So I was doing the typical bored internet junkie thing and stalking myself on Facebook... You know the drill. You accept a friend request and then go scan your own profile to see what your new buddy will see when they do the inevitable new friend stalking. It's okay, we all do it.
I turned 21 a week ago, so lots of the stuff on my profile was birthday wishes. The most recent one, and therefore the first one I saw just now, ran along the lines of, "I hope this is your best year yet!"
Which of course got me thinking just like everything does.
My best year yet. Being human and prone to violent bouts of depression, when I think back on my life, I usually remember the bad more than the good. In fact, I have thus far categorized my college experience by what tragedy has befallen me in each semester.
Semester 1: Concussion and sexual assault.
Semester 2: Admitted to a psych ward for suicidal tendencies.
Semester 3: Parents divorce is announced.
Semester 4: I take 23 hours and contract extreme exhaustion.
But honestly, we could categorize my entire life that way.
Senior year of high school: My best friend attempts suicide multiple times. Completely unrelated, I begin to cut myself on a regular basis.
Junior year: I get an extreme ankle sprain which causes me to completely reevaluate the rest of my life.
Sophomore year; I attempt to cut for the first time.
Freshman year: My guinea pig, who has sadly been my best friend for five years, dies after a few months of insanity.
Shall we go back even further?
Middle school/junior high: I realize something is wrong with me, but don't label it as depression, anxiety, or PTSD. What middle schooler does?
Some time before 3rd grade: I am sexually abused and tell no one, because I do not understand.
When laid out like this, my life looks like total shit.
Why do these things have to be the first things that come to my mind when people talk about my life? When I think about the future? I look back at my finished semesters and I don't think, "Let's make the next better." I think, "What will go wrong this time?" "How much worse will it be?" "Will I make it through this one?"
Why the hell does it take so much thought to remember the good things that happened each of those years?
Semester 1: I make friends. I find a solid Christian base with RUF at my university.
Semester 2: I finally am put on medication, which is not something to be ashamed of. I start my book club.
Semester 3: I move into an apartment. I cook real food for myself for the first time, and it tastes good.
Semester 4: I get the boasting rights of having taken 23 hours and survived. I get a job as an English tutor. I finally make Repertory Dance Company at my university.
Summer semester: I become engaged to the love of my life and my best friend. I get a cat.
It is my curse that I always think of the bad things before the good, that I have to think very hard to remember all the good things that have happened to me and that I myself have accomplished. But maybe, in some twisted way, it is a blessing as well. At least, I try to see it that way.
If I'm honest, then I will admit that it has been anything but a blessing to me personally in the last few weeks. I have been practically lifeless with an overwhelming burden of depression. It has been a struggle to get out of bed every day, to make myself go to a class that I enjoy, to pick up a book and read it, to invest the slightest amount of attention in anything. This kind of behavior, if left unchecked, always leads me to something worse. If it weren't for my cat's presence, for the knowledge that if I were gone he would be completely on his own, I probably would be back in the psych ward because of some very bad ideas trickling through my head. It is incredibly sad that it is only my cat's dependence on me that has kept it from becoming as bad as it was back in freshman year.
And people say cats are useless.
For all the trouble little Palmer gives me, all the love bites and scratches and insane nightly terrorist activity, he really was sent by God. This poor little furball who arrive with his little hiney shaved after being neutered, a big mysterious wound on his neck and smaller one on his tail. A slightly crooked nose and mouth that leads to drooling and free tongue. Dirty ears. A slightly gimpy foot. Separation anxiety and a ridiculous love of eating shoes. That's my buddy Palmer.
Sorry, I got distracted by my darling little kitty cat, who just happened to have jumped up into my arms for a thirty second nap before going ballisto and trying to eat my arm. Typical.
As is often the case, I write all this to sort out thoughts that have been drifting through my head all summer. I always get bored in the summer, and boredom always leads to depression which leads me to reminiscing about the bad old days which leads me to assuming there will be nothing better in my future. Writing all this reminds me that life has not been totally craptastic to me. And even if it had been, that's no reason to assume that it will continue to be so.
I will publish this on my blog, but I doubt I will share it to Facebook and all the social media that so rules our lives these days. I have explicitly stated several things that beforehand I have only alluded to. There are maybe three people on this earth who know about a lot of this stuff. I'm all for honesty and testimonies and stuff like that. I'm not really ashamed of any of this. I know a lot of it isn't even my fault. The thing that gets me is the aftermath of a confession.
People talking to me about it. Asking questions about it.
These are perfectly normal responses. And on the average day I don't mind it. I enjoy it, even. As much as I hate attention and talking about myself, sometimes it is important. Sometimes it makes a difference.
But sometimes I just don't want to add to the misery of the world, y'know? I don't want people who have been through crap and know I've been through crap to realize I've been through more crap than I've let on. I just don't want to add to all the crap. Y'know?
You feel me?
If you're reading this, don't feel scared to talk to me about it even though I basically just said I didn't want to. The worst response you'll get is, "I don't want to talk about it right now, let's go drown our sorrows in coffee and then maybe we'll see."
But if this adds to the crap you see in the world, please oh please oh please don't let it. Don't be like me, who only remembers the bad. There is good, I promise. Don't let anything dampen your good memories and your hope and determination for the future. Even if it gets worse, it will still get better.
Now I'm going to stop this ridiculously long ramble and watch some more Star Trek and maybe sleep a bit before a filming I have tomorrow. I'm going to hug my cat and not worry about rent or homework or my student bill.
I'm just going to be okay for one night.
ps. I'm not adding colors to this post. Sue me. Imagine your own colors. Whatever. I've got a cat to hug.