Inertia. Sharp chest pains. Shortness of breath. Restlessness. General hopelessness. Every reunion with these familiar symptoms is like an awkward and painful reminder of every past incidence where I have felt their silent grip creeping up on me. Perhaps the worst part isn’t the actual discomfort or pain; it’s the uncertainty surrounding this mysterious disease. Where did it come from? What made it resurface? What can I do to make it go away?
I am afraid that it will take over my life again and take everything away that is good. The difference with previous cases is, I am much more aware of its toxic effect on others and how I may be portrayed to others. Sullen. Low-energy. Depressed. Angsty. Sad. Basically a downer to be around. I am afraid of losing K because I am not normal.
When this happens to me, I am just unpleasant to be around, and I can’t stand even to be around myself. I’m gassy, emit sour breath, and even my privates have a nauseating odor. At times like these, I feel completely demoralized, soggy – not sure why but somehow I just feel the word fits how I feel – and a pariah. I just want to escape to some place, but I don’t know where – or how. How do you escape yourself?
One thought on “Pariah”
No-one else is reading these? I just stumbled across your blog when searching for “Chinese Belle”, actually I was looking for the source of a photograph (http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/hb829005x0/).
When I felt like you do, depressed, angry, sad, self-loathing… I felt like I was in quicksand. The more I struggled to get out, the deeper I got. So I just stopped struggling, and while I was still sinking, it was slower. I realized at some point I could not continue to function this way.
My solution came out of apathy, and a realization: If I don’t care any more what happens to me, and I don’t care what other people think about me — this is absolute freedom. So, I mustered what little courage remained and I started taking what seemed like great “risks”, emotionally and financially. Calculated risks.
I started talking to people… random people, in the checkout line at the store. While shopping. Waiting for the bus. Whatever my daily business was. The topic was irrelevant. I used to hate small talk, but in many ways it was a release. A release of the insecurities that plagued me. When someone didn’t want to talk, I wasn’t offended, because it didn’t matter.
The more I talked to people, the more I learned that there are people out there who were just like me, but also different. They say that no two snowflakes are alike, this may be true on a microscopic level, but if you’re walking through a blizzard on your way to work, you generally don’t give a shit whether or not they look the same — they feel the same. Cold, harsh, and bitter. But sitting at your window, with a cup of hot tea, a nice warm blanket — it because something of immense and profound beauty. That each snowflake lives its life falling. Sometimes it collects with other snowflakes during its journey, sometimes they break apart.
But looking at all of them makes you realize that there are billions of snowflakes making the same journey. Our paths might vary slightly, but we all have the same fate ahead of us.
With this sense of perspective, I moved forward. Because of my talking, I met people. I made friends on the basis of finding things in common. I met women, and I felt wanted again. The more I interacted with everyday people, the more normal I became. I could be in a group of people and not feel left out. I realized I have thoughts and ideas that people actually care about or find interesting. I found a decent job that was flexible and has work that I actually enjoy.
So, Belle, you have a choice. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. You’ve done it before. Time to do it again.