I almost don’t want to write this entry for fear of jinxing myself, but I’mma say it anyway and see if it sticks: I may not be depressed anymore. Cool, right?
Now, I don’t know much about how depression works. Maybe it’s less of a temporary affliction like chicken pox or a broken arm and more of an ongoing condition like bulimia nervosa or a gambling addiction in that one is never really “cured” but rather learns how to control those negative impulses and live life, umm, better (for lack of a more appropriate word; I’m not really sure of the proper vocabulary here.) But the point is—
I feel better, y’all.
Honestly, I’m not really sure how or why this happened. I’m still single. I’m still so broke that I was making awkward “divorce is awesome” jokes at the bank last night when the banker asked if I usually keep more than $1000 in my checking account. And I still have to play horrifying games of “find the anger urine” if I leave the dogs too much during the week. But I’m guess I’m actually okay with it. Finally.
Patience has never been my strong suit. Whenever I’m upset or anxious about something, I want it to be better RIGHT NOW. I want to throw all of my energy into fixing whatever the problem is and just be done with it. I’ve always been a man of action that way. I have to feel like I’m doing something; I can’t just wait-and-see. This is why I load myself up with rules and experiments. If Approach A isn’t working, I need to come up with Tactic 2 quick, fast, and in a hurry. Basically, it boils down to this: being happy is so much easier for me than being unhappy, so I want to get back to that state ASAP. And if I don’t know how to do so, then I usually opt for sheer mind power, even when that method makes absolutely no sense.
It’s like when you’re trying to fall asleep but you can’t, so you lie there and think, “Okay, I’m going to fall asleep … now! No? Okay, how about now?” Except it was me, staring into my bathroom mirror, saying, “Okay. That’s enough of this bullshit. You’re going to stop whining and start feeling like your old self again.” And, if that didn’t work, I’d conjure up my best Arnold Schwarzenegger: “Do it! Do it now!” Which, while both awful and hilarious, was totally ineffective after the fit of giggles subsided.
It turns out depression isn’t something that can be reasoned away. I couldn’t just buy it an ice cream cone and a new pair of shoes and turn its frown upside down. I couldn’t just power through, no matter how hard I tried. I had to wait for time to do its thang and heal my infuriatingly stubborn wounds. (Because, really, there’s only so many times a girl can belt, “Jamie is over, and where can I turn? / Covered with scars I did nothing to earn” from The Last 5 Years before her neighbors take up a petition to make her move.)
And maybe I’m not 100% all the way there yet. There are still realizations that can knock me on my ass – but they’re different than they were a few months ago. Like the other day, it suddenly dawned on me that Josh and I will probably never play tennis again. And that really bummed me out. Not because I miss him or want to get back together. But because I really like playing tennis. Progress, ya’ll. Progress.
I can admit that things were dark and twisty for a while there. I’m a proponent of the Tyra Banks adage, “Fake it ‘til you make it” (and I really didn’t want my folks to worry about me even more), so I tried to keep the worst of it to myself. Plus, I’ve found that the things people tell you when you’re depressed because your husband left you and your life consequently went to crap don’t help at all. Like AT ALL. (Sorry, guys, but it’s the truth.) That sage advice of “you’re better off now” when you’re on the verge of tears because you’re alone and irrationally upset because all you want to do in life is watch Psych and you can’t because you’re now too poor to pay for the bigger cable package and, you know, all the rest of your bills, is both ridiculous and incorrect. Just FYI.
But I digress.
Because the way I keep finding myself dancing in my office chair, and in my car, and in my kitchen etc. would suggest that I might have found my way out of that dark cloud of gloom after all.
It’s embarrassing to actually admit this, but I kinda figured I’d remain in Eeyore mode until I landed myself another man. (Yeah, this from the almost-women’s studies major.) I’d talk a big game about figuring out who I am alone and setting goals for myself as an individual, but at the end of the day, I’d look over the pile of dogs who still won’t sleep all the way on d-a-d-d-y’s side and think, “Damn, I need to find me a new husband, like, yesterday.”
But then something interesting happened, and I did post on fbook about this a bit, so forgive me if it’s redundant: I had to dump someone.
Through ye olde Internet dating, I found a perfectly nice man who was just swell on paper. Sweet. Grown up. Loves dogs. Interested in theater. Ready to settle down (like, right now, actually.). If I wanted to find another husband in a hurry, this was the guy. The problem was, he wasn’t *my* guy. Now, I hate all people, so it took a few weeks to discern whether the problem was my inherent misanthropy or a lackluster connection between the parties involved. Turns out it was the latter, except it seemed I was the only one who was aware of this problem. And I’ll admit that Depressed Jessica was, ironically, hopeful that a spark might ignite if I kept trying to light the match, but then something magical happened: Strong Jessica popped back up and said to me, “Bitch, please. You know there’s no future here. Why are you making me do this? You’ll have a better time sitting home alone watching Will & Grace than trying to make yourself like this dude. Cut and run already, will you?”
So I did. It was hella awkward, and I felt so awful doing it. For about a half an hour. And then I felt awesome. Because I realized that the strong version of me was right. I shouldn’t force myself into a relationship because I’m too scared to be alone.
The Saturday after the awkward “break-up” (if you can even call it that, which I’m not sure you can. In fact, I wouldn’t. Three dates does not a break-up demand.) was the first Saturday in six months that I didn’t have any plans, so I did sit at home and watch four discs of Will & Grace all by myself and I was so. freaking. happy. for the first time in a really, really long time.
And all it took was me. Forget about those assertions of “you’ll be fine on your own.” As I sat there on my couch, with a pint of (full-fat!) Ben & Jerry’s in one hand and my own Ben & Bella on my lap, I finally felt like myself again. And I can’t even begin to describe how incredible that is.
Yes, I am still actively looking for a Prince Charming of sorts. It’s still a very high priority – and not just because I have FIVE weddings to go to this year. I still believe that I’m the best version of myself when I have someone to care about. But in the meantime, I’ve come to see that I am excellent on my own, too.
I think that’s what they call acceptance.