NON FICTION: Is There More To Life?

Depression: Hand sticking out of water

Photo: Nikko Macaspac

You wake up, you get ready, you join the morning commute. You work, you eat, you join the rest of the evening commute. You spend the remainder of the day tackling odds and ends, before it’s time for bed, after which life hits the replay button. Again, and again, and again.

There’s got to be something more to this.

You suspect that you bounce between catatonia and agitation, but you can’t tell because you’ve learned to tune it out, how someone living near the tracks would ignore the roars of a passing train.

You wake up, you get ready, you join the morning commute. Another day passes. Another week. Another month. Before you know it, it’s time for the New Year’s resolutions, except, for you, it’s not so much as setting more than it is using the same old list. Goals and dreams unrealised from the past year, or the year before that.

Maybe this will be your year.

You wake up, you get ready. Today feels different. It might be the particularly hard run you had the night before. Perhaps you brewed the perfect cup of coffee. You’re not happy, but you feel content. This is what it feels like to be normal, you think.

The next day, you’re back to normal. Your normal. You watch events pass by as if you’re stuck in a bubble, everything outside a blur, like a time-lapse video. Other days, it’s like a barrier between you and the world, almost as if you’re encapsulated in a layer of cling wrap.

You turn to Sylvia Plath’s writing for respite: “Because wherever I sat—on the deck of a ship or at a street café in Paris or Bangkok—I would be sitting under the same glass bell jar, stewing in my own sour air.”

Somehow, knowing that you’re not alone gives you solace.

Should you seek help? Surely, you don’t feel as bad as how some have it. You’re fine. Gotta be careful who you talk to too. You could do without a lecture on yoga’s healing powers, or the benefits of magic crystals.

Maybe this is why your hobbies entail harrowing circumstances. You climb mountains, you box, you race motorcycles, you base jump. Maybe it’s just you trying to figure out if you still feel.

When had been the last time you’d felt truly happy? Was it when you won that award? No, that was more of disbelief. How about having your firstborn? Mostly relief. Come to think of it, what is happiness?

You wake up. You know how the day’s going to pan out, and today’s going to be the usual. Your usual. You burn your free time binge-watching videos on YouTube. Every time the screen blacks out between videos, you catch a glimpse of your reflection on the screen, and you barely recognise the person staring back.

“This is life,” people tell you. “Just suck it up, nobody said it would be easy, you have a roof over your head, you have food.”

What they don’t know is you are sucking it up. When every day starts to physically feel like a hangover, when fear grasps at your gut for no reason at all, when just lifting an arm becomes a real burden, you still manage to get out of bed and clock in at the office.

Why do you carry on? Is it the pursuit of happiness? Do you even know what it means anymore? Do you even care? The YouTube videos start to meld together, and you have no recollection of what you’ve watched. A restless sleep takes you.

You wake up. You get ready. You join the morning commute. Today’s forecast looks bleak. But one day, you’ll feel normal again. And perhaps normal is happiness.

Do you feel this way too? Just know that you’re not alone! If you’d like, you could even add your own experience so that the few readers (and I mean few) who read this blog might find solace in your story.

Just type it in the comments section below, and keep soldiering on!

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