Fake It Till You Make It

It’s a curiously well-known fact that the act of making yourself smile will cause your body to release endorphins and serotonin, even if you aren’t feeling happy at that moment. Because of this, it’s been speculated that if you smile when you feel stressed you can minimize the toll that stress takes on your body. The official jury is still out on how strong this reaction is and if it’s effected by whether you’re forcing a smile or genuinely smiling (called a Duchenne smile, which involves muscles from around the eyes), but nonetheless studies show that it seems to have an impact.

Shrinks will tell you think of thing, too. If you’re depressed and nothing makes you happy anymore, make yourself do things that used to make you happy until they make you happy again. Pretend you’re still happy. Make yourself do things happy you did. Eventually you’ll feel better again, they say.

It sounds so easy, like when I mine information and develop new interests in things when I meet new people… but it’s not that easy. I sit down to draw and can’t think of anything to draw, or worse, I think of something to draw and ruin it. I try to play a video game, and I can’t even get the game basics right. I go out to a show and end up sipping vodka in the back of the room alone instead of talking to anyone, and end up leaving feeling worse than when I dragged myself out.

Recently, D2 had a friend who was really tail spinning. Long story short, a girl fell for her best friend. He didn’t feel the same. So she was devastated, and he was angry. Her behavior spiraled out to the point she cut herself and contemplated suicide. So D2 went to her house and held her, called her parents, and I guess she’s doing better now. He also planted in her head that she might be bipolar, like he is.

Here’s why that all bothers me.

A, not everyone is a fucking bipolar. D2 is diagnosed. I am diagnosed. It does not mean that everyone who tries to kill themselves is bipolar. It means a lot of people can’t deal with life. For a number of reasons.

2, I, personally, wouldn’t have time for this bullshit… Spiraling out in to overwhelming depression because someone doesn’t love you back romantically is a dumbass reason to be suicidal. It’s mellow dramatic. It’s attention-seeking. It’s stupid. Being angry at someone for having feelings for you is a dumbass reaction. It just invalidates that person and leaves them open to some dumbass emotional response that will distance both you, and turn into some superfluous bullshit.

D, D2 tells me all of this, about people I barely know, who have pretty much replaced me and my function in his life… and meanwhile I’m at home looking at hoarded bottles of Xanax, Temazapam, and antipsychotics wondering if I have to put me to asleep forever.

D2 thinks he knows what suicide looks like. He’s been there, tried that, and recovered. He knows what a spiral looks like. It’s big, it’s in your face, it’s trying to get people to hurt you, and getting blackout drunk, and causing a scene at work. It’s crying in public, and looking distraught, and not being able to keep it together. It’s cutting yourself, and screaming at your friends, and suddenly cancelling all your plans with people, and putting yourself in dangerous situations. Anyone can spot a spiral. Those are the people that end up getting help. Those are the people whose parents worry about them, and whose friends ask if they’re okay, and who end up in a shrink’s office on a script of Prozac. What D2 doesn’t know is what giving up looks like.

Giving up is a process. It’s quiet and gradual. It’s always cancelling plans last minute because you feel “sick,” but promising that you guys will do something together soon. It’s giving up your hobbies because you’re too tired after work, but promising yourself that you’ll get back to them. It’s not taking a shower for a week, because you wake up late every single day and don’t have time. It’s staring at a bottle of vodka in your freezer, and being too depressed to even drink your sorrows away. It’s coming home to people and pets that are super excited to see you, but being too tired to deal with their energy, so you yell at them or close yourself off in your room. It’s buying things you don’t need just because you think it might fill the hole in your life where your friends used to be. It’s eating too much. It’s not eating enough. It’s sitting in your car for an hour after you get home because you know that when you walk through the door your spouse/kids/pets will want attention, and you really should mop and vacuum and clean the bathroom and put your laundry away… and all you’re going to be able to do is sit down and waste the evening until it’s late enough to go to bed… and it all starts over in the morning. It’s the fakers, who still get up, and go to work, and smile when you see them who give up.

So I’m waiting for my dresses: bright colors and happiness. I’m working on perfecting that Duchenne smile: how to smile with your eyes. I stopped buying books so I can read what I have. I’m monitoring what I eat and when, trying to stick to lean meats, veg, and some chocolate. I’m trying not to look into mirrors too long, so I can’t see the cracks in the facade. I’m distracting myself with educational youtube channels and staring at blank paper until I decide I can try again the next day when it’s finally time to go to bed.

I’m faking it… and I don’t know that I feel better at all, but it’s pretty evident that no one is the wiser to what’s going on beneath the surface. No one’s come knocking on my door to check on me. No one blinks an eye when I cancel plans at the last second, no matter how many times in a row it happens. No one thinks twice about my overuse of the πŸ˜› emoji, or how they haven’t seen me in real life in a while.

