explain to her, amid sudden tears, that my paranoia had manifested into visions I could no longer deny.

Paranoia: fear of my mother dying, fear of an irrelevant death, fear that I am trapped in my body and will lose control, fear of wasting time. One late night, I powered up the last hill on my bike ride home. My heart leapt, thinking I saw a boy staring at me at the sharp turn. In my apartment, I would spend moments staring into dark corners of my kitchen, my bedroom, the crevices in the bathroom, thinking there was something staring back. I wanted to claim my space to live among spirits. This is crazy, but I could not help but play along. When I was prescribed my anti-anxiety medication, I could barely call my mother because I assumed it would be the last time I’d hear her voice. This was all while I planned a conference and graduation, wrote my honors thesis (which I failed to complete), held down a job, and (poorly) maintained a presence in the social justice sphere. The outcomes don’t matter now. By summer solstice I finished my degree, left academia, and relocated home.

There are many things to discuss about moving back to the town you grew to resent. More to say about the family that reminds you of the little progress you made outside your meticulously cultivated social bubble. Nothing to say about the ex-love that lives still too close to feel comfortable going anywhere familiar. By the time I write this though, I moved passed these anxieties and graduated to bigger, sadder things.

At first, I let myself feel regret and the passing of time. I wish I got my radio license. I wish I majored in the Arts. I wish I didn’t drug my insecurities. I wish I was less toxic to myself and others. If only I didn’t believe that just one person could hold my love. I wish I slept with more people. I ain’t shit.

Sometimes when I look in the mirror I linger. Not in admiration, not in disgust. Staring too hard into your reflection can blind you, erase your memory. Suddenly the lines on your face dig deeper, your cheeks sag. I contemplate tearing this skin apart. I linger until dissociation passes and I recognize myself. I exit the room.

Last year these interactions with my own image led to a disconnection between my body/mind/spirit. This routine de/personalization continued through my prescribed meds and while I tapered them off. The withdrawal process quickly turned this paranoia into rage. At this point, my body detached and I lost control.

My temper terrified me. For every time I spit fire, the voice in my head yelped “why?”

Why was I so angry? I carried the stench of neglect. At night I’d hiss and moan and cry, and finally break into sleep. But not every night. Sometimes I slept like a baby. Easy, peaceful mornings were silent affirmations that I was every bit human, less creature.

I stared at my pile of shed skins, the skins of people I’ve become and rejected. I went back into my Facebook to delete and hide posts. (A grown ass woman who still believes she can run away from her past.) After a long night of scrolling, I gave up the charade and left my social media to age undisturbed.

All this time, I’ve been feeding myself daydreams, disguised as goals to meet. I forced unrealistic timelines but never accomplished exactly what I envisioned. I broke my own heart again and again. And while there is no harm in dreaming, life goes on without you. Pouring through my archive, digital and mental — it’s clear. But ask me, how do I feel now? I feel good, I like me, I know what the next few years will look like. I’m on the up and up.

Don’t ask me how this happened seemingly overnight. The last three months I have felt more alive than the past five years. More social, more confident. I carry sadness but it doesn’t fester. In the mirror, unconditional love stares back and I laugh. The chemical imbalances played themselves out.

I dream throughout the day, but now without ultimatums. I don’t punish myself for changing pace, dropping relationships, fucking up. I’ve forgiven and put to bed the people who’ve wronged me. The hurt is gone. I quit the notion that getting lost is better than where I am right here, right now. I struggle to end this article because I want so badly to move to the next one, to read the library books due at the end of the week, answer the last of my work emails. I want to publish my first piece and already learn from it. I’m eager. But I take a few days to let this draft sit in my Drive, chip away the excess, savor the flow.

I am for a brief moment, present — a witness to my growth.

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