I Was Up Above It…

Now I’m down in it.

I’m trying to understand whether or not I’m depressed.

I don’t think I am. I mean, I’m mostly an optimist. I’m getting out of bed in the morning. I’m exercising regularly. I laugh with friends.

That being said, some shit in my life is really doing its best to drag me under these days. The loss of my car, the gaping, sucking loneliness, not being good at my job because I’m new and because I’m distracted all the time.

I have visited the idea of ending it all.

Before you lose your shit, Ghost, it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve had these thoughts, and it’s sometimes just one of the gamut of solutions I run through at any given time. The idea of ending it all sounds like such a relief, but it isn’t, really. Ending it all means you don’t get to experience that relief. Your life is in the shitter right up to the end. You’re just done, and that doesn’t appeal to me. What does appeal to me is that it’s an option if everything goes tits up.

Even that’s not really true. Even if I felt like that was the only way out, and I emphatically don’t, I couldn’t do that to people who care about me. I’ve written here before about how M’s roommate committed suicide over 25 years ago, and while he made peace with the experience eventually, he never made peace with people who commit suicide. He called it selfish. He was always angry at people who talked about it. He thought they were self-centered and weak.

And that’s another point: M didn’t think I’d do any of this, the move, the new life, the reinvention. If I fail at this in the most spectacular way possible, he wins. But that’s the wrong phrase. It’s not that I don’t want him to win at life in general, I just don’t want him to win at my expense. Put another way, they say the best revenge is living well. But that’s not really right either. I don’t want revenge on M. *deep breath*: The best confirmation of correct decisions is the continued success of the people who made them. That seems right-er. Ish.

I just don’t want to fail. I don’t want to flail. I don’t want to fall into an abyss of my own making. I don’t want to end up on the streets in a tent plagued by the ultimate vulnerability. And rats. It might be because that particular brand of human desperation and insanity and pain is so near to me in my new city that I’m increasingly aware of the fine line that divides me from people in that situation, if a divide there truly is. There, but for the grace of something something, go I.

Today I saw a man walking in tight circles around a rod he was holding in one hand. He’d been doing it so long that he’d worn a path in the dirt that was deeper than the surrounding terrain. I saw vomit in two places on my run this morning. There’s broken glass on the sidewalk near my apartment that I have to remember so my dog doesn’t step in it. Syringes are an everyday find. Sometimes they have needles attached. Sometimes the needles are bent at an angle so they are unintentionally, but directly, aimed at dogs and humans who might inadvertently step on them.

I think many Portlanders have become used to this evidence of suffering to the point that they’re just annoyed with the problem. I wonder if I will ever reach that point. All this pain just makes me sad. I’m not annoyed. I’m worried, and I feel helpless. My heart breaks for everyone.

And then there are the holidays coming up. I wrote before about my experience at Thanksgiving, where I found myself alone in bed at 9:30 am or so, unwilling to get up and unsure how to spend a holiday by myself, when I received the best text of my life from a friend who came to Portland and introduced me to wonderful people.

Now Christmas is upon us. It’s December 21 (Happy Solstice!). I was supposed to go home to Colorado for the holiday, but those plans were cancelled. So now I run the same risk I ran at Thanksgiving, of being alone on a holiday that should be spent in a cozy place with friends and family. What do I do about this? I don’t know. I’m unlikely to be rescued a second time. So I might have to make my own holiday. What would that look like?

So I guess the answer to my initial question is no, I’m not depressed. I’m just in a hard, dark place in a new city at a really tough time of year. My Vitamin D levels are low, I’m having a hard time with self-discipline, my car was stolen, I’m super lonely, I’m struggling a bit at work, and I can’t do some of the sports I love to do. So yeah, I’m a bit down. Who wouldn’t be? But it really is all going to be OK, I think. Simply recognizing that this is a difficult time is part of coping with it. I just have to ride this wave out.

I’m fine. I ran four miles today. The sun came out for a bit. I’m kind of relieved that I don’t have to do an expensive trip to Colorado. I can sleep through Christmas Day if I need to, or do a super long run in the rain. I’ll buy myself a Christmas present at Powell’s bookstore and get lost in it for the whole day. I’ll call people I love in New Mexico and wish them a happy holiday. I’m so brave that I can totally make it through the next week on my own. I’m so brazen that I can throw both middle fingers up at Christmas and New Year’s Eve. I’m so bold that I don’t just start sentences with “and”, I start whole paragraphs with the word.

See? Totally fine. 🙂

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