What is joy?

I have no fucking clue.

I haven’t felt truly joyful in ages and I worry it’s starting to show. I’m cynical and suspicious. I don’t enjoy anything I used to love doing.

I’m just an angry, sad robot on autopilot.

Everyone has different advice for me.

“Try reading a book!”

“Take a long hot shower!”

“Go work out!”

NOTHING. WORKS. I can’t focus on the words in a book right now.

I just end up crying in the shower or in the bath.

I’ve never liked working out, so why would that help me now?

Everyone else’s coping mechanisms do nothing for me. My own regular coping mechanisms aren’t working for me, but I just need to keep myself occupied to pass the time.

To mitigate the pain and loneliness I feel right now, my therapist has advised me to make plans with people every. single. goddamn. day.

Especially since I spent my three-day weekend mostly alone in my apartment. That resulted in a panic attack and me doing something to myself I haven’t done for the better part of a year and a half.

But hey, I’m staying away from booze for the most part. I guess that’s a silver lining. I’m very aware of the fact that all my brain medications don’t mix well with alcohol, so I’m sticking with edibles and plenty of water.

I actually had the panic attack on the first day of the weekend, Saturday. I arrived home after a committee meeting for the Filipino American Book Festival, and I just dissolved into tears upon entering my living room. I tried texting a few people but no one answered immediately, leaving me feeling even more desolate and alone.

The one person who did answer wanted nothing to do with me, and wouldn’t postpone his party-going plans to help me. He just kept telling me to go to the ER, which pushed me into a further frenzy.

Finally, I called someone else who did answer and who physically came to my aid when she was able. By the time she arrived though, I was mostly spent and had already hurt myself. I was significantly calmer.

But she sat with me and listened to me, and convinced me to go with her to the grocery store to fill my empty fridge. Then we sipped a glass of wine and watched a bit of TV before she had to leave.

To prevent this from happening again, I’ve been advised to keep myself busy, even if I don’t really feel like going out. This is torture for an introvert, but the alternative is much worse.

Yes, I’m an introvert who has trouble being alone with herself. It’s a savage and treacherous cycle.

Last night I hung out with a couple friends and watched my first episode of “Rick & Morty.” Sorry, I wasn’t all that impressed.

Tonight I have dinner plans with a former boss. Tomorrow I’m having a girl’s night with a friend. (Fuck Valentine’s Day.) On Friday, I’ll be attending a NorCal APALA social dinner for Lunar New Year.

Now I have the rest of the weekend to plan and I dread it. I wish I could just huddle alone in my apartment without being plagued by loneliness and anxiety.

I wish reading still brought me the same joy and excitement as before.

I wish I could mindlessly watch TV without errant negative thoughts intruding.

I wish talking through my feelings with others gave me more peace of mind.

I wish a lot of things were different and I’m feeling pretty hopeless about it all right now. But I guess that’s where the passage of time comes in.

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