Before I ever suspected that I might benefit from medical attention for my very low moods, I had a conversation with two of my oldest friends, Faisal and Max.
We were talking about past struggles and Faisal mentioned that the one thing that has always helped him pull out of it was exercise, “It sucks and you don’t feel like doing it but if you make yourself do it every day – it’s the only thing that always helps.”
Max and I took a beat. “But sometimes when you’re in really bad shape…” I started. I wasn’t sure exactly how honest I was going to be about this, “…and you go running, you hear that voice. Like, ‘I’m making you do this. You think you can run away? You can’t. It’s just another sign that I’m in control. I am making you do this, and it won’t work. I’m still here.’ you know? That voice.”
Max nodded and winced a little.
Faisal looked horrified. He said something like, “Jesus. You guys are fucked up.”
Yeah. Max and I kind of already figured.
I’ll write soon about how, years later, that same fucking voice almost kept me from asking for help when I couldn’t eat or pay my bills. Hopefully I’ll eventually be able to see it as childish and sad. In the meantime, I’m just trying to say fuck that guy.
**Edit** In hindsight I’m really glad that conversation happened. I was in the midst of what I now realize was my fourth or fifth major episode, and I had no idea. I just. didn’t. know. I guess I really thought that depressives were stuck in bed somewhere, unable to go to work like I did every day. This conversation was one of hundreds of things that eventually made me think that what I was dealing with was a little different from what other people meant by “having a really tough time.” It took a few years, but eventually it helped me realize that it was time for some deliberate action. Why did I hesitate to be honest about ‘the voice’? Was I ashamed? I don’t really know, but in hindsight I’m really glad that I said it out loud, because Faisal’s reaction made me realize that maybe things didn’t have to be so bad.