Waking Up Happy

It was really refreshing to wake up this morning unreasonably happy; no thoughts about anything in particular, except trying to remember the dreams I had last night. I walked over to turn my air conditioner off, and when I got to the window to turn the dial to the “Off” position, I wondered why I was so happy. It wasn’t even the kind of happy you experience on your best day with friends, or the jubilant relief that accompanies realizing a gnawing worry is resolved. It was, in the only way I can think to describe it, ignorant bliss (Clichés-1, Wiggygirl-0). I wasn’t sure why I was happy, but I was obviously enjoying it. Honestly, I have not felt that happy in weeks or months. Months. That’s a long time to not experience an emotion, let alone a fantastic one. This realization made me wonder how long it would be until I felt this strange elation again. After a few weeks of believing my depression was actually going away, I was hit by an especially depressive mood at the beginning of this week; unfortunately, I have to wonder if I brought it on myself. I had been sick after coming home from vacation at the beach, and through a mixture of not really wanting to go to work and guilt of probably spreading germs to my coworkers, I coerced myself to take Monday off. I texted my boss that morning and he told me it was fine if I didn’t come into work, and to inform him when I would be able to come back in (have I mentioned my boss is really chill?). Monday was spent sleeping a lot, browsing a variety of sites on my computer, maybe a little reading….nothing too productive, because I was attempting to relax and “get better”. However, as the day progressed and I knew I would have to go back to work the next day, I started feeling unmotivated, though not quite depressed yet. Since my boss hadn’t said “see you tomorrow”, rather telling me to contact him when I was feeling better, why shouldn’t I take another day off? Though I told myself I would see how I felt in the morning, I knew in the back of my mind my decision had already been made. Not wanting to tell my mom I was taking another day off, I decided I would wake up normal time and pretend I was going to work. I drove to the park behind my house to chill and listen to music/my anxiety tape while I waited for all my coworkers and mother to get off the roads. Then, I spent three hours driving around South Jersey with no actual destination in mind. I love driving, but this wasn’t supposed to be a leisurely escapade through main streets and lonely roads. This was foreshadowing for the lowest low I’ve felt in awhile. Flashback to last summer, when my depression went along unnoticed and untreated. I was so afraid and anxious to tell my boss that once soccer started I would not be able to work, I decided I simply would not, and instead texted him two days in a row saying I would not be coming to work that day. No explanations or excuses; I just would not be working, and in my last text I told him I would not come in again because soccer would be starting. Minus the vague text messages, I did the same thing I did this past Tuesday; I pretended to go to work but instead drove around aimlessly. When I told my best friend about what had occurred, she completely brushed it off. She didn’t get it. This was what I did when I was very depressed. I know now after talking to her she was trying to help by distracting me and discussing other topics, but I had to tell her this was not how to help me. I don’t know about other people, but when I am really depressed or upset about something, I don’t want people to distract me immediately. I don’t even necessarily want advice. What I really need and covet is sympathy and someone who will tell me it’s okay that I’m upset. I really would like someone who will ask questions; this will either show they are interested in what’s going on or it will help me look at the issue and work through it. After a similar conversation with my ex/guy friend, my depression became severe, and I’ve unfortunately spent the past few days feeling alone and melancholy. I barely talked to my friends and spent a lot of time inside my room, traversing the dark regions of Tumblr and listening to music that makes me sad. I excessively and genuinely cried for the first time in awhile. Luckily I conversed with my friends and therapist about this issue and, after this wonderful morning, am starting to feel sort of normal again. Though I know this intense change of mood is fleeting, I have some sense of hope for future happiness.

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Feeling Comfortable With Myself

Last night I attended my neighbor’s Sweet Sixteen party. We used to be really really close, but because I no longer take the bus to or from school, we don’t see each other. Maybe the birthday girl hangs out with my little sister and felt obligated to invite both of us? Or maybe we forged that type of friendship that still resonates after you stop consistently communicating?

Anyway, it was the first fancy Sweet Sixteen party I had attended. Technically I’ve only been to two: my own party, which was held in my backyard, and though we wore dresses, it was pretty casual, and my semi-friends’ party, which was held at a house, no formal attire necessary. This party was at a reception building, required black and white formal clothes, and included fancy cake and the sixteen candle thing (which I had never heard of before).

