Note: This blog post is way “off brand” for me. I am posting it unedited on the off chance it may help someone who suffers from depression. You are not alone.
I wake up. I remind myself it is Tuesday.
Tuesday. One day down this week. Only six more to go. Not that it matters.
My wife left the television on when she left for work. Again. I hate the morning news shows. They are talking about something banal. How in the hell can people be so happy at this time of day, while having conversations that are so damn pointless. I find the remote and shut those assholes up. I stare at the ceiling for a while, until the monotony of the task is overwhelming. Christ, I’m not even out of bed yet and I am already bored.
I stumble to the medicine cabinet. Pills. Pills to stop the throbbing in my back. Pills to stop the burning in my leg. Pills to keep the blood moving through my veins. Pills to stop the raging in my head. Pills, pills, pills.
I take my phone off the charger and collapse on the couch. Time to see what is going on in the world. I scroll through Facebook. Virtual outrage. Virtual laughter. Virtual tears. Requests for virtual thoughts and virtual prayers. None of this seems real. People just sharing the best and worst of their lives, while the rest of the time their lives are as boring and trite as my own. This is not social media. This is virtual reality.
My Google Assistant chimes. It’s time to take my medicine. Didn’t I already do that? Should I take the pills just in case? No, that might kill me. I don’t want to die. I want to live. Neither seems to be happening today. I finally remember that I did take my pills and that it is Tuesday.
I go to the kitchen and stare at the inside of the refrigerator for a while. I am hungry, but I still haven’t done the dishes from yesterday. It hardly seems worth the effort. I’ll just have a cigarette.
I go outside and smoke. Then I go back to the refrigerator. Then I go back to the porch for another cigarette. Then I go back to the kitchen and think about doing those dishes. I go smoke another cigarette instead. I hate smoking. I hate the taste of it. I hate the shortness of breath I get playing with my grandkids. I light another one. Maybe I do just want to die, but like everything else I am just not in any hurry. Like the dishes. I should wash those.
I go back to the couch instead and get back on Facebook. Someone posted something funny. I reward the effort with a virtual smile. I can’t summon a real one, but nice effort, Virtual friend.
If I am not going to be happy, I might as well be productive and unhappy and those dishes are still waiting for me.
“OK, Google. Good Morning,” I say to the little speaker in the kitchen, the trigger to give me today’s weather, news, and tell me what else I am supposed to be doing today.
“Good Afternoon,” the box replies. “It is Tuesday…”
Afternoon? What the hell happened to this morning? And what the hell happened to Monday? Shit, I need to take my afternoon pills.
The phone rings. It’s an automated call from my doctor’s office. I accidentally-on-purpose forgot to go to therapy yesterday, the voice on the line reminds me. What was yesterday? I remind myself that today is Tuesday, yesterday was Monday, and it really doesn’t fucking matter because I didn’t leave the house yesterday and I won’t again today and I won’t again tomorrow. Do I want to reschedule my appointment? I don’t know. Maybe someday.
I find myself on the front porch with another cigarette in my hand as I end the call. I feel bad for my therapist. I wonder for a moment which is worse, me showing up or me not showing up. Surely she can’t enjoy my company any more than I do. Maybe she is one of those people that enjoys what she does. I wonder what that’s like. I wonder if she is a closet sadist, reveling in the misery of her clients. Schadenfreude. No, she is a good person. I am not, I assume, since I am being cynical about the person that is trying to fix me. I feel bad for her for having to listen to me feel bad for myself. I guess I did cut her a break this week.
Shit. The dishes. I wash the goddamn dishes. I am really hungry now. Not starving—I despise hyperbole—just really hungry.
The Google Home reminds me to take my afternoon medicine. Did I already do that? I know I thought about it, but did I? My back is killing me, so I must not have. I take some more pills. I feel like I need them. Interactions be damned.
Back to the sofa. I turn on the television. There’s two hundred channels of nothing on. Maybe I will watch a movie. Twenty minutes later and I can’t decide what I am in the mood for. Do I want to laugh? Not really. Do I want to think? Too much effort. Do I just want to see shit blow up? Sounds good.
I pick some stupid action movie. Ten minutes in it is white noise, and I have no idea what is going on. I turn the television off.
I notice the clock. The kids will be home soon. So will the wife. I need to accomplish something. I rush thru a few chores. Damn, look at me almost be proactive and productive. Finally, some momentum! Even if it is only borne of a fear of having to answer the question “What did you do today?” Someday I will have a decent answer to that question. For now, my only response is dread.
And now, finally, some free time. I should probably write something.
But, right now I am hungry. Still. Just in time to ruin my dinner, I fix an egg sandwich. I realize it’s same thing I ate yesterday. And the day before that. And the day before that. It’s Tuesday, the same as Monday, and nothing is changing. Then I rewash the frying pan.
The family will be home soon. I cook dinner. I decide not to wash the pans again. I will do it tomorrow. Tomorrow. Already starting off the same as today. The same as yesterday.
My wife calls on her way home to tell me about her day. It has been miserable. One thing we have in common, we do not suffer assholes and idiots lightly. Seems like the only thing anymore. She will tell me about it again when she gets here and that’s okay. That’s why I am here, or so I tell myself so I have some purpose.
She will go to bed early. I will try to write.
And so I sit, staring at the damn blank screen. The cursor mocks me. This was the dream, all those years ago. I would turn words into magic. I would pour out my inner voice onto the page and it would scream to the world. Instead, all my inner voice is doing is reciting Elton John lyrics for some reason. Rocket man. Burning out a streak up here alone. Over and over and over until I want to scream. After a few hours, I give up. I am going to fucking bed. Maybe tomorrow I will be able to concentrate. I remind myself that today is Tuesday and one day is already gone and six more just like it to go. Shit. Tuesday is gone. Wasted. Five more tries this week. Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday. Damn you, brain.
I am back in the bathroom, facing my biggest choice of the day. My back is screaming but so is my brain. Which is going to keep me awake tonight? One pill for the pain, one for the brain. Now I am singing White Rabbit in my head. Concentrate, damn it! I can’t take both pills. The doctor says my heart will stop if I do. Choose. Pain or brain. Or choose the third option. If I can’t live, really live, why not die?
Brain it is.
I stare at the ceiling until the monotony of the task causes me to roll over and go to sleep. Before I drift off, my brain is desperately clinging to consciousness by singing The Kinks. Lost between tomorrow and yesterday. Between now and then. Back where we started. Here we go round again. Day after day I get up and I say, I better do it again.
I hope that’s enough to get me through Wednesday.