Becky is my roommate. We’ve known each other since childhood; she was the social butterfly, always hanging around with someone I knew, and gradually we just ended up together.
Becky and I are not close. In fact, although she’s always been acquainted with people I know, I’ve tried to avoid her as much as I can since we first met. We’re complete polar opposites (in and of itself not a problem) who bring out the worst in one another. But Becky has always been there. When my childhood best friend died, Becky was the one who tucked me into bed for days at a time, brought me chocolate and junk food, and introduced me to video games. When my father-in-law started emotionally abusing me, Becky stepped up and took me on wild shopping sprees, taught me about the glory of grilled cheese, and helped me ignore how painful it was. And last year, when I really needed someone to be there for me, to slow my anxious brain, to curb my depression, and help me start getting my life back together, it was Becky who showed up.
In the beginning, living with Becky – not for the first time – was nice. We were getting on well. She’s quiet, which at first is always a great thing when you live with someone, and we lived together like two ships passing in the night. You could argue I didn’t even realise we were living together for a couple of months; she showed up to offer her assistance and never left.
Becky’s thoughtful. She’ll leave me little things to show she’s thinking of me. A chocolate bar. A new DVD. A soft blanket that she knows I would enjoy snuggling and taking a nap under. A new video game. She knows when I’m feeling low and is ready with a warm hug and a takeaway if I need it.
On this side of the coin, Becky is a perfect friend and roommate. Let me show you the other side.
Becky’s not nurturing. She doesn’t cook (though, neither do I), she doesn’t clean, she hates taking care of plants, she forgets to take the trash out for days at a time. She’s a slob! She doesn’t only refuse to clean 99% of the time, she also actively makes disgusting messes that she leaves around. She’s lazy. So, so, so lazy. She will put off absolutely everything until the last minute. Everything. Even things that are really important, like taxes or healthcare. She’s disgusting. Sometimes it’s a struggle to get her to brush her teeth every day, or take a shower. She hates spending time with other people and refuses to leave the house for weeks at a time. She’s incapable of managing her money – spending wildly and then panicking about not having enough for necessities like food and rent.
Becky is mean. Becky is mean in the gentlest, most manipulative way possible. Becky is mean in the way that makes it impossible for you to leave her. She will build you up, and build you up, and then bring you down with a single blow. She can spend days – weeks, even! – supporting you at your lowest, and at the point where you see daylight again, she will softly remind you: “you’re a piece of shit.” She will be the first one to support you, make you a hot chocolate, listen to your woes, and right at the point of getting over it, she’ll let you know it was all true and you’re not worth it.
This is how it goes with Becky. This is how it has always gone and will always go with Becky. After a year of living together, where we were once peacefully cohabiting, often forgetting the other was there, we’re now living in a nightmare of our own making. Unable to bear the sight of one another, unable to leave for fear of being alone. We despise one another, and yet sometimes it feels like we would die without each other.
Becky is my depression, and the space we share is my head.
She hasn’t always been here, or lived here. She’s been a constant visitor since I was a child, and as a child it’s easy to look at Becky (and the first four paragraphs) and see a friend who is comforting you, protecting you, and supporting you when nothing and nobody else seems to. But age and wisdom are magical things, and along with memories of times in my life when I didn’t have Becky around, I can see her “gifts” more clearly:
Becky isn’t a friend, she’s a leech. My life’s goal at this point is getting rid of Becky, but Becky doesn’t want to go.
We’ve been bickering for months, but the last two weeks… Wow. She knows I want her gone, and she knows I’m working hard to make it happen, so she’s digging her claws in. The last two weeks, I’ve been the most depressed that I can remember being in a long time. Often, all I do is sleep and eat, and nothing else, for days at a time. Yep, all those things about how disgusting Becky is? They’re happening here. Self-preservation has officially left the building.
I’m trying to force the willpower I need in to myself, but it’s just not there, and so for now I’m just hanging on. I’m literally doing as much as I can, now I can only keep it up and hope it takes.