I’ve never liked gambling. I’d say it’s gone so far the other way for me that I have judged people that flush their money down the toilet. I guess I’ve never won anything but it’s not that I’ve never tried my hand at it, and in fact, I have an understanding of why it’s so tempting. Anyway, recently, I’ve been buying lottery tickets. It started after my Nanna died, a way to be closer to her memory because she used to buy them every week. She would play the same numbers (all of our birthdays) over and over again. I remember her excited but tired voice telling me “You have to be in it to win it,” her gorgeous European accent made me smile, no matter what she was saying. This week though, I’ve purchased more than one ticket. It’s a big draw and I want to win so badly. This time I want to win it for me. So that I can escape. I want money, so that I can leave my job, pay of my mortgage and run away from my life. I’m so unhappy and I’m convinced the chance to step away from it all is the only answer.
I haven’t believed I’ve had depression until recently. I’ve always considered myself to be optimistic. I wake up and look at the sunlight streaming through the window and take a deep breath at how beautiful it is, and I feel hope for my life ahead of me. I’m not trying to minimise it, I know that I’ve described something so trivial, but to me, that feeling of hope is everything. But then I think about the fact that I so desperately want to be a recluse, and I am actively pursuing that lifestyle which wouldn’t be the case if I didn’t feel the immense weight of depression and anxiety. I feel like it’s crushing me, and every breath is getting harder to breathe. I’m not talking about harming myself, I never really feel that way, I just mean that the weight of life is so intense and heavy and I’m struggling to hold myself up. I feel like I have so much responsibility to other people and life in general that I usually just go along with everything and deal with the pain by denying it. But I’m screaming in my head, when someone is talking to me at work, it’s all I hear. It’s deafening. I want to escape by running away and hiding in a dark room. I look at people and wonder how they survive. How they can go out socially and not feel so uncomfortable that they shake and hyperventilate constantly? How do they go to the gym by themselves, or at all? How do they go to the supermarket?
Escape is a key word for me, it’s the most freeing word. Not feeling as though I owe anyone anything because that’s all I feel. It gets so bad that I refuse to call a company and tell them that I’m moving to another one because they provide a better service. I can’t make anyone disappointed. And this week it’s bad yet again. I’ve had the last few weeks off and they want me back towards the end of the coming week. I thought I could handle that since there’s only a few weeks left on my contract with this job anyway.
This morning I had personal training at a small gym and my partner came along. I’ve been to this gym for 6 years and the only way I can handle it is that there’s less than 6 people in there at all times and they’re too busy with their own trainers that they don’t look at me. Just before we left the house, I started shaking. My asthma got so bad and the inhalers weren’t making a difference. I felt so much nervous energy that my limbs felt electrically charged, not in a good way but in an almost painful way. I wasn’t myself during the session, I couldn’t concentrate and when we drove home I burst into tears. Tears of exhaustion and anxiety and I didn’t stop crying for an hour. I almost collapsed in the shower and I felt so dizzy that I had to hold the walls to support myself.
I know now that no matter how bad I’ll feel about it and how much I feel as though I’ll be letting them down, I am not returning to this particular job. I can’t. I’m terrified to tell them and my boss has a bad temper so that scares me too. Even worse, I have to lie and say it’s a physical issue because she will gossip to anyone (and I mean ANYONE,) and I don’t actually trust them with the real reason. So for the weekend, I’ll worry and I’ll worry even after I’ve told them but I don’t have a choice. I have to leave because if I go back, the edge that I’m standing on will collapse and I’ll go down with it. If I’m sure of anything, it’s that. I have to tell them and I have to try and work towards a better life and one day I won’t even remember this moment. I can seek comfort in that.
So, in the words of Stephen Chbosky in ‘Perks of Being a Wallflower’ –
“This moment will just be another story someday.”