Honest Birthday Musings

Photo by Jeremy Vessey

Photo by Jeremy Vessey

At 5:45 this morning I turned twenty-five. At 6:45 my alarm went off, and I woke up crying, wishing that moment twenty-five years ago had never happened. The texts and Facebook comments wishing me happy birthday had already started rolling in, and each time a new one popped up on my phone, I sank a little deeper into the pit I can never seem to fully climb out of. Each message made me want to feel happy, and the fact that I couldn't feel happy no matter how badly I wanted to only made me feel worse. Every notification perpetuated that vicious cycle of wanting and of sorrow.

It's now 11:00 at the time I'm writing this, and I'm doing about the same. Small moments of joy and laughter break through every now and then, but they don't last long before I start thinking about how my business is growing far more slowly than I'd like and how I still procrastinate on everything no matter how important it is and how even though I love living at home with my dad I hate that I don't know when I'll be financially stable enough to move out. They're the same thoughts that plague me even when I'm not weighed down by depression, but at the moment I don't have the ability to talk myself out of the despair.

I got a little birthday money from my grandparents the other day and decided to spend it all on a Lamy 2000, a really beautiful and serious fountain pen. It's probably in my mailbox right now, and I can't wait to get home and fill it up with my favorite blue-black ink. Even in that excitement, though, I can't help but think about how this pen will not get rid of my depression and how it's only a matter of time before I resent myself for spending $118 on a pen, even though what I'm actually mad about is the fact that even though this pen does bring me joy, it's not enough to make me feel content. Will anything ever be enough?

I'll probably go to Starbucks on my way home from work to get my free birthday drink, because honestly I'll never pass up a free chai latte, but I already feel the anxiety I know is going to hit me when I get there. I worked there a year and a half ago. I was planning to work there to save up money to get an MFA because I didn't really know what else to do with my life. I knew it was temporary, but I was depressed anyway. Then, only a month after I started there, I got a job offer as a copywriter at a marketing firm. It seemed like something I'd enjoy, so I took the job, and I was happy. It wasn't long before the depression came back though, and I quit. That's when I started reading tarot professionally, and, no surprise, I felt great. Now, though, I'm just exhausted.

I never seem to know when the depression is going to rear up again and throw doubt over any happiness I had managed to cultivate. Any time I seem to get my life together and feel like I'm headed in the right direction, depression pops up and laughs in my face, like it was waiting for the opportune time to make the biggest shitty impact. After times like this, I'm reminded that I can't trust any happiness I may find, but after a while I forget that, and that's when I fall back into this hellmouth again.

People always say it gets better, and it does. Those people just neglect to say that it also gets worse again. Logically I know that I'll come out of this and find my way again, but it's hard to keep living on this endless mountainous terrain, unable to accurately see where the peaks and valleys are.

I've written posts on my birthday three years in a row now. This is the first year I haven't felt bright and shiny and new. Looking back, I feel like I haven't made any real progress at all, and that feels like a slap in the face. I don't know what this year will hold, and while I hope it's only good things, part of me is afraid it will just be more stagnation. How much of that is my own fault, and how much of it is my unbalanced brain chemistry? I don't know. I just know something needs to change. Here's hoping.