I’m legitimately playing hooky from work today. By that, I mean that I asked a co-worker to take my shift and I freely admitted that I just needed a day off. When I was negotiating it with my manager via email, she asked, “Are you sick?” My manager is less of the intimidating professional sort, and more of the good friend/mother sort–someone I can actually talk to. But since it was email and we were both absorbed in work, I simply answered, “No, I’m fine; I just need to catch up.” But as I sit here “catching up” (on eating PopTarts and Facebook stalking), I’m realizing that “sick” covers it.

Even though I’m sufficiently medicated, I will always be sick with depression, and I always have been. It creeps back sometimes and the medication means that I know my limits and I know what’s reality and how to try to get back to it, which is what I’m doing today. But yes, I’m sick, and that isn’t likely to change.

I went to see Sonic Youth on Thurston Moore’s birthday with the J-Man and my little (21-year-old) brother. I don’t go to the movies often because instead of mindless entertainment, it’s mindful worrying and obsessing time for me–I don’t get to enjoy much of the movie. I don’t go to concerts often because my feet and by back ache, my asthmatic lungs can’t take the cigarette smoke, and I once had a kind of claustrophobic reaction to the crowd. At the Sonic Youth show, I had all of that plus the movie theater effect where I inwardly pouted that Kim Gordon looks better at 56 than I do at 26, and then I worried about my hair and my career path and my lower back pain. Interestingly enough, I also had the realization that I hadn’t gone to yoga in 4 days and hadn’t taken a fast walk in 7 days. I’m pretty sure that my antidepressant works along with exercise endorphins, and in the midst of the concert, I became fascinated with my body’s chemistry. I finally separated what I was thinking into reality and fiction and I genuinely comforted myself with the thought of returning to yoga. That’s what they call coping. It’s not something that everyone can know or identify with, and it’s even second nature for a lot of people. For me, it’s a victory.

I’m not working today because constant human interaction wears me out. Constant exposure to people in crisis wears me down. I’m sitting here in a coffee shop because I know how to take care of myself before I get to dire straits, and I never thought I would really get to this place.

In the course of today’s Facebook stalking, I’ve poured over a lot of profiles for people who I barely knew in high school. My 10 year reunion will be in 2 years, and I’m not going. I actually feel better and look better and AM better than I was in high school, but that’s not something I have to prove to strangers. And I could be wrong, but I don’t think that a lot of them have dealt with sexual violation, anorexia, and depression since graduation in 2001. Those things don’t make me superior, but they shaped me and distanced me and built me up…and the resulting victories mean the world to me, but they aren’t the type of things you can discuss over punch in a hotel conference room.