When I got there, I expected to see a bunch of sophomores (that’s what birthday girl is), and to spend my evening following my sister, maybe interjecting myself into the conversation every now and then. Upon entering the glitzy ballroom, I immediately locked eyes with my good senior guy friend, and we were both like, “hey, what are you doing here?”. To my surprise, there were quite a few seniors there…though I do not talk to most of them, and they quickly filled up a table of their own so I stayed at my sister’s side.

I felt quite awkward, just sitting there with my sister. In my mind I kept thinking of reasons I was not mingling-excuses I could give to other people, though I was sure no one would ask, so they were really just excuses for myself. Sentiments like, “my sister is really shy and I don’t want to leave her alone”, etc.

Then another senior girl came in who I am good friends with, and I basically followed her around and talked to her (and whoever she had chosen to mingle with). She sat next to us when we ate, and when the music started she danced with us. However, she soon found other friends to dance with, which left my sister and I alone in the middle of a crowd of (mostly) strangers. In addition to my inherent awkwardness on the dance floor, I was now alone.

But you know what? I didn’t really care. Why couldn’t I just dance with my little sister at this party? Why should I feel awkward because I’m terrible at dancing, probably making a fool of myself, and a senior without other teenagers to talk to?

I suppose someone (my overbearing parents or aunts, for example) would have encouraged me to mingle with everyone and anyone at the party, because that’s what people do at parties, right? That’s the supposed reason for get-togethers? Plus, how would I expect to make new friends or have any fun if I do not converse with other people? This seems like a fairly important skill to acquire for college.

But you know what? Dancing with my little sister, along with dance interjections from my two seniors friends, was fun. I did not feel the need to awkwardly approach strangers/acquaintances to complete my evening. I was, except for my sister, alone, but I did not feel alone. I could just dance and sing (when I knew the lyrics) and be content in my own skin.

In my opinion, changes in mindset like these do not occur because of silly encouragements telling you to “be yourself” and “not care what other people think”. Maybe they help guide you on the path to self-enlightenment, but the ultimate transformation has to come from within. Someone else cannot tell you you are a wonderful person, or that it’s okay to be quiet/alone/an introvert, or you do not need a boyfriend to be self-assured and confident. You must discover these things for yourself.

And in the dimmed lights of that wooden dance floor, I realized I could be completely comfortable with myself, a skill I cannot wait to employ in college.

 

Of course, it’s also Mother’s Day, and as soon as my mom gets out of the shower I’ll be spending most of the day with her. Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful women out there who deal with us rowdy, impertinent children day after day. Your perseverance is truly one of your greatest attributes.

And good luck to all my fellow introverts/low self-esteemers in finding comfort within yourself.

Bad Thoughts

It’s ten past midnight and I am supposed to go to soccer practice around 8am. But I went to our high school football game tonight and felt excluded, sad, and worried about my little sister. I came home and was overwhelmed by a wave of unanticipated depression. My boyfriend stopped texting, right when I needed someone to talk to, and I couldn’t muster the will to speak to anyone else, even my psychologist who told me I should text her if I start to think about suicide.

Which I did.

While driving my boyfriend and little sister home from the football game, I thought about how I could kill myself by crashing my car. Of course, I knew I would never-and could never-crash while they were in the car. And I’m too afraid to wonder if I would have done it if no one had been there to silently and unknowingly change my mind.

So I spent time on Facebook, then triggered myself more by scrolling through everything on Tumblr with the tag “depression”. Please never do this to yourself. Then I of course listened to Demons by Imagine Dragons, which describes a lot of what I’ve been feeling. And I cried a lot. And felt worthless. And felt alone. I desperately don’t want to die, but sometimes I feel like I don’t have the strength to continue living. I just want everything to stop, or at least stop hurting.

Then I googled something about suicide and found this comment on a forum under the question “what is the best way to kill myself?”:

There is no reason people should be forced to live when their lives are miserable and they want an exit.
Why would a stranger have to be so selfish to deny someone the right to leave this place? 

And this killed me, because it just doesn’t seem right. Isn’t this like giving up? Like if a doctor were to say, “oh, you have cancer, there’s no reason we should try to help you”.

I just needed to release some of these thoughts, and I would very much like other people to comment on the italicized text above. Because I really don’t know what to think about it. To me at least, it feels terribly wrong.

Because I don’t want someone to leave me the right to leave.

In a Bad Place

This weekend, from about Friday around 4pm until yesterday evening, I was in a pretty bad state of mind, as you can see by this poem I wrote Friday night.

