I Don’t Know Why I’m Always Sad

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By Callie Byrnes

I have this problem where I get sad when I have no reason to be. Someone will say the wrong word and it’s like they pulled the trigger of a loaded gun and I start spiraling out into this deep depression I can’t really explain. It’s like my entire body is imploding in on itself and everyone and everything feels so, so far away. I wonder if it’s just me or if this is just a normal part of being a human being.

But the thing is, I never seem that way. Sad, I mean. I seem moody, maybe. Annoyed on a good day, but never sad. The world looks at me as if I live in in an impenetrable bubble of optimism, as if nothing can destroy my eternal happiness. Maybe that’s who I want to be, so I pretend that I am her.

But some days I’m so sad I bury myself in blankets and stare at my computer screen for hours. Sometimes I put a movie on. Sometimes the screen is blank. If someone walks in I quickly make sure it looks like I’m doing something. “Go away,” I’ll say. “I’m busy.”

I told my friend I thought I was depressed and he said, “What do you have to be sad about? You’re a white girl with so many opportunities.” And I have to admit he had a point. But that just makes me more sad. Why can’t I be happy when I have everything in the equation that should make me feel happy? Then I just keep wondering what went wrong and I can’t think about anything else.

Some days I don’t feel much, but sometimes I feel so much that it bubbles in my gut and climbs up my throat and I want to scream and scream and scream. But I don’t know what I’d scream at or who to so I swallow it back until it creates this giant lump in my throat and I worry I’ll suffocate on it. Sometimes I wish I would.

“You’re just going through a weird phase,” my friend told me. “You’ll get over it once you’re in a more stable place in life.” But I don’t know what that looks like. I try to pinpoint a time when things will even out again but there’s no date on the calendar that says, “Today you’ll be OK.” No alarm on my phone that says, “It’s time to feel like your entire life is put together.” I don’t know what I’m waiting for anymore.

Some days it gets so bad that I can’t even see what’s in front of me and I stumble around blindly all day until I find a place to hide. I cancel all my plans because “I’m tired, I’m sorry, I didn’t get any sleep.” I know that everyone is behind the screens of their phones rolling their eyes and calling me “flaky”, but I don’t care what I am anymore. I can’t make myself care about anything.

“Everything works out eventually,” my friend told me. “It gets better.”

But I don’t know what that means. I don’t know what there is to work out. I can’t fix a problem I can’t identify, I can’t hope for something I can’t visualize, and I can’t make myself happy when all I know how to be is sad.

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