This will be the title of my biography. For years now I’ve been asking this question. I have always posed this question to every incident in my life, good or bad. It’s become my catchphrase. I know it sounds self-absorbed but I’d be lying if I denied it. After a rather terrible week, the next one scares me but I don’t have much of a choice so I am going to play some Daft Punk, convince myself that I’m not the only one and carry on.
This month is supposed to be my month but it’s so far been quite a tragedy because I’ve been chasing after the month trying to meet deadlines and not lose my shit. The weekend turned out to be better than expected and I feel it might end on a high. But the week ahead doesn’t show any signs of improvement. My parents have politely told me to suck it up and be the adult they know I am not. So they haven’t been of much help.
I’ve been adding motivational songs to my playlist and spending time googling tricks on how to do my job better, not that I found anything helpful. I only felt more inadequate after reading everything. So I just decided I am going to go with my gut because if I am alive today it’s because of instinct and not a Google search. Apart from doing household chores and finishing a draft of an article, I just sat wondering, Why me?
I always aim for the stars so I can reach the ceiling at least, that’s how I am. Lately, people have begun asking me, “What next?” and I always feel like they are referring to what I want to watch next on Netflix. In reality, they’re asking about my life and then I just say, “Let’s see!” I try to make it seem like I have something big planned and am waiting for the right moment to make the big reveal. In reality, I’m just interested in getting a good night’s sleep.
It’s been a while now, and now the depression and my life have become two separate entities. It’s scary to think that prior to June of this year, my life was the depression. I am happy to say I am getting better, and I am making good progress. But, even I know I have a long way to go. I am still scared and terrified. So when people ask me what I plan to do next, I am just short of saying, “I plan to be healthier and reduce the number of meds I am taking.” Doesn’t it seem like a weird answer? But that’s the truth. I am not concerned about my pending degree, the money I need to make to support myself and where I plan to travel to.
I know if I said it, I’d get silence or a smiley emoji and a heart in return or maybe someone saying I have their full support. Not that these are bad replies or that they are unjustified. I would do the same if the situations were reversed. But, I know they are discounting my internal battles when they ask me that question. They’re asking about my life besides the depression. No matter what I write here or tell people, there’s a lot I don’t write and say. That’s not because I am ashamed, or that I am scared of doing so. I hate to remind people I am depressed, I feel like I am making an excuse. It’s really unfortunate because when somebody has a fracture and they say, “I plan to get healthier and be able to walk again,” it’s not awkward, it’s not an excuse, it’s reality.
There have been times when I wanted to tell my editor, “I am really depressed today, I don’t think I’ll be able to hand in the draft today, I’ll do it tomorrow.” But suddenly it’s not a medical concern, it’s a feeling. I know it has a lot to do with my own insecurities, for all I know my editor will get it. But yes I am worried about her perception of me. I don’t want people to walk on eggshells around me. It’s not so hard when they already know. It’s linked to my question, “Why me?” I have internalised my own fears and insecurities.
I singled out my pain and separated myself from all those people who go through this. It was the worst way of feeling unique. But the question, “Why me?” is a little more profound than that, to me it means, why am I bearing the burdens of my life? Can’t I just let it go? It was a way of constantly reminding myself that I was not in a happy place.
I think, “Why me?” Why did I have to be depressed? Why did I have to take a break from my studies, when I was at the top of my game? Why didn’t I tell anybody earlier? Why did I not take it seriously? Why was I ashamed of myself? Why me?
Sometimes, it’s hard to be self-deprecating. I became self-deprecating to tell the bullies that they couldn’t break me. But I guess I broke myself. I let myself curl up into a ball and let myself shrink into nothingness. I feel tears in my eyes as I write this. I kept asking, “Why me?” Letting myself become my own punching bag. The world was not out to get me, I had already done that to myself. So, why me?
I wish I knew.