Depression is the worst.

So one day the other week, I woke up to sounds of cheers and merriment. And because I’m a little bitter in the morning, I couldn’t help but get just a little bitter about it. I didn’t know who was cheering or what reason there was to be so merry, I just knew that my slumber had been interrupted by happiness. Yes. I am a morning person.

And later as I was coming back from the cafe, I would realize the cheers were coming from Seattle’s infamous Ride the Ducks tour—that that day for some reason the Ducks were detouring down the street that I live on, and if you are at all familiar with these dorky tourist trap tours, then you know that the tour guide will milk their audience for every cheer they are worth. I’m pretty sure they feed on it like a slake moth. And somehow this made me angrier! Tourists! Having fun on their vacation?! How dare they?!

And maybe it was because my espresso shot was a little overextracted, or maybe it was because I might be a bitter person, but I started getting really bitter about it. Something like: “Fun? That’s not fun. That’s not lasting fun. Do they know it’s not fun? Are they going to post photos to Facebook for their friends to see? Wait, do I have friends? Do they have better friends than I do? Why don’t I have more friends? Why haven’t I called my friends recently? Wait, why haven’t they called me? Would a real friend call or wait to be called? Maybe I should call someone. Wait. What if they think I’m needy. Maybe I am needy. Nobody likes a needy friend. Maybe I shouldn’t call someone. I bet they wouldn’t care anyway. I need to learn to be self-sufficient. I don’t need friends.” And so on, for hours.

And then I was so worked up that I had to crawl into bed and stare at the ceiling for awhile.

And when I came to, I was sad.

Sad because I had the FOMO. Sad because I’d spent the day angry at other people’s happiness. Sad because I’d convinced myself that I was and should be alone. Sad because I should know by now that there are people who reserve thoughts for me and my well-being, and yet—not for the first time, and I doubt for the last—I was trying to push them out of my own brain, because I thought was I alone and had too much shame and guilt and rotten insides to deserve friends.

Some people who know me well and read this might be surprised to hear some of this. I wasn’t going to write it. I’d been thinking about writing it for a few weeks, but I decided to shelve it; and what you’re seeing is pretty different from what I expected. But in light of recent events and recent emotions and recent things, it felt like I could stand to try again. It upsets me, even though it isn’t about me. I’m not qualified to do much besides talk about the specificity of my experience, but if somehow someone reading this needs help, then I hope talking about it helps a little. And? I think I need to hear it myself.

{ * }

Depression is a lot of things, but it’s always personal—sometimes so personal that it feels like no one could ever understand. When I get that low, I can’t but fixate on my shame and my guilt. This feeling of being rotten inside. My belief that I’m a bad person, instead of a good person who’s done bad things. People will ask how someone as widely beloved as a celebrity could die by suicide, and maybe some of those people will silently wonder what kind of chance the rest of us have; of course, the quantity of love is not the same as the size of its meaning. And so that’s kind of what this little blog post is about, about this thing that Matt Fraction was talking about, kind of a little reminder for myself that that meaningful little thing exists, that there’s a thing that I can latch onto and look forward to. What that is changes a lot for me; I held onto his words when I first read them earlier this year. Last month it was the Sleater-Kinney discography. Before that, it was Zoe Quinn’s Depression Quest. Last week it was the new Haruki Murakami book. And those are just the things that I can remember. The other things, I only know that they were small and trivial. But at the time, they were everything.

For anyone struggling with depression, finding that meaning can be the hardest fucking work. The mental and emotional pain of it is just as difficult and horrific as physical pain. There’ll be people who say that it isn’t, as if psychic pain lacks legitimacy, as if it’s possible just to “man up”—but that’s bullshit. It’s ignorant, and it’s bullshit.

I don’t know who’s reading this, and I don’t know your circumstances. (Google Analytics isn’t that creepy yet.) But if you’re in the midst of it right now, then I want you to know that you’re not alone in this. That is a fact, even if you don’t believe it, even if it makes you sick to your stomach, and even if that’s how you feel, I hope that you tuck that fact away in your brain somewhere where you can find it. And regardless if you find that meaning by talking to a friend or finding a therapist or making a vitally important phone call when you’re on the edge and afraid of what you might do to yourself, teasing out and chasing down that hope is everything, and it works, and you will get better because of it. There is a way to get through that pain and emerge on the other side. You’ll have to ask for help, but people will help you. It’ll take work and it’ll take time, and sometimes it might not feel like you’re moving forward. But you are moving forward, and you are getting better.

It’s worth it. It is fucking worth it.

*

So, this week? This week I think I’m latching onto people. Friends and family and all the love that goes with that. Which is cheesy, I know, but there is a loyalty and responsibility that I feel there, and I’m holding onto that, and I don’t want to let that down. So, thank you. Thank you for thinking of me and inviting me to things. Thank you for the video games we play together and for the jokes you make during Dungeons and Dragons. Thank you for the Twitter arguments. (I swear I enjoy them.) Thank you for the hug you gave me the first time we met; you said I looked like I needed one, and you were right. Thank you for having the courage to admit that saying “Have a good day” every morning wasn’t enough anymore, for either of us. Thank you for the rooftop barbecues and the sunsets that feel like they mean something. Thank you for accepting how scared and weak I can be. Thank you for not thinking that makes me undeserving. I love you all.