“I mean, I just know I wouldn’t have to do any of this stuff if I were dead.”
You know that look of simultaneous concern and pity? Yeah, that’s the one my therapist gave me after I said that, but I was just telling it like it is because that is how it is for me. That’s how I think. Any minor inconvenience sends me down the that-wouldn’t-have-happened-if-I-were-dead spiral, and by minor inconvenience, I mean the amount of effort it takes to inhale. I honestly feel like I’ve earned the right to be dramatic at this point.
I have so many “shoulds” swirling around my head at any given moment that I could probably write a self-help book if I could implement those “shoulds” in such a way that would give me the wherewithal to write a self-help book. The irony is NOT lost on me.
My nutritionist says I should be eating 1600 calories a day. My counselor says I should be actively blocking thoughts of existential despair from my mind. My psychiatrist says I should have a regular schedule. My mom says I should have sought help sooner. My grandma says I should pray. My other counselor says I should exercise. My friends say I should open up.
And yes, doing all those things would be great, but I feel like everyone’s advice is miles away from the point right now. This cartoon pretty much sums up what I’m saying.
And that’s the most frustrating thing about depression. It isn’t always something you can fight back against with hope. It isn’t even something — it’s nothing. And you can’t combat nothing. You can’t fill it up. You can’t cover it. It’s just there, pulling the meaning out of everything. That being the case, all the hopeful, proactive solutions start to sound completely insane in contrast to the scope of the problem.
It would be like having a bunch of dead fish, but no one around you will acknowledge that the fish are dead. Instead, they offer to help you look for the fish or try to help you figure out why they disappeared.
The problem might not even have a solution. But you aren’t necessarily looking for solutions. You’re maybe just looking for someone to say “sorry about how dead your fish are” or “wow, those are super dead. I still like you, though.”
– The brilliant and aptly-named Allie Brosh
And that’s all that really needs to be said about those “shoulds.”