She knocked again, so I let her in …

The first thing people will probably tell you about me is that I’m a happy soul. Pure sunshine, the energizer bunny — “Oh she’s one of the most energetic, bubbly, and …” You get it (I’m type 7, the ENFP, campaigner type).

And it’s true. I am an enthusiast to the core. I easily get excited. My voice gets particularly loud when I’m with people who make my heart burst and I adore being around humans. It gives me life. My energy levels can be extremely high and most days I feel like I don’t have enough time to do all the things I dream of doing …

But …

Amidst the glitter, sunshine, and rainbows, with the strong enthusiast types, it’s easy to forget that depression comes knocking too. She does not discriminate, of course, and so, she comes knocking on my door. The most annoying part about her is that, come winter, she knocks almost every damn day. Now with COVID-19 — her knocks have been even more aggressive. Not the polite, “hey, hi, just dropping off your package” from the delivery human knock. It’s one of those aggressively annoying, big, loud, make your dog bark the alarm, earnest knocks. The knock that begs to be let in, and the knock that persists, and the knock that takes all your energy to drown out. So, right on cue, she came knocking tonight. I let her in.

Her company is not welcome, but instead of fighting her in anger tonight — I make her tea. Of course, I make the tea in tears.

Normally, I yell at her or drown out her flowing insults with the sound of Netflix shows. Tonight, my tea with her company consisted of listening to her in deep annoyance at the audacity this asshole has to show up during one of the busiest times of the year. I am tired. The tears have now been accumulated into a pool and there never seems to be enough tissues to dry them.

My eyes are so puffy it hurts, and even then, she reminds me of all the grievances in my life — oh the usual — the reminder of darker days coming again, the colder weather, the mad circus of 2020 and all that it entails, the existential crisis, the meaning of life, the reminder that I never leave home since I work remote, the dark reminder that COVID isn’t going anywhere soon, and the reminder of all the things COVID has stripped from me.

She reminds me of the hugs I desperately need and crave. The hugs of my favourite people. The last time I hugged my mom and sister was over a year and a half ago, the last time I hugged my dad was 3 years ago. My trip to Korea to visit my family this year, of course, like the rest of the world, got cancelled. In her cruelty, she goes on.

I feel exposed, barren, and naked in my grief, and I let her mock me. Her chatter is constant, and then, after I feel an absolute barrenness, she leaves. Of course, she slams the door. I fall asleep, and then I wake up to a new day, strangely feeling somewhat okay, and actually questioning if she came to visit me or if it was all a dream. The moment I get up, my body’s exhaustion reminds me that it was all too real, and then I go about my day, until night comes .. and her knock comes again, right on cue.

Friends, I share this because I think the more we talk about these visits, the more ‘normal’ it feels. If she visits you too, I’m here to let you know, you’re not weird. You’re not strange. You’re not weak. You’re not the exception. It’s not your fault. You didn’t do anything wrong. No, it has nothing to do with Karma, or whatever you believe. I SAY THIS AGAIN:

HER. VISITS. DO. NOT. DISCRIMINATE.

And her visits are heavy, mean, and cruel. I’m starting to see a therapist; I’m exercising; I’m eating well; I’m FaceTiming my family; I’m doing everything “right” and even then, she comes. What an ass.

You are not alone. We will get through this dark season together, and even when I’m looking enthusiastic in my glitter online, please know that the glitter is immensely heavy sometimes.

Today, I feel good. I feel ready for this new week, but I don’t doubt that she’ll come knocking again tonight. I’m not scared and I won’t be surprised. I know her visits will soon stop for a season, and I can and will get through this heavy darkness, but not alone. I have friends I talk to, the best furry friend to cuddle, a partner committed to my mental health, and most importantly, I have a hope that reminds me that this too shall pass.

It shall pass, and for you too.

All my love and glitter,

Gina Bak

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