My nom de plume is slightly incorrect. I am Happy TO BE in Vermont, not necessarily happy. I honestly don’t know when I have ever been happy. Don’t get me wrong, I have happy moments; even happy days. They are generally far between.
A couple of weeks ago I was made miserable by a door – my neighbor’s front door to be exact. It is a very nice door. I think it has six window panes and it seems pretty solid. I’ve knocked on it a couple of times out of necessity, though, not because I wanted to. I hate that door. I avoid looking at that door when I walk by. If I could, I’d kick that door, hard.
That door, you see, has become the physical symbol of how utterly unimportant I am.
I have suffered from depression for years, probably going back to childhood. I’ve always been a “sensitive” child who felt things more strongly than other children. I’ve always had a very small group of friends, usually just one or two. I’ve always felt like I was on the outside looking in even while I was part of a group.
That has continued into my adult years (I am about to turn 44.) While in the Navy in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I had a failed (obviously) suicide attempt and battled anorexia and bulimia. That I survived the suicide attempt leads me to believe that I have a purpose here; I just don’t know what it is yet even after all these years. I’ve had one long-term relationship that involved more than sex. That relationship was a disaster. Several years ago I began to shut people out with the notion that I needed to do it to them before they did it to me.
I moved to Vermont by myself almost two years ago. I love it here but am miserable at the same time. I love the weather. I love that I can walk to just about everything I need to get to. I love the lake to the east and the mountains to the west. I just don’t like me.
But, let me progress to the door. I moved into the apartment sight-unseen. It was not feasible for me to get from Mississippi to Vermont to go apartment hunting. Moving into temporary housing here while looking for a permanent arrangement wasn’t an option, either. So, I found an apartment that, really, suits my needs even if it is a bit small. (I had a three bedroom house in MS and this apartment is 1 1/2 bedrooms and half the square footage).
My biggest complaint about the apartment from Day One has been that there are no kitchen cabinets. There are shelves. These shelves are a pain in the butt. The glasses get dusty and my food is on display (not that too many people come over but…) I mentioned the cabinets to my landlord numerous times but I’ve been patient. So far.
Imagine my surprise when, last summer, my neighbors (those who got the door) got a new kitchen floor and, yes, new kitchen cabinets. Did they need both? Definitely. They have also gotten a new bathroom floor and a new bathroom vanity. Definitely needed that as well. See where I’m headed?
A couple of weeks ago, I heard the sounds of construction and then saw a front door go by. When I went to work there was my landlord finishing the installation of my neighbor’s door. After I had bitched and moaned about the lack of cabinets in my kitchen my neighbors get cabinets and flooring in the kitchen, cabinets and a vanity in the bathroon, and a new door. That door was the final straw.
I had to stem the tears as I walked to work. Because that door is proof that my neighbors (in fact, everyone) is more important than I am. That is the arrogance of depression. The notion that everything that happens around them is somehow an assault on them.
A “normal” person would think either the neighbor really needed the door and/or the landlord somehow forgot about the cabinets. To someone with depression, it is quite personal. It isn’t so much that my neighbors needed the door or my landlord may have forgotten about my cabinets. It’s that what I want or need doesn’t matter. Because it is about me, not them. It’s always me. I want someone to pay attention to me, listen to me, remember me. Give me some cabinets. But instead I get nothing while my neighbors get cabinets and a door.
I hate that door. It is illogical but it doesn’t matter. One of the things I’ve always wanted to be was important. To someone. And, yet again, I’ve seen proof that I am not.
So, let the people around you know they are important. Give them all a hug. And do it every day.