I'm so depressed

If you're feeling sad even though you're starting to see friends again, you're not alone.

Yesterday, I finally accepted I was depressed. I weighed myself and the scale said 82 pounds. The last time I weighed this little, I was impossibly sad.

It’s easy to track my mood through my weight. When I had finally escaped my childhood home and was taking classes I loved in college, I finally cracked the triple digits and weighed 105 pounds. I filled out my clothes, my cheeks were plump, and my tits looked great. I loved it.

I have vegetative depression. Whenever I slip under, I lose my appetite and I can’t sleep. I stare at the ceiling blankly. I lose focus, lack drive. Some depressed people overeat and oversleep; I simply don’t do anything. The last time I was like this, I just laid in bed and cried, did the bare minimum absolutely required to sustain life.

This time is different. I’ve developed a litany of coping mechanisms. I’m better at reaching out to my friends. I love my work. I water my plants, I do pilates, I cook, I walk my dog, I drink tea, I take a bath, I cuddle. So over the past few months when I would wonder if I was depressed, I would shrug and dismiss it as COVID blues.

But it’s not just feeling blue, it’s worse than that. Even as New York is opening up and the streets are growing busy, even as I’m seeing my friends again, I still can’t eat. I still can’t sleep. Something still feels off.

The last two weeks I was traveling. I took a road trip with some friends down the West Coast 101, from Portland to San Francisco. We camped in the woods on the way down and I felt a sense of pressure I hadn’t realized I was feeling release. We did shrooms among the redwoods and built a big campfire. I felt so much love.

After we got to San Francisco, I flew down to Los Angeles to catch up with friends and do a little work. The first friend I was supposed to stay with had to cancel. I was going to stay with another friend, who had to leave town for work. Luckily, I love her husband and he said he was fine with me staying there without her.

He makes really beautiful music and whenever we hang out I always ask him to teach me a little more about using synths. We stayed up until 3am that night, fucking around with sound. It felt so good to be doing something new with my hands. I loved the pleasant frustration of not quite knowing how to do something, but hacking away at learning it, slowly feeling it fall into place.

I woke up at 7am and walked my dog and called my absent friend. We talked about how we kept missing each other and she roasted her boss. Then I called one of my oldest friends, who I’ve known since preschool, who told me he was starting to make music again too. He played his latest track for me and I smiled, feeling warm.

I went to another friend’s house, stripped naked and floated sunning in their pool. I had a picnic with my love Dominatrix Iris in the park. We kissed under swaying palms. I cooked dinner with the guy I was staying with and then we went to his friend’s birthday party.

I felt strange at the beginning of the party; everyone was around my age but I felt old. I internally mused whether anyone else there was a divorceé, I smugly decided they weren’t. I felt as though everyone there spent at least an hour a day on TikTok. They were all doing little dances and vocal tics that were inscrutable to me, seemingly plain as day to everyone else.

I’m so quick to judge when I feel out of place, more comfortable pushing people away than feeling left out. That’s how I flirt with men, too. If I’m worried they don’t like me, I’ll spend way too long talking other guys I’ll say I want to fuck, trying to make it seem like I don’t care in the crudest way possible. Preemptive strike.

But someone at the party ended up knowing of the high school I had gone to and it was satisfying shit-talking the worst of the preppy assholes who went there. I ended up in a corner of the backyard smoking weed with a couple in their 30s, talking about Williamsburg in the early 2010s. And then all of a sudden I was talking to everyone else, too, and remembering why I loved going to parties in the first place.

We said goodbye to everyone and drove back, taking turns playing music for each other and talking about nothing. I felt something inside me moving aside, stretching out.

The next day as I watched him water their plants, he asked me why he felt so depressed.

“COVID,” I said, shrugging.

He chuckled.

“I guess so.”

So maybe most of us are a little depressed. I’ve been deprived for too long. And like a man who’s been starving in the desert, I’m ready to eat until I vomit. I don’t think I can help it. I’ve always loved being around gross messes of people, but now it’s on overdrive. I want to go dancing for 48 hours straight, I want to get fucked by a stranger in the bathroom of the club, laugh as I pee with my friends on the side of a warehouse because the line for the bathroom is too long. I want so many people in my apartment that people are hanging out the windows, do so much karaoke my voice is hoarse for a month, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge at 2am with someone I haven’t seen in half a decade. Even when I’m around them, I miss people so much that my stomach aches.

The streets of New York were so filled with other humans when I got home that I felt high. I walked my dog and kept talking to everyone about nothing, all of us with taut smiles, sweating in the new heat, hungry eyes looking at each other with a special kind of anticipation. As much as New Yorkers get a bad rap for being haters, I think we must love people more than most; otherwise, how could we stand to be so surrounded by each other all the time? And I’m so thirsty for it, I’m desperate to brush against strangers on the subway, at the bar, in the grocery story. Finally, I think it’s almost here.