Sometimes, when I feel real low, I wonder what people would think if I were to kill myself. I mean, all the signs are there. It’s not like I’ve put real effort into hiding it. Just put on that fake smile and talk when you’re supposed to, and everything else can be ignored. Everyone always says they never see it coming when people kill themselves… but it’s because no one is looking, and even if they are, it’s easier to convince themselves that it’s not their business.

It’ lucky, or unlucky depending on how you look at it, that I have so many pets… I’m sad, yes. I think about killing myself a lot, yes. I am overwhelmingly responsible, though. I would never leave my pets, or my mom like that. Especially since my mother would just kill HERself, and we’d both be dead, and ten animals would end up in a shelter without us. It’s just a series of events that wouldn’t help anyone.

Still, sometimes I wish someone would ask if I’m okay and demand to just be there. What a hypocritical statement… it’s not like I bother checking on anyone… but they say suicide is selfish, so maybe that comes with the territory.

Update: I reached out to check on Bird. She’s been sad, and I wish someone would check on me, so I checked on her. And told her a cool Zelda hack about chickens. So… at least I did that.

Being Nice Is Abysmal

I don’t know why, but I end up in a lot of one-sided relationships.

For the most part, I don’t mean romantic relationships, especially since I haven’t had one of those since 2012, but platonic relationships: friendships, in particular.

I guess it’s because, in spite of my very best efforts, I’m a nice person. Literally,

I am the kind of person that will bend over backwards to try and make everything okay. Even if we aren’t close, even if we haven’t spoken in a while: if you are distressed, I will go out of my way to brighten your fucking day. It’s a shitty thing to be, honestly, because people definitely try to take advantage of it. I like to think it’s unintentional, but I’m pretty sure that’s just that niceness in me trying to sugar coat the truth of people being shit and taking advantage of nice people.

​One of the best examples of this is that when I was in my senior year of high school (I think) my best friend stopped talking to me. Not just to me, in fact, he stopped talking to everyone and totally dove head first into a terribly unhealthy relationship. It wasn’t really an uncommon thing, for my friends to totally abandon everyone else when they got into a relationship, but it hurt my feelings. This came after years of me tearing my hair out while trying to accommodate him and be the very best friend, ever. I was miffed. I was hurt. I was depressed and tormented over it… and one day there he was, parked outside my mother’s house crying. I didn’t even think twice about getting in his car and going somewhere with him so he could tell me what happened with his boyfriend, playing the ever sympathetic, ever reliable friend that I ever was.

I don’t really regret that day. I’d missed my friend, and everyone makes mistakes. Still, I can’t tell you why I was so ready to forgive. I’d spent all of high school trying to make this kid like me. He was the first person in high school to talk to me. I tried so hard to conform, to like what he did, to be a person that he’d want to keep around. I literally spent time crying when he’d bail on me for someone else, and he’d just thrown my friendship out like an old milk carton because a guy had come along. When push came to shove, though, I wanted him to be my friend more than I was bitter. One thing about me, though… I forgive, but I never forget. He ended up moving away and growing up to be a very important person. He’s happy. He’s happier than I ever remember him being. As much as I’d like to hold a grudge about the way I perceived myself to be treated, I let him treat me that way. I was a different person then… but we’re still friends.

Then there was the one person I fell for. She was insecure, unsure, and always second guessing herself, but she was also the sweetest, kindest person you could hope to meet. I grew really attached to her. To be honest, I think I was in love with her. I didn’t do anything about it, because she’s straight, but I cared about her more than anyone I’ve ever bothered to date. Over time, though, she grew away from me. She got wrapped up in some stuff, and with some people I just didn’t care for. I kept trying to keep her close, anyway. I tried to date someone similar to who she was hanging out with as proof that I was totally cool with everything. That blew up in my face, but not before she completely abandoned me because the guy she was dating didn’t care for my presence…

I’d like to be mad about that one, and for a few years, I definitely was. I was tormented over it. I didn’t understand what had happened, and I felt totally alone in the world. It took a while to realize that what I had previously provided her with, which was a lot of reassurance, affection, and security, was better coming from a man. She wanted to get married and have a family, and no matter how good of a friend I was to her, and no matter how much I loved her, I was never going to provide her with that. No, as much as I wanted to be angry that she deserted me, I can’t be mad about that. I’m still sad that my years of support essentially boiled down to nothing. I’m still hurt that even though I was ready to make every exception to every rule to be the person she needed to be, that I would never be that person. I still wish things were different… but through various methods of stalking, I know she got married, and that she had a beautiful little boy, and last time I checked she seemed very happy. I cannot fault her for pursuing happiness, even if I wasn’t part of that equation.

