Depression, and the “Small Things”

It is strange some of the things that hurt us deeply. Being someone who suffers from depression, it has been interesting finding what people say and how it affects me as a person. How emotional it makes me. Not that many would actually know it affects me in that way. I usually keep quiet about the things that seem strange to be hurt by.

Last night my boyfriend poked fun at me for liking hard side campers. Claiming it isn’t camping unless it’s a tent, and attempting to compromise with me, offering that he would be okay with a pop up camper. For some reason I was offended that he thought a small hard side camper was “too cushy” for it to be real camping. He isn’t wrong. It is. It’s luxury of a sort, but my mind wound around it like a venomous snake, choking the playfulness out of it and only detecting the sarcasm and the multiple meanings it may have. I interpreted it as an attack on the sensitive issue of my health. I knew he couldn’t understand why I felt the way I did. He wasn’t living in my body. He didn’t need the insulin that had to stay refrigerated so it wouldn’t go bad on me. He didn’t wake up in pain like I do when my blood sugars were bad. None of that would work in a tent. The pop up idea wasn’t bad. They are fairly inexpensive, but not practical for climate control (which affects blood glucose levels in my case). They also are not that great in rain and severe weather, like hard side campers. I have been told that nothing is more romantic than sleeping together in a hard side camper during a thunderstorm.

I suppose I felt weak. I couldn’t rough it like normal people. It hurt to be diseased, but it hurt more to not be able to say it and have someone who claims to love you understand. So today, I’m kinda sad about it. A dumb thing to be sad about, simply because there is nothing anyone can do about it. This is my life and it cannot change. My disease isn’t going to magically go away. I’m stuck with it.

I had a similar experience in high school. I took an art class, and one unit was on drawing portraits. We split the class in half and partnered up. The first week we had half sit as subjects and the other half draw. I drew the first week, and when it came my time to be a subject we were swapping partners, since the previous artists had the unfair advantage of studying the other buddy as a subject while sitting as a subject. No one wanted to pick me, and everyone had already buddies. I was left with this one girl, whom I don’t even remember the name of. She was older. Talented. Condescending. She looked at me, and then at our teacher “Can I buddy up with someone else? I don’t wanna deal with her hair.” It wasn’t until that moment that it became painfully obvious that I was the only person in class that had curly hair. Actually it became more obvious when I realized my older brother and I were the only two kids in school, who were not African American, and had super curly hair. I was shocked. Embarrassed. “I can straighten it. Just draw everything else first then we can come back to the hair.” She looked at my head, and then at me, and accepted the compromise.

Straightening my hair took two hours and a lot of hairspray. So I gave up and offered to just pull my hair back in a messy bun and straighten my bangs. She was annoyed, but agreed to it anyway. She didn’t draw all the frizzing pieces and by the end of my sitting session each day my curls had already come back full force. Tight ringlets that people had once called “princess hair” or “mermaid hair” was suddenly called “annoying.” I had grown it to the middle of my back too, so there was a lot of hair to deal with, despite my hair being actually quite thin. I pretty much spent the rest of my high school career hiding my long curls in messy buns and ponytails. It hurt so much to be different. It hurt even more that it was something I was born with, and though I could force it to change, why should I have to?

The fear perpetuated when I got a boyfriend in high school. He would run his hands through my hair, only to get upset and frustrated that his fingers got tangled in the curls. Eventually he never did it again, and very few times has any of my boyfriends since actually played with my hair, which is like, one of my favorite things besides having my shoulders tickled. It’s kind of emotionally upsetting. Okay it’s devastating. Painful. Affection is kinda a big deal. Therefore having curly hair was a big deal. So I cut my hair short now, because people are not as intimidated by short curly hair, and it is much easier to manage. As pretty as it was to look at, nobody including me, wanted to deal with it.

They seem like stupid things to get worked up about. Because they are stupid things to get worked up about. I was made this way. Designed with curly hair and diagnosed with hereditary Type One Diabetes. Why should I be upset that I have to be a little different? Why is trying to stay a live less rugged? Why is having curly hair so annoying? They seemed like small things, but to the person who is living with them it’s really big things, because they are personal attacks on things they are forced to live with, not by their own choice, but because they just got dealt certain genetics.

Yeah. Depression doesn’t help it either. Making mountains out of “Fuck you, I was born this way.”

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