For someone who suffers from depression, those normal ups and downs of life aren’t so normal. Someone who does not suffer from a mental illness such as depression or even anxiety will have ups and downs, a good day at work or a parking ticket, paying off a bill or breaking something sentimental, and that person will take those normal ups and downs in stride. The ups make them happy, the downs upset them, but they’re soon reconciled with, set aside, and that person is back to their even keel again.
For someone with depression, those ups are good, but those downs are far worse. And sometimes they can seem like the end of the world, even when they’re not. The other part of it is that those downs, for me anyway, usually snowball. It will start as one thing that will make me slip at the top of the snowy hill, and as I roll down that hill- which becomes a mountain- more downs pile on, making that snowball form into one giant snow boulder that will crash at the bottom. And I’m the one in the center of that snow boulder.
The other day, that boulder crashed at the bottom of the mountain. I have been behind in bills because of my employment situation of the past few months (more on that in another post), I wound up moving which in and of itself the situation was also one big snowball (perhaps even another post about that), and I had to take out a personal loan for the deposit etc, and wound up paying for TWO rents at the same time. I had some small financial help from family, and I thought I was beginning to dig myself out.
I was due to open work- I am a server for a casual dining restaurant- at 10:30. I backed out of my driveway slowly, and started to turn but didn’t realize how much room I needed between the driveway and the telephone pole right next to it. I mean literally next to it. One inch, if that. Going so slow, I grazed the pole and you wouldn’t think it would do that much damage.
It was kind of like the Titanic and the iceberg. Just a slow, even, screech and I was out in the road. I pulled up a little and pulled over, throwing the hazards on.
The thing about the Titanic and the iceberg is, well…
The Titanic sank.
And so had my bumper. It was hanging on by a few clips on one side. A frantic and upset call to my manager later, I was on a mission to fix the bumper and get going. I called everyone I knew was in the area for some assistance, which amounted to two people, one wasn’t answering and the other I woke from sleep. He showed up and didn’t do much more than I already had by pushing the bumper back on. A cop showed up, and since it was a telephone pole he insisted he needed to file an accident report. Fun.
I was a little late but I was on my way to work. I had to stop twice in the parkway due to the loudness of whatever was dragging underneath my car. It was pretty scary, I’ll admit, and I was in tears the whole way to work. Because who knows how much it’ll cost to fix too?
Now, because I was late, I missed out on extra tables that openers get before the second wave of servers arrive at noon. So, missed money. The rest of the day went okay, until my last three tables. One, was a 4top that was so needy they had me running in circles, made a huge mess, told me at the very end after I dropped the check that they wanted it split, rang up a collective $200 bill and left me a whopping $11 for my troubles.
The next was a family of 4, first time guests with two special needs teenagers. They loved everything, service was excellent, they would return. $115 bill, left me $6.
The last was a 4 top and again, excellent service, loved everything, $95 check, left me $5.
So the day ended with me being severely undertipped, not making close to what I need to on a daily basis, and me having to drive all the way home to pick up my daughter and then make a 3 hour round trip to her college and back.
Needless to say, the tears returned on the drive home, and so did the demons. I pulled myself together for the trip to college, but the ride home again was another one fraught with tears and demons. My day was shit and I couldn’t wait for it to be over.
But these ups and downs to someone else would seem minor. To me, they’re like the end of the world. The demons whisper that I’m not good enough, I’m a fuck up loser, I’ve wasted my life, I wasted my education and career, I’ll never amount to anything.
At the end of the day, my dogs waited for me to cuddle and play, and my bed was warm and non-judgmental. And somehow, the not quite so normal ups and downs of that day faded away as I slept, and even though my situation hadn’t changed, the demons quieted down as I caged them once again.