Today was another very tough day for me. I had a pretty good day yesterday, in comparison – long, deep conversations with friends, a damn good sandwich (simple pleasures, you know!) and then in the evening, I went out for a music society social, which was pretty good as it involved food being cooked for me (yay) and not so many people that I froze up and couldn’t interact properly. In fact, even the evening before was pretty good (despite feeling pretty down the rest of the day) as I went to my first ever poetry slam with one of my good friends from my course and a small group of her friends, who were all really nice.
But today, I just woke up and my heart felt heavy.
On a Saturday, I have an orchestra rehearsal from 10-1, so I need to get up pretty early. Today was no different. However, it was a real struggle to even get myself out of bed. When I finally did, my whole body felt heavy and exhausted and I just couldn’t bring myself to get ready – I sat staring at the mountain of clothes on the end of my bed, ready for the day ahead, but I felt paralysed by total emptiness. Needless to say, I crawled back into bed and read Hyperbole and a Half instead.
It made me feel guilty because I’ve now missed three rehearsals and the concert is in a month. I barely know the repertoire. The worst bit is, even when I do go, I feel lonely. The only bit I actually enjoy is the playing, but even that gets tiring after about an hour and a half. It makes me wonder what the point even is.
It came to me then that life is a lot like a time capsule. You take a box (tin, whatever – it’s metaphorical, so choose your own container!) and cram in all these memories, so that when it’s buried and gone, others can look back and reminisce about the times you had putting together your own little personal gallery of life. And I feel like often, when I push myself into doing things to try and shake myself out of the negativity – by going on nights out or joining new societies, for example – I’m mainly doing them in the hope that some wonderful memories will emerge and I’ll be able to fill my capsule with little trinkets that say, “remember that time when…”, or “I’m so glad I took up swing dancing!”
And often, they do, but there are also times when you struggle to find things to put in the box. This is when the lack of motivation and energy which comes with depression sets in. It’s like someone’s saying, “you never know when you might need to bury this – better get filling it up!” but you’re surrounded by nothing but piles of stones, empty crisp packets and old chewing gum. They’re saying, “why can’t you find anything worth putting in the capsule? I’ve found loads of stuff for mine, you’re just not looking hard enough!” (or “why haven’t you got any mementos from your orchestra? I thought that mattered to you.”) and all you can do is panic because nothing around you seems worthy of memory and oh God what if time is running out and what if people forget my time capsule was ever buried because I never achieved anything notable and…
But sometimes, other people will find something that you managed to overlook. They’ll hold up a glittering sliver of a memory, garnered by dancing or a shared love of a certain band or hearing poetry live or a damn good sandwich or basking in the crisp, October sunshine or even just getting up and looking after yourself when you really didn’t feel like it, and they’ll say “hey, look what I found! Isn’t that cool? Why don’t you put that in the capsule?”
And you smile. And you realise that it’s possible to amass your own collection if you put your mind to it. I don’t feel any better today, really, after my day of chilling out and trying to unwind, but that’s cool too. Perhaps contemplating my own health and letting myself lie around alone for a day is a small step towards things getting better, and stumbling upon a diamond in the rough, a real highlight of my collection – who knows? I’m not feeling particularly hopeful about that one, but I’m willing to be surprised. They don’t need to be big, sparkling, ornate gems of memories – as long as it was an achievement for you, it doesn’t matter whether other people would put it in their own capsule.