My brother and I used to try to kill each other on a regular basis. My mother decided it might be a good idea to put a stop to it, and she came up with unique ways of doing so. The least drastic punishment she came up with was to force my brother and me to hug for five minutes. That one was always a fun one. We would whisper exactly how we were going to murder each other as soon as the time was right.
I used to bite my brother in retaliation for punching, kicking, or trying to suffocate me. He would run to my mom and tell her I’d bit him. She would force me to stretch out my arm, and she would bite it. Sometimes, it was hard enough to draw blood, but she knew how much pressure it took to break the skin, and tried not to go beyond that.
I eventually stopped biting, and I discovered my fingernails could be used as a weapon. My brother would start in with “torture little sister time,” and the second he turned his back I would dig my fingernails into him. This resulted in scenes that looked like something from a Freddy Kruger nightmare. My mother, being the problem solver she was, continuously clipped my fingernails short enough to make them bleed.
Eye for an eye punishment was my mom’s specialty. I know these punishments affected me, but I don’t know if the effect was good or bad.
I don’t want this. I don’t want any of this. I didn’t ask for this. I don’t want to eat, but I don’t want to not eat. I don’t want to exercise, but I don’t want to sit on my ass all day. I don’t want to go outside, but I don’t want to stay inside. I don’t want to play any games, but I don’t want to be bored. I don’t want to be miserable, but I don’t want to be happy either.
This is all the illness talking, of course. At least, that’s what they tell me. I’m afraid I might get to a point where I’m no longer mentally ill, but still take no pleasure in the world. I mean, what if I just don’t like being alive? Some people don’t like carrots, and some people don’t like life. Is that a thing? Does that happen? In addition to my aversion to sweet potatoes, do I also have a general loathing for life?
I’m at the bottom, and I’m afraid I always will be. It doesn’t matter how hard I work to climb up, I’m always forced back down. I fall, I get up, I climb. I fall, I get up, I climb. A rising and falling tide, a perfect cycle of failure. It’s happened a hundred times too many, I’m afraid. Cynicism and suicidal ideation are my reaction to everything now. I will lay in this filth until I break, and when that happens I will kill myself.
I’m making excuses for my personal failure in life, yes? I have a defeatist attitude, yes? I deserve everything I get, or don’t get, yes? I’m weak, yes? I’m stupid, yes? I’m worthless. Yes. I believe I am.
I was regularly beaten with a thick leather belt as a child. I was slapped and kicked and scratched and punched and even bitten. I went hungry more times than I can count. I watched my father punch and slap and scream at my mother and my brother. He broke her things. He broke our things. He terrorized us. We escaped him, but we never escaped the damage he caused.
(This makes me sound like one of those people. I don’t think I am, but draw whatever conclusions you like.)
I have major depressive disorder, severe anxiety, an eating disorder, temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ), debilitating headaches, and aches and pains all over my body that the doctors have dubbed Fibromyalgia.
I have tried to hold a job. I desperately want to hold a job. I don’t want to be so poor that buying toothpaste is a major financial decision. Sadly, the crazy and the pain stop me every time. I ultimately fail at everything I attempt, and I despise myself for it. Why can’t I just function like a normal human being?
Remember when you were a little kid, and playing on the swing set was the greatest thing ever? It was so much fun to see how high you could go. That breathless moment when you felt the rope slacken at the peak of your swing, and, just for a moment, you felt weightless, disconnected from the world. Then, the rope snapped back, you felt the pressure of the seat again as it carried you back towards the ground. Over, and over, up, and down, swinging, floating, falling. It just isn’t the same as an adult. You can get on a swing set now, try and recreate that feeling, but the innocent joy and wonder is gone.
Anhedonia is like that. It slowly falls over you like a shroud. It sucks the joy out of everything. Nothing is the same, and, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t feel the way you used to. It’s like sitting on the swing, knowing you can’t relive the delight of the past, but desperately trying to anyway.