Smothering Pain With More Pain

I am an emotional yo-yo. My good days are always balanced with bad ones, and most of the time the negative feelings are felt immediately after the joy has left my body. I once mentioned to someone on a prior occasion I was likely going to have such a day (and I did), to which they said to, “Don’t even think about it,” and that, “I was in control.” I took a deep breathe and forced myself not to respond, because it wouldn’t do any good to tell this person they just didn’t get it. I also bite my tongue because the words I would have used would be very angry, and sometimes it’s better hold back than make someone else out to be an inconsiderate fool. Or am I supposed to communicate such things lest they never come to an understanding? I don’t know.

It could just be a mess of logic the depression has put me through, but it’s the conclusion I’ve come to after much experience trying to “be in control” as it’s been suggested: The mind and body isn’t something you control. Be it happy, sad or anything in between, mood has more to do with chance than of want. Oh, I had my time trying to be in control, and all it’s really done is make me miserable. To quote Allie Brosh, it’s like trying to punch yourself when you have no arms. So I’ve just come to accept whatever the day gives me. I could be having the greatest day possible, being incredibly open and intimate around others to the point it’s ridiculous, then suddenly dip into a pit of loathing, wanting to run from everything around me. 

Such was the case after recently having what could only be described as an amazingly good time. I had made the decision to see the show 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, after many people told me what a great show it is. And I’ll be damned, it certainly was. It took awhile for me to get comfortable with the characters, who have so much energy and are otherwise just thrown at you, but once I got used to them…oh gods did I adore them. My day was bland and had a little bit of drive before I went to the show, so Quiche was just the thing I needed to round out the day make me feel better about myself.

The moment I walked out of that theater, I became a mental wreck. I slowly wrapped my arms around me and didn’t let go for the 10+ blocks it took to get to my car. I tried to keep silent, because my mental thoughts tend to manifest as verbal abuse, and I can only guess what whispers those walking behind me heard as the curses unwittingly left my mouth. To bring focus to my mind, I would press my fingernails into my hands/fingers, bite my lip, or imagine putting myself through wretched pain to kill whatever it was that was making me feel. This involves suicidal thoughts as well, but strange as it sounds, there are worse things I think on when I’m feeling exceptionally rotten.

…There’s this movie I saw as a child called The Witches of Eastwick. My parents were usually very protective of what I happened to see when I was young, and I being the rebellious kid who didn’t know better, would disobey them by opening my eyes oh so slightly so I could see what they didn’t want me to. Fight back when their hands covered my eyes. Cry when I was taken into a different room, because I didn’t want to be excluded. For whatever strange reason, I wasn’t watched over whilst Witches played, and I kind of wish I was. The Witches of Eastwick has incredibly disgusting scenes within it, and while it’s called a comedy-fantasy film, it’s of a darker breed.

And despite my saying this, what’s really bizarre is The Witches of Eastwick is rather tame to the vulgarity I tend to see in other films I would otherwise praise. Due to the fragility of youth, this film has stuck with me, and watching scenes from the film for reference as I write this bring everything back. As strange a source it is, I now have a better understanding of childhood trauma, and how even the silliest of things can bring out such visceral reactions. And while the whole of the film has plenty of trauma to give, there’s really only one scene needed to sum up the sickness I feel. It’s the one scene which clearly comes to mind when the rest have been forgotten through the years. It involves Veronica Cartwright uncontrollably vomiting up an endless supply of eaten cherries, pits included. It is the image that comes to mind when I’m feeling exceptionally awful about myself, right above hanging from a rope and quickly making use of a sharp object. The one image of pain and suffering that could “snuff out” whatever else is within me.

I’m certain The Witches of Eastwick is a grand film, but there is far too much of me connected to it to properly appreciate at this time. Even if there does come a time I’m willing to watch it, the act of vomiting will always be connected to that imagery, that uncontrollable suffering which Veronica portrayed so terribly. Heck, something about vomiting in general just sticks with you. The nausea, retching, the need to expel, and the pain of expulsion, and then…a sort of calm after the storm, and a need to fill up the emptiness inside you. As such, the thought of vomiting sits as king of the many painful things I would dwell on just to drown out the mental anguish I go through. Sometimes I think I could make myself vomit just by thinking hard enough, getting involuntary burps now and then. I even get it in my head to force myself to vomit via a couple of fingers, just to get it over with because I’ve already thought about it for so long. I’ve never done it, mind you, and while I would like to say I never will, I didn’t think my depression would get bad enough I’d actually consider “escaping” it.

…I know it’s not healthy what I physically and mentally do to myself, but I honestly don’t know any other reliable/trusted/etc. method right now. Drowning out one pain with another will “kill” me in the long run, but understanding the path to take is different from walking it or even being capable of walking. Again, punching yourself when you have no arms. Being good to myself seems like such an alien concept, if only because I’ve just come to accept that I am filth, and I have to remind myself of this fact whenever I happen to have a moment of peace. Like I can never have anything of worth because I’m nothing but a stupid, gutless coward, and deserve hell for even thinking otherwise.

There is no happy end to this line of thinking. It’s merely a state of mind I’m trying to convey and map out not for the benefit of you the reader, but for me. The only thing you will get is an upset demeanor, while for me it manifests what is otherwise formless liquid in my head. I need it out in order to function, and you just happen to be the unlucky reader today. Just another moment in my long existence with depression. If you’ve managed to read this far, congrats, your stomach is exceptionally strong. Now have a cookie, and make good in this world.

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