Help me

Anybody

Somebody please help me

I don’t know where to go from here

There’s darkness clouding my mind

And I’m drowning in the fear

 

But no one even turns their head

And I’m left alone once again

 

But I’m back now. Saturday I went to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland with my family because they had an information session/campus tour for prospective students. This is probably my number 1 college right now-like seriously, walking around felt like I could actually belong there. The issue, of course, is getting in, because it’s a top notch school.

The sucky thing is, from what I’ve gathered, they only look at the Critical Reading and Math sections of SAT, which I got 650’s on for a total of 1300/1600 (which is eh in my opinion, considering the quality of the school). I got a 760 on my writing portion. Yeah, fantastic. I have some options for making it work though, and of course SAT scores aren’t the only thing. I have really good grades from junior year (and all years I suppose) so I’m hoping for the best.

Plus it’s the number 1 research university in the nation, and receives the most funding from the federal government to support this, which means that I’ll have opportunities to pursue my own interests inside biology in addition to classwork. The campus is the perfect size, Baltimore is a phenomenal city, and it also has German, which I want to minor in.

It was my first college visit, and I really just fell in love.

Chapters 1 and 2 of The Stranger by Albert Camus

Spoilers may or may not be included. These thoughts are entirely of my own brain and have not been supported with literary criticism of any kind. 

I actually got somewhere in reading today. Chapter 1 was just sort of there for me; however, this makes sense. When a tragic event occurs, there are a number of stereotypical methods individuals utilize to cope. One of the most stereotypical is numbness, which includes a blockage of emotional response. You really don’t feel anything.

Meursault relates that upon reaching the village, “..everything seemed to happen so fast, so deliberately, so naturally that I don’t remember any of it anymore” (Camus 17). However, he then goes on to recall several images or insignificant events, such as the tears covering Perez’s face or the dirt being poured over Maman’s casket. In my experience, this seems to go along with the idea of numbness and distance from reality.

There was also a hint of existentialism in the chapter. “She said, ‘If you go slowly, you risk getting sunstroke. But if you go too fast, you work up a sweat and then catch a chill inside the church.’ She was right. There was no way out” (Camus 17).

This is applicable to many lose-lose situations. One way or the other, you suffer, lose, or fail. In this way, the laws of nature are already defined and no matter what action is taken there will be a negative outcome. Though there is the illusion of free choice, in this case, in the speed of walking, and there are two results of either sunstroke or chills, the conclusion is predetermined.

Now, onward to Chapter 2!

This was a fairly better chapter for me at least. I can sympathize with Meursault’s  aversion to Sundays; I don’t enjoy them either, and a lot of times I get in my morose moods on Sundays, and these moods can follow me into the week. One can recognize Meursaults passive nature when he understands his boss’s distaste for giving Meursault Thursday and Friday off, therefore giving him a four day break.

To deal with Maman’s death, Meursault transitions from numbness and disassociation to  distraction, represented by his one night stand with Marie. He then passes a depressing Sunday afternoon home alone, people watching.

I regarded this as more evidence of existentialism. The impression given was that this type of behavior, from families taking walks to teenagers going to the movies and flirting, is all typical.  The scene in the streets is just another representation of the flow of nature and an individual’s position watching from the sidelines. Meursault cannot change the stream of people, or lack thereof, just as he cannot change the events occurring in his own life, including Maman’s death.

” …I wandered around the apartment. It was just the right size when Maman was here. Now it’s too big for me, and I’ve had to move the dining room table into my bedroom. I live in just one room now….I’ve let the rest go” (Camus 21).

I believe this shows that Meursault does feel some sadness from the death of Maman, or how he wasn’t close to her.  For me, this quote insinuates that the world is big and empty when one is alone, and obviously Meursault feels lonely. He seems to be that type of person who really just rolls with everything; goes to work, sleeps, goes to work, has a cigarette, sleeps, goes to work, sleeps with a girl, etc.

I really liked the second chapter’s conclusion.

“It occurred to me that anyway one more Sunday was over, that Maman was buried now, that I was going back to work, and that, really, nothing had changed” (Camus 24).

Meursault returns to his passivity to deal with Maman’s death. He was isolated from her before because he never really visited her; nothing has really changed. Besides, what could he do about it? He’s just rolling with the stream of life.

Really, an excellent, excellent way to end the chapter.