“Laying awake at night.” That’s what they call it. When the world is still and your mind races. The blank screen of your bedroom ceiling now flickers with the dim, shuttery pictures of your own exquisite horror film. Tomorrow’s problems and today’s regrets loom. Desperate plans and hopeless fantasies war, and goddamnit there is work tomorrow get to sleep or you’ll never make it to the end of the shift. Safe in bed and yet falling, falling…
I owe all of my money. By the time my next paycheck rolls around, I will have had to make a choice between being late on my student loan payments, or not eating. Today I had to take a chunk out of my food budget to buy a towel so I can take baths; I can’t afford showers because I can’t afford a shower curtain. I think to myself, why did I buy that stupid fucking hat? It was overpriced, and the damn thing ripped the second day I had it. But the hat is just an emblem of my problem: I am sick and fucking tired of living like a pauper, and sometimes I forget that I still am one. I want to buy a blender so I can make fruit smoothies for breakfast, a healthier and hopefully cheaper alternative to hitting up a fast food joint on the way to work. I can’t afford a blender. I can’t afford food, literally cannot afford it, if I want to pay my bills on time. It’s because earlier this week I blew a hundred bucks on senseless luxuries like a pan to cook things in, and a spatula with which to cook. And that fucking hat.
Not being satisfied with shooting myself in one foot, I find myself taking careful aim at the other. I’ve got a graduate class I’m taking. There’s a lot of reading, but it’s manageable. Then I’ve also got two other classes I’m trying to clean up from last quarter, classes I catastrophically fucked up because of my endless endless self-sabotage. My shrink called it an adjustment disorder. My mom called it dawdling. They’re both right. And now I feel it happening again, because I spent 10 bucks today–remember that affording food is something I only aspire to–on a book that I’m going to want to read way more than about the European Union. I’ve got a paper outline due next week about the disconnect between accountability and obligation of the member-states of the EU, and I don’t even know what the governing structures of the EU are. All I have to say on the subject is that somebody, somewhere fucked up. This paper is for one of the best, but most demanding, professors in the department. On top of that, I’m taking a course for the other best-most-demanding professor in the department. I know these men won’t cut me slack, and that even if they did, I wouldn’t respect the degree I earned from it. It’s a struggle to get myself to focus on my work, even the parts of it I enjoy. I’ve got Impostor Syndrome so bad I can’t even bring myself to decently fail.
And so I stay awake to the thrumming realization, an epiphany exploding over and over again, that I’m still trying to kill myself, but now I’m just taking my time about it. It’s a good thing I don’t own a gun.