“Take Care of Yourself”

“Take care of yourself.” That’s how she ends correspondence and the two conversations we’ve had since she left. It used to be “I love you.” One could argue that this is just another way of saying that, and I’d agree with that statement. She still loves me. She still cares about me. It may not be on the same level as it was, but if she didn’t care about me, why bother saying it? She could end conversations with “Go fuck yourself” instead, right? I don’t think this is self-delusion, either. I’m not translating that statement as a hope that I’ll keep myself alive so that we can get back together some day. She cares about me, and doesn’t want me to waste away in my ruined life. She honestly wants me to take care of myself. The problem is, historically speaking, I’m pretty damned terrible at doing that.

I can barely get myself out of bed in the best of times, and when I’m sleeping under a blanket of depression and self-loathing it’s an actual task. Pile on top of that that, at best, I get four uninterrupted hours of sleep a night, it’s just a shitty experience every single morning. I’ve had to set three different alarms, starting at 5:30 and going off every ten minutes. Even then, it’s a 50/50 chance that I’m going to be out from under the covers by 6:00.

I can’t cook worth a shit. The bright side of this is that I still have no appetite. Every night for dinner I eat a plain grilled pork chop and either sliced cucumbers or a steam pack of vegetables. If I’m not going in to the office that day, lunch is just ham between two pieces of cheese. If I am, I’ll at least roll it up in a spinach-tortilla wrap and throw either some grapes or an apple in the lunchbox with it. Breakfast is a cup of cereal, or Pop-Tarts, depending on how lazy I’m feeling. I ordered a thin crust pizza last Friday, and it took me three meals to eat it where I’d normally eat the whole thing in one sitting. I’ve lost 26 pounds in under a month, and my blood sugar (which I’m taking at least every other day) bounces around on the low side of normal.

I’m not paying a lot of attention to my health. Rather, I’m not reacting to changes in my health in a way that she would want. I’ve had a pain in my lower-right abdomen for four days now that I first thought might be appendicitis, but it hasn’t grown any worse since it started and there’s none of the other symptoms, so I’m guessing it’s either diverticulitis or just my gut trying to adjust to my new diet. Whatever it is, it’s not something I’m going to see a doctor about. It could also be a sprained/pulled muscle from the rowing machine.

That’s one thing I’ve been doing normally. The rowing machine. I hit it every day now with Sundays off, and go for at least 20 minutes each run. My motivation for doing it is less healthy, though, as I do it to punish myself. I row hard, wanting to hurt myself, wanting to feel something other than this overwhelming misery. About ten minutes in, my fingers go to sleep (I’m not even gripping the bar, really, just hooking my fingers and letting them pull it) and I just push through it, sometimes rowing one-handed while I punch my other hand against the floor to get feeling back and then swapping. Between that and the terrible dancing I do around the house until I’m breathless, I think my exercise is covered.

Other than three visits to my parents’ house, which I probably won’t do again for awhile given that it makes me feel worse instead of better, I haven’t gone out socially. No one’s come by to visit, and I wouldn’t want them to. I haven’t called any friends to talk about it. I’ve sent emails and text messages, and if anyone asks for any details I just point them here.

The problem I’m having is that when I hear her saying “Take care of yourself” in my head, my response is “Why?” Why would I want to? What I want to do is die. (Again, wanting to die and wanting to kill yourself are different things.) I want to stop feeling this pain and misery, even if it means I have to endure the grueling experience of an appendix rupturing and poisoning my body. I can not see a future for myself where I am happy. I have no hope, and thus, no reason to want to live.

Tomorrow, my counselor is going to ask me what I think about the intrinsic value of life. I’ve had two weeks to think it over, to read the snippets of various philosophers debate whether a life is valuable simply because it’s a life. My view on this is that it does not. But that’s not a recent stance for me. I’ve never thought that. I’ve always thought the value of a life was what you accomplished with that life, what you did with it. I fucked my life up. If it ever had any value, I can’t see how it does now. I crashed the fucking market on life in this household. The life bubble has burst, and now there’s just worthless pieces of it scattered about.

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