Missed part one? Check it out here!
A week had passed since I saw that Tumblr post. I saw my therapist today. I told her everything that had changed in the last few months. I cried, she listened, then offered advice. I took it. She said to do little things that are productive. I don’t need to get a job, but I can start looking. I don’t need to do the dishes, I can just move them to the sink. I don’t need to hang out with my friends, just text them good morning. If I feel like doing more, I can, but I won’t push myself. It made sense, and I was mad I hadn’t thought of it before.
I came home and texted my roommate Penny “morning.” Collapsing onto the couch, I sighed. My stomach rumbled, I hadn’t realized it was already noon. I had breakfast earlier, just a bowl of cereal. Food had always been a big stress reliever for me before this big wave of depression, so I opened up my recipe app and began scrolling. I saved a few recipes I thought sounded good and looked for the ingredients. My other roommate stumbled out of his room. I nodded to him, pulling out ingredients from the fridge.
“You’re cooking?” Richie asked, surprised. Normally, I would have been angry he asked. I would have bitterly spat something rude back at him. He would’ve sighed and left me alone.
I wasn’t mad, though. He had good reason to be surprised. I hadn’t cooked in months. The most I had was a peanut butter and pickle sandwich. That was my depression meal.
“I am.” I nodded back to him.
“What are you making?” He asked politely, trying not to anger me.
“Avocado and chicken salad. Where did you guys hide the knives?” I asked, almost laughing at how absurd of a question it was. They hid the knives from me in fear of me hurting myself with them. I understood why, but I hadn’t hurt myself in a year. I was over that. I felt silly to be asking him, and it was even sillier for him to hesitate to answer. I could tell he wanted to just use it himself. “Richie, I haven’t cut in a year.” I assured him.
“I know, Emma, I know. I’m proud of you. I’m just worried because you’ve lied to us before and I don’t want something to happen to you.” Has Richie always been this nice to me? I remember furiously hating him because of how rude he was. Was I seeing him differently now?
“If you want to do it, you can. I just have to cut the avocado and chicken.”
“What changed, Emma?” Richie asked me.
“What do you mean?”
“You put dishes in the sink last week and actually left the house today, after you hadn’t left your room in almost two weeks. What changed?”
“I don’t know. I guess I realized I should get help. I kept falling into a pit of depression waiting for me to be at my absolute worst when I didn’t need to. I thought it wouldn’t mean as much to come back from a depression wave if I hadn’t destroyed my life beforehand. But I realized I don’t need to be at my worst to get better. It is still progress if I feel better in some way.”
“You don’t think you were at rock bottom?” He asked delicately.
“No, do you? All I was doing was sitting around all day, it’s not like I was actively destroying my life. You guys didn’t kick me out.”
“That’s true, you make good points. We wouldn’t kick you out, anyway, Emma. You’re our friend, no matter how depressed. We love you.” Richie said. I smiled genuinely, feeling valid.
“You’re a good friend, Richie. So is Penny.” My phone vibrated, it was Penny responding to my text.
“Hey, sunshine!” Penny’s text read. I was a little bitter about her overly-positive tone. I didn’t respond right away. Anger still stewed in my chest, even if I was beginning to feel better. This was going to be a long process. It terrified me to think how much work I still needed to do to feel better.
I knew what I needed to do. I had to train my brain not to think so negatively. That could take a while. It was going to be exhausting, I could already tell. I was smarter than my depression, though. I wanted to get better, my depression didn’t. It was just an evil parasite living inside me, feeding me lies about how I feel and how I should react to situations. I was a good person, I wasn’t my depression. I knew that much.