One of my favorite songs by Billy Joel is “Just the Way You Are.” It’s a man telling the woman who he loves that she doesn’t have to be anyone else for him to love her. Everything she already is is enough. I like that. Never heard words like that said to me. Never had a person tell me that the person I am today is enough. Why? Because of my depression.
For those who don’t know, following a head injury and brain damage, I have incurable depression that won’t leave me alone. It’s something I am going to have to live with my entire life. I could take pills, but at the moment I am having some insurance troubles, and I need to get my financial life sorted out before I look into my psychological one. But here’s the thing – why is who I am not enough for people? You have no idea how many people over the years have told me that I am not the person they want. “Why don’t you take pills! You should be happy!” Or there is the more general thing I get told by people – “why can’t you just be happy?” “You’re such a downer!” “You’d have more friends if you were happier.” You’d be surprised how often I’ve heard that last one. They might be right. About the center one, no doubt. I’m an externally-cold cynic who hates everyone.
But why can’t anyone understand? Why does everyone work so hard to stay away from a person who has shown himself to be a loyal friend in the extreme. If any of the people in my circle, or hell, even my former circle, came to me and asked for help, I’d be there. I believe in loyalty, to whatever end. Gotten me stabbed in the back more times than I can count, from people who said that they cared for me. No good deed goes unpunished, am I right? What is it about the depression and my general cynicism that just tells people that there is nothing to be gained from my company?
I suppose it’s the fact that depression can make one seem needy. No arguments, I kind of am. But that neediness does come with the added bonus of me being the kind of person who does everything I can to be the best friend possible. I understand what it’s like to be alone and feel pain all the time. Whether it be a loyal ear, or a shoulder to cry on, I am there for all my people.
This has led me to being a person that those who have been in my inner circle confide in above all others. I have been told, more than once, that people close to me trust me more than anyone. It’s the reason that EVERY one of the significant others of girly-mates sees me as a threat. That’s rich. These guys/girls should be thanking me. I’ve helped countless people through fights that they couldn’t see the other side, simply by listening and using an impartial perspective to see through the problem. Got more cred with these people than a fucking shrink. Hell, there was a girly-mate who pretty much used me as a marriage counselor. Now she never speaks to me anymore. I’ll give you three guesses why.
End of the day, it doesn’t matter, though. Because I am still the depressing guy. There for anyone who asks. I have no qualms about helping friends, whatever the problem is. But the moment that I’m negative, I get static. Not a word one. It’s so fucking rich.
I can already hear the rebuttal – “Lucien, your depression is likely going to end horribly. Why would they want to get involved in such a situation (indivijual)? It just means that you are dragging them into it too. Nobody wants to feel crappy.” Fine. I’ll give you that. It is self-destructive, and it could very well have a horrible ending. But not now. I have a purpose. I have a guiding force that gives me direction and staves off the worst of the thoughts. I got used to thoughts about suicide YEARS ago. Hell, since I got out of the hospital, I’ve been thinking about it. Me and the Grim Reaper are so close that we might as well play chess together. I got a glass chess board, but it’s starting to fade. Eventually want to get one that’s made of marble. Insanely expensive, but a man can dream.
In the end, people want me to be something else. A shoulder to be there when they need it, but outside of that, everyone wants me to be a smiling, happy person who takes his Joy (props to the person who gets that reference without Google) and behaves in the way that they see fit. Nobody wants me just the way I am. They want another person. Again, I hear your rebuttal – “Lucien, they want you to be happy. What’s wrong with that? Don’t you want people to be happy too?” Lots of the time, sure. But sometimes I realize that what people need is to sort out the ugly feelings and maybe just be in a bad place for a while to do so. I don’t drown people in my negativity. At least, not anymore. I used to. No doubt. Now, however, I make sure to balance out the negativity with enough random thoughts about the world and life to be able to balance the scales. Perhaps it’s just too late, and the doors that we opened with people are shut. Unfortunate.
I dream of being told that someone wants me just the way I am. Perhaps this is all just a deflection about my personal and social life. But is it really such a bad thing to want? I don’t know. If you do, please tell me.
Until next time, a quote,
“I took the good times. I’ll take the bad times. I’ll take you just the way you are.” – Bill Joel, “Just the Way You Are”