It’s been a weird week. Everything started out okay, I guess, but after a few nights of little or fractured sleep and an unexpected nosedive in mood (partially thanks to a Cowboy Junkies song playing on Pandora that holds no real significance for me but made me miserable for some sad bastard reason), I was lying in bed on Friday at 2am with my eyes wide open and no hope of getting back to sleep. So I did what any masochist would do. I got out of bed, made some coffee, and was at work before 6 in the morning, vibrating down to my bones with sharp pains shooting out of my eyeballs.
Way back when I first said something about being depressed, Mike texted me to say that if nothing else, I had to make sure to get up and do stuff. He said it would kill me if I didn’t, if I just sat there and never left the house and let it consume me completely. And he was right. So I get up. I go to the store. I mail a rent check. I go to work early and stare at e-mails and will myself not to be meaner than is absolutely necessary.
Even when everyone in my department left early for a “team-building” exercise at a bowling alley and I was tired enough that I could hallucinate hearing my hair grow (sounds laborious, at least when you’re exhausted) and I just wanted to sleep, I went, anyway, and drank free beers and looked like a doomed spectre of myself.
And when I left early to make a massage appointment, I was buzzing with enough nervous energy to be on 3 different buses within a 10-minute timespan, although I am happy to report that the creepers are still alive and well, everyone, don’t worry, for although I looked entirely strung out and weird, some rando kept staring at me for the entire bus ride home. The public transportation freakshow economy system is intact.
I was worried that I wouldn’t be relaxed enough for a massage. For one, I felt like I was physically unhinged. For two, when I get depressed, I get socially anxious, and when I get socially anxious, I find it difficult to gauge how I should react to other people. People I know are one thing – they’re used to my voice and my cackle – but people I don’t know can be taken aback, and I never quite know how to strike the balance between speaking in a barely audible murmur and just fucking screaming everything I say. So I was a little nervous about freaking out the massage therapist, and that was on top of my normal anxieties about massage.
I don’t get massages. The thing is, my father is a massage therapist. He hasn’t always been one, though. He didn’t go to massage therapy school until I was in my early ‘20s, so basically, I got to live most of my life being yelled at by a crazy strict Catholic disciplinarian, and then, in my ‘20s, I was presented with this weirdo who wanted to talk about chakras and shit and I still don’t quite know how to deal with that. Part of me feels cheated, most of me is just confused. ALSO during that time he took up with some lady who became his mistress and she had a family, too, and it just got really ugly and unfortunate and I don’t blame massage therapy, but the residual psychological effects have sort of skeeved me out to the intimacy of a massage situation. Know what I mean?
But I’ve been dealing with a hurt shoulder for about a year and a half now, and since I don’t want to go back to the doctor for muscle relaxers, I thought I’d give massage a try. And in the meantime, I’d use the opportunity to get over my issues of being touched by a stranger. I was a bit worried that I’d fall asleep. I was more worried that I’d fart on the table. I wasn’t worried that I’d cry, at least not until I read a comment on the bus ride there about how some people just lose it and start weeping. But I did none of these things. I kept it together and the therapist and I talked about Chris Pratt while she worked on my scalp and I was finally able to sleep that night and you know what, I’ll probably go back.
It still feels as though I’m holding on like grim death, psychologically-speaking, but as I get older and learn ways to work around that (get off your ass, go out in public, write mean things and then delete them and then congratulate yourself for being so progressive and kind, etc.), I realize that at least it feels like I am holding on. And that’s an improvement.
“Always remember that the crowd that applauds your coronation is the same crowd that will applaud your beheading. People like a show.”
— Terry Pratchett