The Cycle

When you slow down, the sadness catches up to you. It throws itself on top of you, shrouding you in the sort of discomfort you get when under a fleece blanket on a scorching summer day. You think you’ll go crazy and you don’t know how to prevent it.

Then it taunts you for unsuccessfully trying to outrun it. It will always win, the sadness reminds you; you will always lose. It will always catch up, and you will never be free of it. “You’re like herpes,” you sneer at it, but instead of taking it as the intended insult, the sadness laughs and embraces the smilie. And you’re made to feel even worse because you realize that you’ll be saddled with the sadness for the rest of your life, just like if you had herpes. Like herpes, it’ll erupt and cause discomfort and anxiety in your life at the most inopportune moments. Like herpes, there is no cure for the sadness, there are only coping mechanisms.

Your coping mechanisms are ones that are frowned upon. Alcohol and a pair of scissors accompany your unending tears; the slashes on your body are trying to match the intensity of the wounds of your soul. The alcohol is trying to kill the sadness via downing. Your tears are the only release the sadness will allow you mostly just because it has no control over them. Somehow, your tears have usurped the power of the sadness and they spring to your eyes whenever they see fit. The throw themselves from your eyelids, sacrificing themselves to lighten the metaphorical load of your soul. But their efforts are in vain because the sadness always, always wins.

Sometimes it feels like you’re just running in circles without getting dizzy. It feels like you’re trapped in a cycle and every time you think you’ve found an escape it turns out to be a fluke and you find yourself spinning again. You would really love to just stop. On your bookshelf sits a jar of sleeping pills that you’ve collected; there are just enough, you hypothesize, to allow you the pleasure of the Big Sleep. That is the only way to stop the cycle. But despite how maddening it is to keep spinning, you’re still not absolutely sure you want to stop. Maybe you’re a far bigger masochist than you believed yourself to be. Or maybe you’re just a coward. Either way, you always conclude to give Life another change. “Don’t let me down this time,” you mutter, and imagine Life nodding with a smile that could either be genuine or sarcastic; you can never tell.

Just in case, you throw yourself into everything. Work, relationships, sex, leisure, hobbies are all just excuses to avoid sitting still and to avoid letting your mind slow down. Because if you keep busy — if you run around fast enough — you can temporarily evade the sadness. But as soon as you tire and start to slow down, it pulls up beside you panting slightly, but grinning viciously. “Not fast enough,” it taunts and you wonder if this time you’ll opt for the alcohol and scissors again, or if you’ll finally reach for that jar of sleeping pills.