As much as I complain or vent my frustrations here, I actually have a pretty good life. I usually have enough money to make ends meet, even if I can’t afford many luxuries, I have a nice place to live, even if it can be frustrating to be constantly made aware of my neighbors and the lack of care the rental agency puts into this place, and I have the time and energy I need to pursue enriching hobbies like video games, tabletop RPGs, and writing. It isn’t perfect, it isn’t what I wanted for myself, but it’s still pretty good. There’s a lot to appreciate about it. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to keep this view on my life.
As someone with multiple mental health issues to manage, I’ve grown to recognize the distinct voices they have when they’re whispering in my mind. And when I say “voice,” I don’t mean sound. They all sound like me or my parents, which is what makes them so insidious. But they all have different agendas, different things to say, different stories to tell, and they all do it differently. So when I say “voice,” I mean it in the sense that it is used when discussing writing.
Thanks to this metaphor, this way of viewing things, I can more easily pick them out from my neutral internal narrator. I can tell when it is my anxiety telling me someone doesn’t like me versus when I’m reading actual subtext and responses in a way that tells me someone doesn’t like me. I can tell the difference between intrusive thoughts from my OCD and “normal” thoughts. I can tell when I genuinely feel unworthy of something versus when my trauma is telling me I’m unworthy of anything. Perhaps most frustrating, though, is the voice that whispers quietly, insidiously, and in my own neutral tones the constant question of my depression: “Is this it?”
Three words, never enough to gain a voice, never strong enough to fight against, and always with enough of a hint of legitimacy that I can’t challenge them outright. A single question that can take a neutral or even nice day and send me spiraling into the depths of my depression. And once the spiral begins, the question gets longer. “Is this everything?” or “Is this all I’ll ever know?” are frequent variations, always building on the slide started by their three syllable sibling. Always empty of actual meaning and always open-ended enough to fit any situation. The question is so vague as to be entirely useless for anything other than sending me spiraling.
The only defense I have against it is the simple unsatisfactory truth that sometimes, this is it. Sometimes, life is just spilling cold coffee on your lap, ignoring your pants while you try to get it out of the couch cushion you were sitting on, and spending fifteen minutes in wet pants because you’re trying to press all the coffee out of the rug you just bought. Sometimes life is just collecting old video games that you’re never going to play because you just want to hold onto a physical representation of one of the few bright memories of your childhood. Sometimes life is just writing challenges, reading, and working as the calendar slips by and the days blur together. Sometimes this is it, and that’s fine. It can even be nice.