Finding a Math Equation for My Universe
“I’ll pray for you, and you know I don’t even like Jesus”
I wake up slowly, my mind trying to make meaning of this reality, and immediately feel a crushing sack of bricks weighing on my consciousness. My first thought of the day drifts into the sleepy fog: “How do I feel today.” I feel the sun and wonder why it is so bright. Every morning I ask myself how I feel. Most days there is no answer, just a weary sigh. I grasp through my mind trying to remember if I had a dream or not. I reach for my phone; it is already afternoon. Here I am propped up on my pillows again. I wonder if today is going to a good day or a bad day. It is going to be a good day, I think to myself. Yesterday I read an article by someone who didn’t have depression, it said think positive thoughts.
Getting out of bed is a struggle. If I can get out of bed, I already win. How good my day becomes is directly correlated to how many small wins I accrue. I scold myself severely as my fort of pillows beckon. No, not again, I am not going to spend the entire day drifting in and out of sleep. Sleep is my enemy but also my sweet saviour. Three times I try kicking the covers off. I resign myself to scrolling through my phone, and an hour later I am fully awake.
A cold shower. The softness in between my legs no longer hurts. For the first time in a month I think I am better now. Physically at least. The bruises on my inner thighs are faintly blue, no longer a dark, angry purple-red. I towel off and watch the sun bathe my glistening skin. Makeup next, time to put on my warpaint. Today I try smiling at myself in the mirror but it barely reaches the corners of my mouth. Three times I try and finally it reaches my eyes. Today is a good day.
A text comes in from a friend. We are getting lunch. I grab my bag and head out to the elevator. I am delirious with success — today is better than yesterday or the day before. We have lunch and I talk about forests and lakes and European landscapes. For the summer, I am signing off from the world. She nods in empathy, warm vibes radiating off her skin, trying to touch my cold insides. I laugh and smile, a convincing performance. I deserve an Oscar today. She is surprised when I speak of the side effects of my medication. She doesn’t know the biochemical violence wrecking my insides. New chemicals, different doses this time. At least she knows now. We part after a cigarette. The smoke calms me.
I asked an astrophysicist last week, “What is the most astounding thing in the universe?” He is about to win the Nobel prize, so he is at my college to give a talk. He was startled. Good question, he says, pulling his socks up. Red shifts and cosmic geography wander through my mind. He pauses and then looks directly into my eyes. “That Math should have anything to do with reality. That you can write a mathematical equation and reality rearranges itself and it is true. That our universe is organized and can be understood, this is almost spiritual. A miraculous wonder.” I thank him, wondering if I could somehow rewrite my reality with math.
And so every day since I am trying to discover the right equation that helps me reorder my universe so that I can be normal, but I am beginning to realize I am no mathematician. Will my disorderly mind ever fit into rational society?
Maybe this antidepressant will help.