Every God-Damned Day.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

I made a new friend recently. She struggles with depression. It’s part of why we get along, I’m sure. It’s part of why I get along with most of the people I get along with. She asked me if I struggle with it, too. I told her the truth: every single day.

It’s unfair. I know that. I’m down on myself and rarely see beyond my own, many flaws, but even I know that it’s unfair the way my mind treats me.

Does it have to be every day? Is that really necessary? Do I deserve to have to fight every single day I’m alive just to be okay? Does anyone deserve that?

I don’t think anyone does. And yet, I know I’m not alone. I know it isn’t just me. If it’s unfair that I need to struggle, to fight, to work hard just to keep going every single god-damned day of my life, how much less fair is it that so many others do, too?

I don’t mean to oversell it. Some days aren’t as bad, but it’s always there. And I win plenty of battles against myself, but the victories are small, and fleeting. The losses are devastating.

With depression, you don’t fight to win. You fight to survive. At some point, for many people, you lose enough times in a row, or hard enough, or unfairly enough, and you stop fighting. I don’t blame anyone who stops fighting. I know it’s hard. I know how it feels. I know lying down and giving up seems like a very tempting prospect at times. To be honest, I wonder if I’ll ever do that. To be more honest, I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if I did.

It’s hard. It doesn’t end. You never win. You just fight it until you lose for good.

Another friend of mine asked me a few weeks ago if I’d be dead if it weren’t for my writing. The answer I gave him was more conversational. The actual answer is yes. Yes, I would.

Writing is my weapon, I could say on certain days. On other days, I’d say it’s my defense. Whatever the perspective, I need it. Whatever the perspective, it’s all, sometimes, that I have.

Birthdays are difficult for me. Holidays are difficult for me. Compliments and kind words and presents and people who wish me well are all extremely difficult for me. I’ve worked very hard for everything I have and every inch I’ve gained, and still my mind is unsatisfied both because I could have more, and because I might not deserve what I do have.

There’s no progress. There’s no advancement. There’s change, but no way forward. The struggle is inside. I can change the outside as much as I want, and it means nothing. The inside is where the battle plays out, endlessly, continuously, starting over every day.

Every god-damned day.

I take a few days every year for personal reflection. It’s around this time, which is convenient, because I tend to isolate around my birthday anyway. It’s rough for me. It’s rougher for many others.

I have friends. I have friends who care and who understand. I have the funniest, sharpest set of readers and commenters on the internet, as far as I’m concerned. I have an audience. I write some piece of crap, and people read it. People read it! That’s miraculous. I’ve known writers, and know writers, who would kill for that.

I have a passion. I have a weapon or a defense or whatever you want to call it that keeps me steady. Something I can turn to when I’m feeling at my lowest that helps me to get back to a healthier place. I have people I can talk to. I have a steady writing job. (A writer with a steady job! That‘s miraculous.)

I have so fucking much, and other people don’t. They don’t have that. They face what I face — and worse — every god-damned day…and they don’t have what I have. They fight harder than I or you could ever know, just to make it through a day. And then the next day comes…and they have to do it again. Depression is a Sisyphean punishment. The boulder always rolls back down. Every god-damned day.

I’m sharing this here because you know at least one of those people that’s worse off than I am. I have a voice, and some small platform. They don’t. I have the strength, for whatever reason, to talk about the difficulties I have. They don’t.

It’s my birthday today. I’m thirty-five. If I live another thirty-five years, I’ll have struggled with depression and actively fought it for 70 years. 25,550 god-damned days.

So, do me a favor today. Okay?

Reach out to someone.

Someone you care about.

Maybe you know they have problems of their own. Maybe you have no idea.

But reach out.

Okay?

Just let them know you care about them, and leave it at that. If you want to be really great, let them know you’re there if they ever need somebody to talk to.

It’s a small gesture. I’m not asking for much. They aren’t, either. And you’re not going to change a life.

But I can promise you one thing: you’ll make their day a little easier. And when you struggle for 365 days out of the year, you feel every day that’s “a little easier.”

Thanks in advance, on behalf of someone who needs you right now. You can make a difference, and be a hero, just by reminding somebody that they aren’t alone.

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9 thoughts on “Every God-Damned Day.”

  1. what if you don’t have anyone or anything to reach for or hold onto? What then…..just find someone worse off and just tell them itll be ok when I myself am not so sure, even when I consider ending my life every single day? Every day everyone prays that their loved ones and themselves will be ok……..I pray everyday that today will be my end. What im saying is I have no right to tell someone to hang in there when I gave up and just hoping that whatever powers that be just take me out.

    1. Right now it may feel like it’s over and you’ve given up completely. It’s presumptuous of me to say I know where you’re coming from. I don’t. All I know is that I’ve had many days where it felt like the end was all I wanted. That dying would make everything better for everyone, because I was worthless.

      I lost the fight those days, and I know plenty of people have lost the fight consistently and repeatedly. However, no matter how many times it seems predestined to lose those days, there are ways to win those days. Be it through friendships, creative endeavors, relaxation, getting lost in your work, or just taking ten minutes to stop and count the things that you give the world others don’t. You are unique, and you deserve to be here just as much as anybody else.

  2. yeah, i can relate to this post a lot. i struggle with depression often myself and like you said, some days are better then others, but the feeling of sadness is always lingering there. birthdays and holidays get increasingly difficult for me to get thought too because it seems as i get older i find myself being more lonely and less loved. the worst part of it is that it saps any motivation you have to do anything and the happiness out to things you used to enjoy. i don’t think i told you yet, but I’m an artist and like you is to your writing, is me to my art, my art is the only means to express myself as well and sometimes i believe if it was not for my art, I would not be here today too. to me, i consider every minute of every hour of every day to every year that i don’t think about ending my life a victory. to heers to all of us that made it to another year our life without letting depression win.
    btw, Happy Birthday.

  3. I know I repeat myself, but I love your writing. You brought me a lot of joy during hard times – reading your ALF reviews is a great way for me to relax when I’m stressed out. I know from my own experience how crushing depression is, and I know how it is to feel like you can’t fight anymore and just want everything to be over. Life can be horribly hard.

    My main point is that you are doing good stuff and that you are helping people. That’s great. I don’t know how much this knowledge helps in the bad moments, but I hope you get joy out of it during the good ones.

  4. I was reflecting on this a little earlier today then suddenly imagined Paul Fusco taking credit for your continued existence.

  5. 35? Ahh, fuck. On the plus side, you’re now old enough to run for President.
    .
    Recently I had to be on horse-grade antibiotics for two weeks. They made me feel so awful–physically, but mostly mentally–that I contemplated putting a gun in my mouth. I knew it would be the quintessential “permanent solution to a temporary problem,” but that’s part of what would have made it awesome. Of course, I could never do that to my wife, family, and friends. But I don’t know what I’ll do if I have to go on them again, which I will if the condition returns. I just don’t need that extra push in that direction.
    .
    But things will seem different in the spring. Happy birthday, Phil, and thanks for all you do.

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