It's pronounced HAYZ-ler, you dweebs.

Better Than Nothing

I painted my nails last night. A friend of mine, like all well-meaning friends, had suggested that if I paint my nails, every time I see them I will feel better.

This morning, I woke up clutching the bedside table, arms tensed, holding on so hard that the tips of my fingers were turning purple. When I saw my red nails, I thought to myself “See? Feel better. You painted your nails. Feel better.”

I didn’t feel better, though it has nothing to do with my nails. I know my friends and family care, and they will suggest whatever they can to see me out of this space. And I will try the things suggested. I don’t believe in hypnosis (it’s okay if you do), but I’m trying it. I don’t like taking medication, (and don’t need to hear your argument against it) but I am trying it. I know damn well that diet, exercise, and affirmations are important. And I’m trying them.

I have a decent mixture of tough love and gentleness around me. I have a therapist. I try to write every day. I logically understand the word “temporary” as it applies to my mind set.

It’s just that right now, most of the time I feel nothing at all. About 5% of the waking hours I feel deep, painful melancholy. The blues. Heartache and desperation. But that’s usually just before sleep and just after I wake. The rest of the time I feel nothing.

Some people have told me that it’s not possible to feel nothing. Others have suggested that it’s better than feeling sad. I assure you, this lack of feeling is very real, and it’s a profoundly dangerous place to spend too much time within, such detachment from oneself being the coldest and most naked form of depression.

I will paint my nails and do yoga and eat sprouts and say mantras. I will go to the ocean and try to recall how I usually feel. I am not suicidal, because I don’t even care enough or have the energy to be so. But I do know that I am alive, that I have a family to care for, and that one day, I will feel better than nothing.

2 Responses to “Better Than Nothing”

  1. I only wanted to say that I know how what you’ve described feels. I’ve been there, more than once. I know what it’s like when everyone insists that they know which philosophy/activity/trick you need to apply to make everything right…which is why I know better than to do those things. I just wanted to reassure you, for whatever small comfort it may be, that someone else knows what you’re talking about.

    I’ve read, and then dropped, a lot of blogs over the years but I keep reading yours in large part because even when you discuss something I can’t relate to directly, I find it helpful just to learn from you how to process experiences. Like most people from my/our generation, I originally hid behind a screen name because that’s what we were all told to do for safety purposes when we first got online in the late 90′s. You were one of the strongest influences in my decision a few years ago to drop that nonsense and put my own name to my Twitter, blog, etc.

    How does this relate to what you’re experiencing now? It doesn’t, really. I just kinda hoped an unexpected compliment might bring a wan smile to your face, if only for a moment.

    I hope things turn around for you soon, Nikol. I’m rootin’ for you.

  2. Russell Carman says:

    I’ve also been there a couple of times and I also did all the things that were suggested. Even though they didn’t necessarily help I think it helped that I tried them, if you know what I mean. It gave me some evidence that I cared, and it added some needed structure to my life. I also found acupuncture kind of sexy, even if it didn’t help the depression. Eventually things got better, and I’m actually glad I went through it because I learned what it’s like and now I can empathize with everyone else who goes through it. Keep doing what you are doing, and thank you for writing about it. I am rootin’ along with Travis.

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