New Aotearoa Fiction: Mimicry 3
Issue three of Mimicry is out! Guest-edited by Carolyn DeCarlo and Jackson Nieuwland, the Wellington journal brings together writing, visual art, music and more. From the issue, we have this funny and sad piece by Eamonn Marra.
I originally wrote 'Depression and anxiety diary' as a stand-up comedy bit in 2013 while I was stuck in Australia after accidentally booking flights back on the wrong dates. I first performed it in Melbourne at one of the worst open mic nights I've ever been to, where I was on nearly last after about three hours of sexist, racist and homophobic jokes. It went okay. I reworked it over the course of a year and it ended up as one of the highlights of my 2014 Comedy Festival show 'Man on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.' After that show finished I retired the bit until earlier this year when my new doctor recommended I keep a diary of my moods to best track my depression and anxiety. I didn't do that, but I did rewrite this.
Depression and anxiety diary
Day 1. My doctor told me I should take notes about what triggers my anxiety and depression over the next month. She told me this is a serious exercise I need to do in order to get better.
Day 2. It looked like my favourite seat on the bus was vacant, but when I got closer I saw a small child there, slumped watching YouTube on her phone, so I sat somewhere else. I know it wasn’t a big deal but it did throw me off for the rest of the day.
Day 3. Found lump on back of head so I picked at it until it went away. Woke up with a blood stain on my pillowcase.
Day 4. Drank three Red Bulls. I won’t sleep tonight. I’m not sure if this counts as self-harm.
Day 5. Arrived at work ten minutes early and decided to walk around the block so I wouldn’t donate any extra time that I’m not getting paid for. Arrived two minutes late. My boss didn’t say anything but did look at the clock.
Day 6. Went through all my Facebook friends to see which ones I had relationship potential with. Didn’t find any.
Day 7. Bought two litres of ice cream and ate it all in one sitting.
Day 8. Read a short story by David Foster Wallace. Was unsure if he was being sincere or if he was using a ‘sincere author’ plot device to manipulate the reader. This made me very upset and I couldn’t stop thinking about it so forced myself to have nap.
Day 9. Slept all day.
Day 10. Got in an argument on Facebook with a friend of a friend. Looked through his profile to find evidence that he’s a dickhead but he seemed like a nice guy.
Day 11. Looked at the Wikipedia pages for people younger than me who are more successful than I will ever be. Looked at people older than me who are successful, but all of them started their successes when they were younger than me.
Day 12. Was out of the house for fourteen hours today. Nothing bad happened. Good day.
Day 13. Checked my bank balance. Turns out I spent $65 yesterday on food and drink. Will have to not spend any money until next pay day.
Day 14. Remembered when I kissed a girl whose breath smelled like milk. Drank a cup of milk and tried to smell my own breath by breathing into my hands.
Day 15. Spent all day checking my phone because I did a funny Facebook status and I wanted to see who had liked it.
Day 16. Was meant to meet up with a friend, but couldn’t bring myself to leave the house in time. I texted them saying something came up and I couldn’t make it, even though nothing came up. I am not sure what I’ll say next time I see them.
Day 17. Learned that a friend just got a dog. I want a dog, but I’ve told myself I won’t get one until I have stable accommodation, and I can’t get stable accommodation until I get a stable job and a stable relationship, and I can’t get a stable job or relationship until I have stable mental health. I don’t think I’m ever going to get a dog.
Day 18. Stood on the bathroom scales. Pushed down on the towel rail and watched the number on the scales decrease until I reached my goal weight. Towel rail snapped off the wall.
Day 19. Ate porridge for dinner. I wasn’t sad about it, but I feel like I should have been.
Day 20. Somehow I ended up in a text conversation with a friend of a friend for hours. She seems nice and I think we like each other.
Day 21. Didn’t go to a friend’s party because I kept putting off leaving the house until it was midnight and I went to bed, where I stayed on the internet talking to the girl until 3 a.m.
Day 22. Cleaned my room today. It felt really good. I’m enjoying sitting in a clean room. Maybe I wasn’t depressed but just messy.
Day 23. Looked for a new job online. The only ones I have any chance of getting are worse than my current job.
Day 24. Instead of texting, the girl and I just sent each other gifs all night. I think we’ve run out of things to say.
Day 25. Felt anxious while out so bought $5 of pick’n’mix lollies and ate them all while walking home.
Day 26. Didn’t leave the house today. I don’t feel bad because I didn’t leave the house, I feel bad because I didn’t have a reason to leave the house.
Day 27. Tried doing a guided meditation that my doctor recommended to me but got distracted by the new age sounds in the background of the mp3. What a waste of $18.99.
Day 28. It has been three days since I last texted the girl. How long has to pass before you can no longer reply to a text without explaining why you haven’t texted back?
Day 29. I don’t think I ever really liked her. She was just useful to pass the time. I am not sure if I am able to like anyone or if those parts of myself that should be juicy throbbing organs excreting love every time they’re touched have calcified and become shrivelled up stones that can’t function because I’ve ignored them for so long. And maybe if someone gave them enough love and care for a long enough time they might start working again, slowly at first, and eventually they could be as good as new. Or they might be dead forever and nothing anyone does will change that. This might spread slowly across the rest of my feelings, drying up and calcifying everything, preventing me from feeling anything ever again.
Day 30. Remembered I don’t like plums after I spent $7.99 on a packet of them.
Day 31. I went back to the doctor with this diary. She was annoyed because I didn’t take it seriously enough and was just trying to be funny. But depression is funny. Don’t take that away from us. That’s all we have.