“Life is short, you should choose to be happy” the quote read on a Facebook post from someone that I would consider to be nothing more than a Facebook friend. It is an interesting title to give someone nowadays. To me that term means, you want to see what is happening in my life, but you don’t necessarily want to be a part of it. The entire concept wreaks of online voyeurism, which is, well it is why I am not sure why I have the account at all, outside of a handful of friends and my son I find it personally useless. I guess I am not supposed to say that as “it is a great tool to promote my blog” blah, blah, blah. What I really see are people arguing politics, people posting that they aren’t feeling well, and advertisements for shit I don’t really care about. Yes Facebook, I do not care about your advertisements, if I could afford to purchase the guitars I have been drooling over online, I would but I cannot so each time you advertise a guitar that I want on the page I was to be using to connect with friends and family it is just a hurtful reminder that I don’t have two thousand extra dollars to spend on something I want but don’t really need, way to rub it in Facebook. For those of you that have read my previous posts this is where I reel it back in and continue down the path I was heading before going off the tracks a bit. I will start a new paragraph though because no one likes them to be long and drawn out.
So, “Life is short, you should choose to be happy”, I find this quote to be a bit insulting, as if every depressed, anxiety riddled person out there just forgot to choose to be happy and they just needed a reminder and on Facebook at that. It is too neat and too tidy to be even considered as something that should be shared for those out there fighting each morning to remove their faces from the pillows they have been smashed into for the past 6-8 hours while frantically fighting to fall asleep. Their heads a mish mash of scrambling thoughts shooting from one side to another while you try to just grab a hold of one so you can process it quickly before another dives right into the middle of it and disrupts any hopes of healing the first thought. Maybe there are some that pick up their phone and check out Facebook and will see that quote “Life is short, you should choose to be happy” and poof their life changes in an instant. Maybe this quote is the depressive equivalence of finding God, for some reason I find it to drive me further from that but that is just me.
The simplification of depression as a choice is what really drives me batty. It says to me that my depression is solely my choice; it says to me that I choose to be depressed instead of choosing to be happy. This is simply not the case, if I could choose I would be able to get over the losses that have taken place, maybe move on and find someone that would show me love and want to be apart of this life no matter my weaknesses or flaws, that they would love them as I loved hers. If I could choose I would choose to not expend a large portion of my daily energy simply trying to get out of bed in the morning and then another large part trying to fall asleep at night. If it was my choice I would be able to smile and actually mean it instead of doing so because it was considered the correct thing to do at the time for the sake of others. If I could choose I certainly would not choose this because it, for me, is like being an alcoholic (from what I have heard in speaking with people I know), I wake up each morning knowing I have something that I need to face every single morning, I have to work with it, live with it, but not let it win, while knowing that most days I won’t win either but that I didn’t lose as well. Most days that is just fine, to call it a draw, other days it isn’t fine and I feel like I just want to win one, if I could just win one then maybe I will be able to feel the sun shine on this dog’s ass for a moment buuuut, as Dr. Ian Malcolm once said “life will find a way.” Just as I feel on some days that I am getting the hang of this, life zigs when I zag and it catches me off guard, making me stumble so that I now have to regain my balance to start the process all over again.
Sometimes I feel like the yodeling guy that climbs the mountain on the Price is Right, it is an uphill climb, slow going but I am going to make it and stop right at the top to enjoy the view. Life is standing next to Bob Barker (he will always be the host to me, sorry Drew Carey) guessing the prices of shitty household products while I am blissfully unaware of what is happening because I am in my lederhosen happily walking up the mountain with my ear buds in listening to Gruten Von Stroheims (made up don’t Google) latest yodeling masterpiece. I am nearing the peak and it is a wonderful feeling I can see the view and it looks amazing, but Life, oh wonderful Life is struggling with some of these prices, looking back at the crowd, then back at the product as Bob Barker neuters another animal. Now there is one product left I stand at 7 clicks away from the top and Life is feeling confident it can choose this one correctly.
“Tell us about the last product Rod Roddy”, Barker requests,
“Well Bob, this product is a two slot, toaster that will burn your toast and set your house on fire, back to you Bob.”
“Okay Life, you are seven away from the car, how much is the toaster/ fire starter?”
Life looks at the product confused, then back at the audience scanning it for any semblance of help, then looks back over at the product and says “$40 Bob” in a falsely confident voice. The buzzer sounds and I start to climb again, “yodel-oh-de, yodel-oh-day”, oh here is the top, I can see the view and it is a beautiful view, “yodel-oh-do, yodel-oh-dah”, two ticks left and I am not slowing down, one tick, last notch where I pause and take a moment to look out at what I had accomplished and how amazing this journey was and as I reach for my camera to take a few picks I am flung over the edge to the sounds of a horn blowing “baaawwwoooooo”. $40 for a fucking two-slot toaster, you suck Life.
Back to the quote but this time the first part “Life is short” and yes in the grand scheme of things it is but for most days, especially on the harder ones, it isn’t the minute amount of time we have on this earth that I worry about, quite the opposite actually, it is the length of time that I actually have left that scares me. When you feel horrible and are expending so much energy to just accomplish the normal mundane tasks of life like getting out of bed, showering, going to work, participating in a conversation, smiling, cooking a meal and you are exhausted and sad on top of that it is hard to imagine being able to do this day in day out for the next 40 years. That, while the first 40 did seem to go by fast, is a truly terrifying possibility because when you are living with depression you cannot always see or feel like this will ever change and in all honesty starts to become almost comforting. It is the Finding Nemo affect that you cannot get hurt if you don’t do anything but you aren’t really living either, so do you risk knowing that your heart can and will most likely break again which could spiral you down further than prior or make peace with the fact that you know what your present situation is and while you are not thriving or happy you have become familiar with it, almost intimately, that it feels like the better option?
I find I am forced to stay in the moment and not necessarily by choice but as more of a survival mechanism. I am unable to look into the past, I cannot look at photos, I cannot watch old home movies, and I have difficulties when my boys want to talk about past memories that are important to them (we still speak of them and I participate but it takes a lot of energy to keep a good face, an enjoyable tone, and to smile when they do), but as I said above the thought of the future isn’t one that is necessarily comforting either so spending even a minute thinking about it is draining. Life has forced me to stay in each moment because if I do not and think of the future I can get lost in the thick forest of “what if’s” that, to be honest, scare the shit out of me. Life has forced me to stay in the moment because if I think of the past I fall, onto hands and knees and beg that this life be as short as they speak of in the quote.
I’ll alter this quote to have it speak more to me, “Life is life and I choose to be”, some lives are happy, others aren’t so much. Sometimes it’s really fucking hard, but sometimes things go your way. Sometimes it feels like things will never get better, while others if feels like it could never be better. Some days you want to hide from the world, while others you run out at it head on. It is life, but each morning I get up, even on the days I don’t want to, each morning I choose to move my legs no matter the weight they carry, each morning I say goodbye as I leave for work to my son, the cats, and dog, I message my oldest son in college wishing him a good day and I love him, and go about my day. At night I do the same process but saying goodnight and I love you to each of them. I choose each morning whether I want to be in this life and while some days it feels like the only thing I get to choose, I am still in control that aspect. Each morning when I choose to get up I know I have won that match.