This morning, I’m going to try something a little bit risky (from my point of view, that is). In the interests of science, I am going to re-examine several minor occurrences from the past few days, and attempt to see how they would have been dealt with by a person with a healthy, normal mind.
I’m certain this is a good idea. I’m certain it’s not going to make me feel even more stupid and pointless than I already do.
So, I’ll begin by describing the situation in brief, and then I’ll try to put myself into the position of someone who thinks and reacts in a normal manner, instead of someone who sees themselves as a black hole in the centre of the universe. I’m sort of hoping that this post will be read by at least one or two people who aren’t a bit mad, who may be able to offer some insight to the sane and let me know if my imaginings have any bearing on reality.
So. On being subjected to half an hour of rather tedious conversation by a slightly racist man who couldn’t eat a pizza without getting cheese all over his face (my fault … I was feeling both hyper and listless and hailed him with, “You’ve got a bit of … yeah, your chin … yep. That’s it”). After half an hour of gleefully imparted contempt-for-his-fellow-man and barely masked passive-aggression, said man makes an excuse and abruptly leaves – almost mid-sentence – despite having already said that he doesn’t have to be anywhere for another thirty minutes. A normal person would probably think something along the lines of, “Oh, thank goodness, he’s gone at last. What a tedious man. I shall now put him out of my head forever and concentrate on the lovely things, like that rainbow. Oh look, a butterfly.” A normal person would probably not think, “What is it about me that makes me so awful that even that awful man thinks I’m awful? How can I change if I don’t know what’s wrong with me? I’m so miserable and alone. Even the butterflies flee me, as though they can sense the cloying darkness of my soul.”
On arranging to meet up with a friend of ten years, with whom I once shared a house, and whom I have not seen since last May. Said friend turns up with eight people he sees every day, whom I don’t know, and then engages one of them in a twenty-minute conversation about chisels. A normal person would think, “These friends of my friend are such charming people, and so knowledgeable! Why, I’m learning bucketloads about chisels! Who would have thought they would be such a fascinating subject? Isn’t the variety in human life just delightful?” A normal person would not think, “He doesn’t want to talk to me. He’d rather spend twenty minutes talking about chisels, for fuck’s sake. I must have done something or said something horrible last time I saw him. Maybe I mocked his accent, religion, or political beliefs. If only I know what it was, I could apologise and we could start again!”
After making polite small-talk with the person in the next seat while waiting for a show to start, when that person dashes off at the end of the show, a normal person would either not notice, or assume they were on a parking meter. A normal person would not take it personally.
Passing cheese-face-man at the bar, saying ‘hi’, and getting no response, a normal person would think, “Oh, he mustn’t have seen me, oh well, saves me the bother of having to talk to him again.” A normal person would not go and have a cry in their car.
Trying to arrange a time to meet a friend, but the best he can do is “sometime” in the mid-afternoon, a normal person would think, “Well, he’s busy, we can always meet up another time”, and not, “He’s making this difficult on purpose because he doesn’t really want to see me.”
A normal, healthy person would not even see these as slights, let alone lose sleep over them. They would be too busy reflecting on all the nice things that had happened over the weekend. Getting to see my brother and parents, whom I don’t see very often, and having a nice time together. Chatting to a record shop owner about St. Vincent’s performance on Jools Holland and being recommended the latest Battant album (sorry Andy, but I tried them on Spotify and all I can say is I’m glad I decided not to buy it). Getting Arthur Smith to buy a copy of the Big Issue (he’s a nice man, he’d have got one anyway, but I’m still going to take credit for it). Being shut in a shed with up-and-coming comic Alex Edelman, and having John-Luke Roberts (for whom I’ve got a bit of a thing) ‘perform’ a ‘sketch’ that I ‘co-wrote’ (I’m sorry, this is the best clip of J-LR I can find on The Internet, however his twitter and tumblr are also rather funny).
And that’s the most exhausting thing about depression. No matter how much of a good time I’m having, a part of my brain is striving to convince me otherwise – picking up on any vague half-negative and deconstructing it time and time again, rather than sticking to happy, cheerful thoughts about all the positives. Many, many more good things than bad things have happened to me lately, and yet I still feel wretched. If there is (and I see no reason to believe otherwise) a designated-magic-happy-pixie flying above me, constantly sprinkling his magic happy dust on my head, zapping any oncoming threats with his magic pixie laser-wand; then any minute now he’s going to dash his empty bag of happy magic dust on the ground and storm off, hands deep in his pockets like any good cartoon character, grumbling about being taken for granted. And his indignation would be righteous indeed.