this is—excuse me—a damn fine cup of coffee
(i've never seen twin peaks lol)
i’ve never been entirely sure what jogs me out of a depressive episode. sometimes it’s pragmatic (i need to go to work) and sometimes it’s internalized shame (i can’t stand one more day of wallowing in my own misery, sweating through my sheets and ordering binge food i can’t afford on postmates.) to give myself a little credit, sometimes it’s self-compassion (of the “hey buddy, maybe try getting out of bed and going to sit in the local community garden” variety, back when such a course of action was acceptable.)
one thing that always signifies the start of an uphill climb back to normalcy, though, is coffee. i don’t mean this in a #gottahavemyjava way—i love and depend upon coffee, but i’m not, like, an obsessive Single Roast Guy who knows where the beans were grown—but if i’m making a cup of coffee for myself, or even purchasing one, it means i’m committed to having a day that is capital-N Normal, or at least not capital-D Depressed.
i’ve been having a more-than-typical amount of capital-D Depressed days in isolation, brought on by most of the same things everyone else is spiraling about: loneliness, fear, panic. those days are interspersed with ones where i cook, and run, and zoom with my friends and family, and go to bed at night feeling—if not happy—then at least accomplished. i’m holding up okay, i tell my mom on facetime, and on coffee days, i believe it.
on non-coffee days, i consume only binge food (which is harder than ever to obtain, which you’d think would slow me down, but disordered eating loves a challenge) and occasional sips of water. i do my job, because i can, and i have to—and anyway, i wouldn’t dream of requesting a day off for being sad when my colleagues are trying to raise children and care for sick loved ones and still managing to meet deadlines—but that’s all i do, besides lying numb before episodes of “bojack horseman.”
sidenote: is it a good idea to watch The Depression Show when you’re Having Depression? probably not! is it what my friends and therapist call “poking the wound”? definitely! do i still have four seasons left? absolutely!
i remember this one specific day when i still lived in la, and i was depressed, and then the depression lifted and i walked to alfred coffee, home of the “but first, coffee” neon hipster sign that my friends and i would mock on a regular basis. my being able to walk to alfred means this probably happened while i was subletting my friend olivia’s room in a big, airy house on lafayette, but i’m not sure; maybe i walked all the way from the virgil village two-bedroom where my car was briefly stolen out of the covered parking area, or drove from the house in highland park with the avocado tree in the front yard and could only find parking so far from alfred that it constituted a “walk.”
i don’t remember a lot of my time in la, due to a combination of depression fog and poor memory, but i remember this day. it was gray out, and i got a giant whole-milk latte from alfred without worrying about the calorie count, and i called my dad, and then…i think i met up with friends to watch one of the “harry potter” movies. it was one of hundreds of next-day resets in my life, days when the fog above my head has cleared enough for me to reenter the world. but the gag is, now i can’t! (cue laugh track)
anyway, i’m drinking coffee right now and watching “killing eve” to prepare for an interview. i’m about to write a story that has the potential to be funny. it’s raining out, which weirdly makes me feel ok about staying on the couch all day. maybe after work hours i’ll wash my hair; i’ll definitely zoom with a friend, because she’s having a day that is infinitely worse than mine, and my depression nearly always stops short of making me a bad friend these days. maybe that’s growth; actually, i know it is.