There’s a poem that was circulating on Tumblr for a while. I don’t remember the name of it. I don’t remember who wrote it. But it was about accomplishments, and about buying eggs. About how the latter becomes the former when you have depression. And it made me think.
It made me think about how waking up is an accomplishment. Particularly, it becomes an accomplishment when the day before you’re in a dark movie theatre and suicidal thoughts cloud your mind. When the images on the screen flicker past you, and she can’t keep the refrigerator clean, and you think about how you can’t keep the refrigerator clean either, and logically that means you’re worthless and you should just end it.
It made me think about how keeping a straight face is an accomplishment. Flashing an empty smile so you don’t make a fool of yourself in public. Keeping the tears at bay so you don’t ruin your makeup. You put so much effort into each little lash, each wave of pigment, and you prevented it from being destroyed because your heart sinks and your mind is damaged.
It made me think about how not screaming is an accomplishment. You’re sitting there, and she’s saying to you that she thinks something happened, and you’re screaming inside because you want answers so damned badly and at this point you’re ready to throw in the towel and say, you know what, I am just crazy. Nothing happened. They won’t be honest with me and there’s no way to tell and maybe it’s just because I was off meds and so let’s just plug my ears and not scream and go la la la and pretend everything is fine.
It made me think about how smooth skin is an accomplishment. How if all of this had been happening about ten years ago, your first response would have been to take an Ambien and break out the razor and draw with blood on your skin. How people couldn’t tell the difference between your stretch marks and your scars. How it was the only way to cope with the pain. But your skin is smooth now, and the razor is rusting in the backyard, but the promise you made to yourself to stop isn’t rusty at all.
It made me think about how a full belly is an accomplishment. How eating rice isn’t a sin. How keeping food down is a huge deal, whether it’s because you don’t get the spoon and do it yourself or because you’re not so stressed that you can’t handle even a few bites. How food doesn’t make you cry anymore, how it doesn’t make it feel like it’s your fault it tastes bad, just like it was your fault that she touched you when you said no.
It made me think about how these aren’t the kinds of accomplishments you brag about. How college and good grades and job opportunities are the things that are talked about at family reunions and on Facebook status updates. How having dreams about breaking down stigmas surrounding mental health aren’t things that are talked about until you’ve made actual progress. How vacuuming the carpet and making sure your fiancée has a hot dinner when she gets home from work don’t deserve a pat on the back. How waking up is not a big deal to anyone but you. Because if you were gone that’s one less burden on the family, one less burden on the government and the taxpayers, and one less burden on your emotionally fragile friends who don’t want to hear you cry anymore.
It makes me think about how even though I believe so strongly to the core of my being that I have no place in this world,
I wake up.