“I’m not going to die here.”
I said that to myself last night as I looked in the mirror. It’s not an original line by any means. I’m sure it’s been said a million times, but most recently and most famously by Matt Damon in the supremely wonderful film The Martian.
Mark Watney (Matt’s character) is stranded on a hostile, deserted Mars. His situation is pretty hopeless. But there’s a moment when he looks down and says those words to himself. “I’m not going to die here.”
I’m not going to lie, I feel a little like I’m trapped on Mars. Things are pretty dark in my head lately. Pretty hopeless. My job feels like a dead-end, it sucks my time and energy away from almost anything that makes me happy, my skin has been in a constant state of painful revolution since November of 2013 and my finances are…well…
I don’t like to overuse the words tragic farce, but if the shoe fits.
I’m unhealthy, grossly unhappy, and losing my grip on the hope that there’s still something bigger and better shimmering beneath my dingy surface. And a lot of days—more often than not—I’m tired of feeling like that. And I don’t see a light at the end of any tunnel. I’m just tired. I don’t necessarily want to die so much as I just want to lay down and close my eyes and wake up when I have the energy to live my life again.
Depression is funny like that. It beats you up slowly. In tiny, little increments when you don’t even realize it. It does it by reminding you of every time someone stabbed you with words like “Be realistic.” Or “So what’s the back-up plan?” and “What are going to do for a real job?” It chips away at any kind of belief you have in yourself. It turns the lights out one by one until you’re left sitting in the dark, replaying all of those words, all those moments when it was right. When you weren’t smart enough or brave enough or pretty enough for…whatever it was you were looking for.
I can’t even remember sometimes.
My depression’s been a real fucking asshole this past year. It’s left me sitting in silence in my apartment, screaming and crying inside because I’m too inept to reach my husband who is walking through his own darkness just two rooms away. It’s told me over and over again that my words are worthless. That I’m a disappointment as a daughter and a sister and a friend. That the reason no one has come to visit me is because I’m not worth it. That my dream of grad school, of publishing and teaching is selfish and childish and unrealistic. It’s assured me how unspecial I am. How unentitled I am to anything more than a boring, run-of-the-mill existence.
And it’s done it for so long that it sounds more right than anything else I can come up with. Anything anyone else can say to me. Because it’s coming from inside my brain, so it feels like it knows me better than anyone else. So it must be right.
And, who knows. Maybe it is.
Maybe I’m not special. Not everyone is. (That sounds harsh, but it’s also the point of being special, isn’t it? That not everyone can be.) Maybe I’m not meant for anything more than middle management and a word processor full of works-in-progress that never seem to achieve anything more than a few hundred words a month.
Maybe that’s all true.
But it’s also true that I looked myself in the mirror yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that, and said “I’m not going to die here.”
And I’m going to say it tonight, too.
Because I’m not going to die here. Because I might be living a fucking nightmarish existence of mediocrity, but I’ve at least decided that much.
And that’s not nothin’
Mars isn’t going to win this one.