This time last year, I was was practically swimming in bliss, what with my team winning the World Series and my guy winning the election and things just generally going much more my way than things are right at this particular moment in time. I'm not exactly talking myself off the ledge, not quite, but ...
... well, let me put it this way: did you ever have one of those days when you have, like, tunnel vision, and all you can see is what's going on right in front of you, and that's probably okay anyway because what's happening off to the side there sounds a little bit terrifying, but anyway you're staring straight ahead trying to concentrate and then all of the sudden you notice that there is a very weighty darkness rapidly closing in around you and you feel this moist hot sulfurous breath on the back of your neck and then you blink and when you open your eyes all you can see is this pinpoint of light on the horizon and suddenly the panting is getting heavier behind you?
No? Just me?
G is still out of work, and right now I am the breadwinner in our family, and let me tell you something about that: my (not-so) inner feminist is at full-on DEFCON-5. It's one thing to be the moneymaker when you want to, when you and he are separate-but-equal-partners, when your marriage is new and you are both young and strong. But when you have to? When there are kids and pets and mortgage payments? When you've been constantly working for 10+ years without breaks except for the obligatory occasional week of vacation and you're old and tired? Whole 'nother ballgame, buster. This is quidditch on the moon.
The fact that there are only 40-something days until Christmas and I have barely started my shopping, barely even started thinking about my shopping, barely even started considering thinking about my shopping, probably gives away how bad things are getting, in my head at least. How can I worry about Christmas presents when I am busy worrying about how we're going to make two car payments and a mortgage payment and a daycare payment with only one job? It's come to this: I am having a hard time justifying spoiling my own child, the child we wanted so long and worked so hard for, because I just can't make the cost-benefit analysis work. Even as I say it myself, it's the saddest and stupidest thing I've ever heard.
And then I think, "If it's this bad for us, how bad must it be for others? The ones with no jobs, no severance, no unemployment, no nothing? How bad must it be for them?" And I can do something for them, I know I can, if I am willing to sacrifice some of the little bit we still have, but ... then again. Then again. They just did a round of layoffs where I work. I know I am lucky to have a job right now. I have survivor's guilt, I guess. I am becoming overwhelmed with all of it. Sometimes I worry myself right into nausea. I need to out my head between my knees. I can't hardly sleep.
I mean, maybe I exaggerate a little bit, but I am starting to hit panic mode right now and I'm not sure how to keep the sky from swirling over me while the earth spins out of control underneath my feet in this maelstrom of my own making. I am starting to crack under the pressure and I wonder sometimes if we're going to make it, G and I, our little family. I feel like I'm going looneypants. Some days I am sad, and some days I am angry, and some days it's a struggle to get out of bed, and some days I am so consumed with so many emotions at once that I force myself to feel absolutely nothing in self-defense. Fuck off, world! Die in a fire.
This is depression, probably a big one, and I know this. I can feel it like a giant octopus or a big hairy spider, twisting its legs around my ribs and squeezing until I can't run and can't move and can't breathe and can't scream. But I can't be bothered with this, I can't, I just can't be depressed right now, not with him depressed and people around me depressed and the whole damn world depressed. I'm the positive one. I'm the cockeyed optimist. I'm Little Miss Sunshine. I'm the Little Engine That Could.
And here I am, standing in the tunnel, and it's getting darker and darker and that panting behind me is getting louder and louder and that tiny point of light is getting farther and farther away and now I'm starting to hear calliope music, which means here come the horrible flesh-eating clowns, and I think it's going to be getting a lot worse before it gets better, and I'm barely hanging on to this high wire here already. Please, send help. And a flashlight.