This is me:That was me on a good day. I was wearing new glasses, having a great hair day, and was dreamily picking out PS3 games that I wanted (you will be mine, "Batman: Arkham Asylum," oh, yes, you will be mine). Days like that are rare; when I'm cheerful and sunny, when I don't feel there's a foreboding sense of dread hanging over me, when I don't regret my past, when I don't fear my future.
Rare. Very rare. Like narwhal-spotting rare.
Narwhals live in depths up to 1500 meters of dense pack ice in the Canadian Arctic and Greenlandic waters rarely south of 65 degrees North Latitude, so they're a tricky animal to spot.
This is me: That is me on a bad day. I'm still wearing the new-ish glasses, but am having a bad hair day and am obviously trying to hide in the kitchen, but was followed in by my shadow, who I let play with the camera. Days like that are more common; when I'm down and quiet, when I'm constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop, when I can't let go of mistakes I've made, when I'm convinced nothing will ever get better.
Common. Very common. Like mosquitoes in your backyard during a summer BBQ common.
Do I really need to explain that? The state motto should really be: Mosquitoes and New Jersey: Perfect Together.
There are warnings these days are coming. I start to eat chips and salsa as my breakfast, lunch and dinner. I lose my temper of the smallest infraction, real or imagined. I barely speak and tend to avoid looking at people so they won't keep asking me "Are you okay?" over and over again.
Like with many things that you fear, the days leading up to the bad days and the actual bad days have many names: Going to a Bad Place, Entering the Swamps of Sadness, My Black Mood, My Griselda Period. There's not much I can do when I'm wallowing in the depths of the Swamps of Sadness but trudge on, dragging Artex behind me, and pray that I'm far enough in front of The Nothing that I can save Fantasia.
Wait, no. That's not me. Damn it, I hate it when I confuse my life with movies from my childhood.
This is where I would include the video of Artex sinking into the Swamps of Sadness, but that scene still makes me cry 26 years after I first saw it.
Self-indulgent as I was (am?), I would spend My Griselda Period on whatever couch was closest (hating my life, my clothes, my boyfriend and/or husband, the couch I was on, the shade of blue the sky was, the sky, whatever), barely dragging myself to work, where I would compensate for My Black Mood by being so "up" that I once had a boss pull me aside and ask if I was high.
I don't have that kind of luxury anymore. Having Lizzie means that when I'm Going to the Bad Place, I have to push my feelings down as much as possible so I can function as a mom. Erick will help out as much as he can, but, when he's at work and it's just Lizzie and me, panic will set in and I'll find myself worrying myself into an upset stomach over whether I can make her lunch or play with her or watch a movie with her without bursting into heaving sobs for no apparent reason.
Oh, and therapy doesn't work. You know why? Because I lie during therapy sessions. Oh, yeah, I lie my ass off: "No! Everything's fine! I don't even know why I'm here. This is so silly. I should just go." Three sessions and I never go back. I have no idea why I'm so desperate to abandon talking about my issues with a licensed professional, but have no problem crying all over a friend until their shirt is soaked with tears and snot.
Riding it out is my best option to getting through the bad days:
and back to the good days:
I don't mind riding it out. I just hope there's enough chips and salsa in the house for the next time or there's gonna be hell to pay.