Do you really have to crash for them to know something is wrong?
I walk down the market, cuffs unfastened, in a careless slouch. Vendors carry on with their business in their sleep wear, people haggle in their slippers. At the bank, my desk waits for me. Money waits for me, but rejection does, too. As well as talks about makeup and our richest clients and who they sleep with. I have to get away, just escape from that friendless hole, and run to the market where I can walk, spilling from side to side, in a frown if I want to. I pass by Fuji apples, oranges, pears but I go home with babana. Babana, that cancer buster, I instinctively buy. I don’t pass by a babana stall without buying a ripe one, and another to store for the next three days. It’s a hot afternoon, the hot afternoon that our December afternoons are becoming. Everyone rushes to the sheds, or hops on a jeep and heads home, mindful of the sun. I stand wondering what to do, aimlessly looking at the options surrounding me. Mercury Drug to buy metphormine and those supplements with dubious therapeutic claims? Fries and ice cream at Jollibee that will linger on your hips? the grocery and commit another mistake of unplanned spending? Mercury Drug seems inviting but I left — like I always do — my doctor’s prescriptions for fluoxitine. It’s been months since I stopped. I believed I was okay, and to put myself under medication sounded atrocious. But today it feels different. Why is it coming back? I wake up at 5AM and like some wind I can’t control, I tell myself I can’t make it through 8 o’ clock, or much worse, through the day. I walk around with a gray cloud above my head, and my brows are weighing down on me. If before I had the energy that built and moved things, today, people tire me. I don’t like the civil, inauthentic me who faces clients and colleagues and friends with a plastered smile and weary eyes. Inside me is a lonely monster curling up in a ball, occasionally unfurling in fits of rage.
I wouldn’t want to wish this upon anyone. Or, if a slump like this is an existential normality, then I wouldn’t want anyone to have or even wish for a mind like mine. In the same way that we shouldn’t ever exchange minds or life situations with anyone. My problem might appear bigger but I wouldn’t want to trade it for somebody else’s. But at least what I want is to have who you have, that someone you come home to and talk to about the day you just had. Mother, Father, brother, sister, boyfriend, girlfriend, roommate, child, helper, I don’t mind what form your listener comes in, as long as he or she is constant. Oh what a drama queen. But sometimes, I’d love to stop by the living room, or the dining table, or the pub or cafe at the end of the day. Otherwise I would just zoom my way to my room where I am not a daughter, colleague, sister, friend, enemy, partner, cleint; where I don’t have any responsibility other than to be myself. The room as refuge is good but only for a time and the books, the poetry and twitter, all the crossword puzzles and Leonard Cohen / Ingrid Michaelson / Dresden Dolls on my playlist must occasionally want a break from me, too.
So, now I’m still at the market, in the midst of a decision that will give me momentary relief. Sometimes I regret stopping my medication, or having started it at all. For a time, it held me together, keeping me up till 6 in the morning, but not without frazzled nerves and irrational, impulsive tendencies. I remember writing the first few days while on the drug as recommended by my doctor. I filled page upon page, zoomed from one thought to another, and many times reiterated that I was taking the drug as a win-win approach though I hardly believed in the doctor’s diagnosis. After the diary entries, I would do– and complete–my crossword puzzles in one sitting. At that time, too, I went out at night nonstop, saw someone, ate less, weighed less. The dating was perhaps the highlight of that period but it ended a month after. Still it was good while it lasted. I felt better and turned to my medication inconsistently and only as a coffee substitute. When I was cast in a play this year–a highlight of my 2012–I totally forgot about the drug. I But during those fun times, I was only flitting from fantasy to fantasy, gazing up at the stars too much. I realized that while my mind was somewhere enchanted, I was wading and making snow angels in the muck.
The blues came back and left again for happiness to take over. Peaks and valleys. Seasons. But I couldn’t predict the pattern yet; no, not in intervals of 28 days, nor the drastic change of weather. I have yet to look closely, and I am trying my best to, because it’s so tiring to go through this and many things are on the line — my relationships, friendships, my job and sense of achievement, even my aura and countenance. Peaks and valleys. Peaks and valleys for two years. I’m down in a valley now, the blues are here, and the thoughts that run around my head again, like rats on a treadmill with no answers, are questions of life meaning, existence, real joy, why me. the sadness I feel is not the lukewarm type, but the harsh winter, sunday evening madness– intense, as if there won’t be any happiness glinting lambently for me in the distance; that I can afford to mumble, “take me, take me, take me now.”
This is not a complete account of my inner storm; in fact, it’s watered down for self respect. But it’s a relief to have forced my stubborn self to finally write and come to terms with this tiring cycle. I don’t want to wait until I crash to say and admit that I’m not okay and there has to be a better way out of the seasonal slump.