Living In Slow-Motion

When the days blur together.

Photo by Mishal Ibrahim on Unsplash

I have a bad habit of pretending everything is fine.

“I’m okay,” I say to every living being who asks me each day how I’m doing. Friends, family, co-workers, people who care about me. That should be enough, having people who care, but it’s not. Maybe nothing is ever really enough, at least when your brain isn’t functioning the way it should be.

For me, it’s an effort to make it through each day. Not that anything I’m doing is particularly difficult — I wake up, I go to work (from home), I do the bare minimum to survive, and I know tomorrow will be exactly the same.

When you have nothing to look forward to, the days tend to blend together. Days turn into weeks turn into months and then — what day is it? It’s been how long? But even then, it doesn’t feel fast. Time doesn’t fly when you’re depressed — it stops.

And sure, the solution to this problem might be to set goals, make plans, to have something to look forward to, but those things are out of focus. They feel unattainable, or just out of reach, or encompassed in a universe of uncertainty much like everything else these days.

And the reality is, I’m in no rush. Time moves slow because there’s just nowhere to go. Every day forward is another day for me to sink deeper and deeper and deeper.

So here I am in some sort of limbo pocket-dimension where time doesn’t move. I’m treading water, barely keeping myself afloat when it would be so easy to let the tide take me under and drown.

But I can’t do that, because I told everyone “I’m fine.”

And sometimes, I believe it. I convince myself that things aren’t as bad as they seem. I’m just making it up! It could be worse. Sack up.

Pretending to be happy becomes habitual. You almost start to feel it, but it’s just this false imitation of happiness. It’s forced. It isn’t real. And one day, you wake up and realize how miserable you really are.

Imagine trudging through the mud with chains on your feet. But you’re used to the chains. Maybe you put them there, who knows. But you can’t get them off. And they are so heavy.

Every day is the same.

I snooze my alarm 30 times because being asleep is the closest thing I have to being dead. I work a 9–5 job that I hate, and I push into overtime because I can’t bear the thought of being alone with my thoughts.

After I’ve exhausted myself with work, I’m restless. I have nothing to distract myself, so I find new things — books, movies, whatever activity I can get my hands on, but I can’t focus. I even took a second job because being miserable and busy is better than being miserable and just…being miserable.

So I keep going. I keep treading. Until I run out of ways to distract myself, or until I become so mentally exhausted that I can’t do anything at all.

And then, once I’m completely drained, I lay in my sadness and let it wash over me.

I’ve learned that when I’m in a bad place, the best thing to do is just ride it out. Throw a fit, have a breakdown, cry my eyes out, but don’t fight it. Because at least some kind of release makes me feel alive — makes me feel anything — if only for a moment.

But the sadness never goes away. It’s always there, my own personal demon. Maybe it’s hiding under my bed, maybe it’s screaming in my face, but it’s there. Digging its claws into my skin to remind me of the things I wish to forget.

And I’ll carry it with me every day.

just a sad girl trying to write her way out of a mental crisis • bylines in buzzfeed, syfy, + more •