The Daily Gamecock

Column: It's not 'fine'

“We’re fine. It’s fine. I’m fine.”

This is the mantra our newsroom has repeated all year.

They’re the words I tell myself when a story falls through. They’re the words I say to Erin when something goes wrong on our staff. They’re the words I find myself repeating before bed when I know I haven’t done everything I need to do for the day but just can’t function anymore.

But that shouldn’t be how we live. It shouldn’t be how anyone lives.

I knew something was wrong in my life when I started to simply not care.

I broke up with my boyfriend. I was failing my classes. My friendships were falling apart. Work was mindless. I was spending almost every single night in the dense crowds of Five Points bars, yet I had never felt so alone in my life.

Eventually, I was diagnosed with depression.

There are days where I feel productive — I finish an essay, go to work, put together The Daily Gamecock’s newsletter, find time to have lunch with a friend — but then there are days where just getting out of the bed feels like the biggest achievement of my life.

I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. When I was at my lowest point, I needed someone to tell me what I was feeling was valid. I had to tell myself it was OK. And before we decided to take this week off, I needed someone to tell me I was allowed to have a break.

It’s OK to move a little slower. It’s OK to let things fall through the cracks just a little. You have to take care of yourself, and I’m learning to do more of it every day.

The Daily Gamecock and I, we have a toxic relationship.

It likes to tell me I suck at my job, and I tell it that the news doesn’t even matter much anyway. It tells me I'm being dramatic when I sigh too much in the newsroom; I tell it to cut me some slack. Some days I want nothing more than to ignore it, but I keep coming back. We’re codependent now, and it’s a cycle I didn’t know how to break myself out of.

It feels like I’m gaslighting myself half the time — I don’t give myself the room to make mistakes, and when I do, I say to myself “It’s OK. It wasn’t your fault. S— happens.” I know I’m lying. The words are empty because I’ll feel bad anyway, and the next mistake will only make the feeling worse.

You know those dreams where you’re running away from a monster but your legs just can’t seem to move fast enough, and it’s like you’re trying to run through a pool of syrup?

That’s what this entire year has felt like. And the monster is catching up.

— Rita Naidu, managing editor