I often hate when people (myself included) start off a bit of writing with phrases like “Let’s be real here,” but in this case, it doesn’t feel wrong: Let’s be real here. In a matter of speaking, people don’t want to be well. People don’t always want to be happy. People don’t always want to be healthy.
It’s hard, isn’t it? It’s so much work, wellness. It requires a considerable amount of conscious effort to eat properly, exercise regularly, sleep enough and at normal hours, and balance work with play, sociability with solitude, making a life with living. And let’s be real here: at this point in our lives, it takes a lot to really WANT wellness.
In a way, we love our depression. We love the lows because they allow us the highs. We indulge in the bitching and whining and moping, so we can indulge in the hedonistic pleasures that allow us to block all that out. In a way, it’s so you have an excuse. It’s actively making bad decisions. It’s staying out late and drinking too much and sleeping too little last night so you can say, “This is why I was unproductive today.” You know it’s poor reasoning, but it’s an explanation nonetheless.
But it’s nothing more than that, either: it’s only an explanation. It’s not a legitimate excuse. I find myself, lately, trying to convince myself that I’m working hard to get better in mind and body and emotions, but I only half believe it. It’s not that I don’t WANT to feel better. I don’t want to be so depressed, so unhealthy. But I also don’t want to lose the joy of the highs that have helped me survive the last few years. I don’t want the responsibility of taking care of myself, when it’s so much easier to neglect myself and my life in favor of other things.
I claim to want balance, but if I’m being honest, I can admit that I don’t truly want to work for it, and I don’t want to lose the comfort of having a built-in explanation for my portfolio of failures. Being unwell is a way of stunting growth, isn’t it? And refusing to cease being unwell is a way of refusing to grow. It’s stubborn and petulant and child-like, a Peter Pan-esque denial of maturity. I don’t know how to shake it — how does one learn to want to care for herself, to want to be taken care of? How do you learn to let go of the masochistic pleasures of unwellness, and desire what you know is best?