Haves and Have Nots

21 Oct

When I was about 10 or so, I called my little sister an ingrate. We were washing our Barbie Dream House outside, scrubbing it with tooth brushes, and I called her an ingrate.  She whipped her cleaning toothbrush at me and it hit me square in the temple. I had what you could fairly call a mild stroke from the impact and my mom, you know, yelled at her. Quite a bit. By all this, what I mean to tell you is: in my family, being grateful is very important. We’re just lucky to have what we do (which, at times, isn’t very goddamn much) and it could all be ripped away at any moment. So be grateful. My parents were basically the original privilege shamers and checkers of Northern Michigan.

My dad doesn’t “believe” in “depression” because, to him, I have nothing to be depressed about. And, I mean, maybe I don’t? I was born in the First World. I’m white, sort of middle class, educated. I live in a safe neighborhood. I have a car. The longest I’ve gone without work since I was 13 is maybe 6 weeks. I’ve been to Europe and I can afford my birth control and anti-depressants. I have never been the victim of a violent crime. I have really good skin.  I have many, many riches. I also have the disease called depression which, I’ve come to accept, doesn’t care about my charming stupid life and all the things I have to celebrate.

I had a panic attack in the fitting room of a JC Penney today, but I made it out to the parking lot before I threw up. To me, that’s a win. I don’t know, you know? I wish that my depression and anxiety was somehow profitable for other people. Like if someone could get a $50 check every time I feel those dark and hopeless itches, I would feel better about mentioning it. This, sadly, is a non-profit situation. My bad and my good are my own. I have to take responsibility for them.

I’m okay, but I don’t always feel good. And right now, in this season, I do not feel good. It doesn’t make me less grateful. It just makes me more scared, lonely, tender, human.

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