I Just Wanted a Milkshake and I am So Stupid and Petty and Just the Worst
Ever beat yourself up over something small, something that “shouldn’t matter” but is suddenly important? And then beat yourself up over your lack of perspective?
Me too. All the time. Especially in the throes of depression. I’ll feel like I’ve just gotten my head above water and something small can smack me back down, and I have to learn to surface all over again.
Last night I was upset over an UberEats order. Their customer service wasn’t helpful. I felt like I’d tried to express my needs and been shut down with no recourse. Because depression causes us to generalize and magnify, that incident harmonized perfectly with other times I’d let myself be taken advantage of. Like earlier in the day when I didn’t speak up about something else.
So I’m sitting at home, feeling depressed, wondering if I should’ve spoken up about that first thing. At the time, I was also in excruciating physical pain. The weather had brought on a bout of costochondritis in my chest. It hurt. It felt like my ribs were poking my organs willy-nilly, and of course I was worried that it could be something more.
The pain in my chest was such that it really hurt to eat or even drink. I was trying to find less painful ways to eat because I was getting really hungry.
Finally, I decided to just go ahead and order some milkshakes via Uber Eats. I just needed easy liquid calories at that point. I knew I wouldn’t be getting out the next day because of the snow, so I figured I would just order milkshakes in the hopes I’d feel better. I don’t have a car, so I had to do delivery.
I waited and waited and waited. After an hour, I got an alert that my order was canceled. By then, it was too late to order from other restaurants. I was still in a lot of pain, and hungry, especially having just waited an hour for the one thing I thought I might be able to eat painlessly.
UberEats just said I wouldn’t be charged, and I tried to get a credit, something, but they didn’t respond until the next day after I tweeted. We exchanged a couple messages and they didn’t offer me anything and also didn’t acknowledge that they were responsible or could do anything to make it better. Instead they thanked me for my patience and said “sorry your expectations weren’t met” as if expecting my order had been too much.
I’m writing this because I’m still mad, and also because I’m being really hard on myself for being mad.
I know it’s better to let things go. I know big companies can’t or won’t care about individuals. I’ll never be someone at home in pain and waiting for something it won’t hurt to eat. We have to be okay with being faceless to a certain extent. But it still hurts when there’s a direct refusal to see us as more.
Perhaps the really hurtful thing is that that experience reinforced the negative ideas that depression was already feeding me. Depression makes you feel both anonymous and disgustingly conspicuous. Being a discarded customer who complains is both those things. Depression makes you feel like all your efforts will be thwarted. Ordering from a delivery service and getting nothing is exactly that. Expecting literal sustenance (even in milkshake form) when you’re hurting and then being denied it is such an echo of the other depression scripts. Feeling unworthy of kindness. Like your needs will never be met and nobody cares.
Depression lies, above all. I know those things aren’t true. I know I don’t live and die on a battlefield of whether or not I get my milkshakes.
But it does feel easier to think of perspective differently. Perhaps instead of denying that I’m upset about a bad customer service experience, it’s best to accept that the small things are part of the big picture. That these corporate interactions can reiterate how faceless we feel to ourselves sometimes, how much it hurts when needs of any kind aren’t met, when we’re in pain and told it’s because of our own expectations.
If you’re upset about “something stupid,” it’s okay.
If you felt some empathy with me telling this story, you can find some for yourself.
And if it would help, drop a comment with the “something stupid” that’s dogging you.
You can find me at http://www.erinlyndalmartin.com or on Twitter at @erinlyndal. I appreciate any donations to the Milkshake Fund.