love out loud: misery loves co.
For all the stigmas associated with it in the real world, depression and its subsidiaries manage to carry with them a bit of glamour in certain domains of life. Of course, we all know about the tortured but brilliant artistes, but right alongside that little gem of an inaccurate stereotype is that of the tragic couple: two misunderstood, miserable and lonely individuals, who need someone in just as much pain to wallow with.
This is something we all find ourselves prone to at some point. Faking a zest for life is exhausting, so the natural preference is for a partnership containing yet more suffering and desolation.
About a year ago, I was going through a low period. I had a boyfriend who didn’t want to hear about it, instead telling me that he wouldn’t want to be around me anymore if I didn’t stop being so negative, and so I found solace in spending time with someone who was more fucked up than I was.
Anton would text me at all hours and constantly come over to my house, and the time I spent with him weirdly enabled me to continue the relationship I was ‘actually’ in for longer than I likely would have otherwise (not that this was a good thing) because I no longer needed my boyfriend to understand. Anton demanded nothing from me and I didn’t talk to him about what was going on, but there was also no pretence; I simply felt like he got me.
Looking back on that period now, spending time with him was something of a comfort, but it didn’t make me any happier. There was no innate understanding that was unique to him and me, and there actually wasn’t much of anything between us, except maybe a shared boredom and the ability to express my unenthusiastic moods without feeling berated for them. He was what I thought I needed, when really I just needed to be away from both him and my boyfriend.
Conversely, a friend asked several weeks ago whether my new squeeze, Julio, makes me happy. I was conflicted about my answer because I don’t want to feel like my happiness was dependent on having a boyfriend, but there was also little denying that I have generally been happier since meeting him.
After giving the matter some thought, I realised that it’s not that I’m happy to have a boyfriend, but that spending so much time with him makes it difficult to avoid his pleasant and kind demeanour rubbing off on me. That’s not to say that everything’s always dandy, but rather that I’m no longer a pain to be around even when I’m not happy (though my housemate might say otherwise).
When you’re feeling snarky, all you want to do is be surrounded by snarky people and listen to My Chemical Romance, and it’s only when you remove yourself from such environments that you realise how toxic such friends/partners/whatever can be. It doesn’t mean they’re bad people, but life’s got enough shit in it without actively surrounding yourself with people who put a bad spin on everything.
Simply put, misery + misery = misery (which is not to be confused with love, even though they, admittedly, can sometimes feel like one and the same).
(Image credit: 1.)