I feel like a prisoner. And no matter how much I try and run away, I can’t seem to escape my prison walls.
Today I was supposed to go to a comedy show with friends, but I find myself alone in my office. I watched myself lie to my mother that I was meeting friends, so that I could come and cry in a place where I have some form of privacy. I couldn’t bring myself to tell her yet again that my friends have cancelled, or that they have something better to do. I didn’t want to see the worry in her eyes or the pity in her voice. I didn’t want to be reminded how my existence seemed to throw the rest of the world off balance.
All I wanted was to talk. I wanted to get out of the house and feel normal for a few hours. I wanted to forget that I still needed to register my medication as chronic with my medical aid. I wanted to ignore the fact that I have escalating medical bills that I’m struggling to pay. I wanted to pretend that I didn’t suffer from any psychological disorder. I wanted to play normal… But I couldn’t communicate this to those around me. Although my feeling are somewhat magnified because of my depression, I cant seem to articulate them to others. I find it hard to tell people that I need support; to tell a friend that I just need them to sit next to me because today is a very bad day. Instead I hide it all. I tell people that I prefer to stay at home, and allow them to carry on with their lives.
I can’t bring myself to depend on anyone because people have always disappointed me. Which is ironic because I am always there when people need me. I’m the first to say “Sure. Let me help you with that.” or “No, I’m not doing anything important.” I say yes for various reasons, but many because I feel guilty for letting people down. I know the pain that comes with someone saying no when you need them most; pain that I wish to never inflict on anyone else. However many see this as a sign of weakness, someone they can exploit freely. I watch as many people continue to treat me as a punching bag, a dumping ground for their emotions, and a go to friend when they are feeling “lonely”.
“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.”
― David Foster Wallace