​

Somewhere in there were the Trixie chronicles. I was seventeen, she was twenty-something, and we had a lot of adventures. Somehow it was always about her, though. Her life was always on the verge of falling apart. There was the abusive boyfriend, who was my boyfriend’s roomie. There was her crazy mother. There was her ex-husband, who never really understood how to be a divorced dad. There were the various minions she collected, some other boyfriends she didn’t really seem to like… All that time, I was happy to follow her around like a puppy. I was having a complete crisis in my own life, but her adventures were a welcome distraction, until Mr. Man showed up. He was a friend of a friend of mine from high school, and she fell for him so hard… and… once again someone I needed no longer needed me.

I can’t really be mad about that one, either. Yeah, it sucked to drift away from each other, but she was so happy. Also, I had some shit of my own that I’d been avoiding dealing with. It was really unfortunate to hear that they ended up not working out. He packed up and left over Christmas last year. I don’t really know what happened, but I couldn’t go back to being her sidekick. I think she was disappointed by that.

​

There were, of course, the Bird & Mouse adventures. Bird was great to hang out with. She liked me. We’d go out and do stuff we both liked… I got tired of things with Bird, though. I got tired of her being late. I got tired of her trying to talk to me about her weight when I weight like twice as much as her. I got tired of being out with her and everyone looking at her, instead of me. (Yeah, I resent the girl for being pretty. I’m only human.) I got tired of her hearing about her parents, and this guy she was seeing, and how everything was so dramatic.

Don’t get me wrong, we’re still friends, but with a healthy amount of space. I’d grown too much to be the person she wanted me to be. I wasn’t her sidekick. I didn’t have the patience for everything to be a trauma… and god damn it, I’m punctual. I stopped offering for us to ride together. I stopped asking to hang out, using my dogs or my job as an excuse to dodge most of her requests… and I let us grow apart.

​

I find myself in another one-sided friendship… My friend is nice enough, but somehow I allowed our friendship to be based around my being part of his support system. He was recently diagnosed with Bipolar Mood Disorder after an unfortunate suicide attempt. I didn’t mind being around for to start with, seeing as how I’ve been diagnosed bipolar for years, but we’re at a point where I’m irritated with him.

A, He lets his Bipolar run his life.

I know that meds will wreck you and that moods are unpredictable. I live that shit. A while ago, however, I had to say fuck it to letting life get hung up on my bipolar. I FORCE myself to be a normal person. I don’t call in when I’m too sad to get out of bed… I roll myself onto the floor and cry all the way to the shower, followed by getting dressed, pushing all my emotions into a tight little ball that will one day give me cancer, and go to work. I don’t do meds anymore because they wrecked my life and I had to take the initiative to do what was best for me to function. If you’re going to be on meds and you’re unsure how they will react, you do start them on a day when YOU DON’T HAVE TO GET UP IN MORNING. That’s common sense.

2, He’s what my other gay friend call A-Gay. All he knows is gay. He’s not gay, but a gamer. He’s not gay, but something else. He’s JUST gay. And that’s fine… but it’s boring. I really signed on for more than just a friend who JUST gay… RuPaul’s Drag Race is great, but I’m not a gay man. I don’t care about going to gay bars and using the identity of a gay man as an excuse to not know basic pop culture references, just because they aren’t about gay men is kind of irritating… like… be multifaceted.

D, He’s not coping well. I don’t understand people who want to get wrecked every fucking day. More so, I don’t understand people who get wrecked when they have company. You want to have a drink? Let’s have a drink. You wanna get twisted every Friday when I come over to see you? Nah, bro. You’re boring.

So we do very little in the way of things I want to do…. and I’m just fucking over it, to be honest. I’m tired of people expecting me to do what they want and no one ever wanting to join me for things I want to do.

Years ago I did everything alone, because no one wanted to do the things I wanted to do. Then for a while I’d made some friends that were already at the things I wanted to do… but they’ve all filtered out now… and I’m back to wanting to do shit and having NO ONE to do it with… As much as I’m dreading it, I guess I’m going to have to do shit on my own again… which I hate, because I’m not good at talking to strangers. I’m not good at making new friends. I’m especially bad at feeling comfortable somewhere alone. But what else am I going to do? Sit on my friend’s sofa and watch him get wrecked every Friday until I die? Sit in my house and binge watch Netflix every evening till I die?

No… I guess I’m going have to fucking enjoy life alone…

This. This is the only reason I want a relationship. I want someone who is obligated to come to a thing with me. I’ll go to their things, too. I like doing new shit. But my life would be better with someone to share it with… friend, lover… someone besides my dogs, since I can’t take them to concerts and clubs with me…

I’M SO FUCKING TIRED OF BEING LONELY, EVEN WHEN PEOPLE ARE IN MY LIFE