Hey, everyone. I gotta get something off my chest that I’ve been carrying around with me for a very long time. There’s really not ever a good time or way to say it, so I’ll just get to the point:
I have depression.
I have been living with depression for a very long time and up two years ago I had not ever told a single person. I had been closing myself off emotionally for so many years, it’s become ridiculously difficult for me to talk about how I actually feel deep down inside. I simply couldn’t get myself to tell anyone and I had built up so many reasons in my head over the years why it wouldn’t be worth it anyway. All up until a point where I had to realize I was wasting my life away. I was done. I couldn’t go on like this. From there, it took some time to finally get myself to tell someone, that I was not okay and hadn’t been for a very long time. After years of struggling in silence, it was a first step.
So, this is another one I’ve been meaning to take. Because I don’t want to hide this away anymore. I’m tired of feeling dishonest every time someone asks me how I am, even when it’s just formalities. I’m tired of it. I’m tired of feeling empty. I’m tired of feeling sick. I have to find a way to get better. I’m working on letting my guard down and I’m trying to find the strength to be honest about this. Because I don’t think I’ll make it very far if I keep myself closed off like I have. So, here it is. It is terrifying, to be honest, but I hope in the long run it will help me handle this better.
Thank you for bothering to read this.
I know, this is all a little out of the blue, so, to make sense of this whole mess, I’ll explain.
I’ll try to keep it short but it’s still gonna be a bit of a long and depressing read. Alternatively, just listen to one of the many depressing songs I like. Thanks again for having taken the time.
When I was about thirteen years old I watched my family fall apart from the sidelines. It shattered my view of the adults, who used to be these reasonable people who have it all figured out. It was tearing me apart and since it didn’t exactly get better over time, it kept tearing on me. So, at one point I decided, if I couldn’t do anything about it, I would make sure I would never be the reason to make anyone feel this sad. I would not make whatever problems I had anyone else’s. So, I kept to myself. I know, it’s a terrible way to deal with something like that but I was a kid. And at the time I thought everything would probably sort itself out and be fine, just had to hold on for a while.
But it wasn’t.
Instead, the weight of the world started weighing me down. I was an idealistic, empathetic kid, eager to learn and sucking up knowledge, hoping it would lead the way to a life of passion and meaning and ways to make this world a better place. I always hoped there was more to life than day-to-day monotony. I believed there were great things out there. A world to change. But instead, the more I learned, the more I found the world to be corrupted, full of ignorance, greed, and pain. A devastating disenchantment of the world.
In these years I grew distant. I never had a problem with being on my own. I had always been introverted and somewhat anxious and withdrawn but that kinda took a bad turn in my teenage years. I kept feeling more and more distant from everyone. I didn’t care about the stuff others cared about and hardly anyone cared about the stuff I cared about. And then I had terrible skin, I was entirely unathletic… I basically started hating my whole physical appearance. (Pretty normal teenager-stuff I guess.) On top of all that I didn’t drink (still hoping sobriety would somehow help me find a better way and all that). All that lead to me not having much interest in any social events at all. I was pretty much on the outside looking in. In spite of all that I was lucky enough to still have a lot of friends, so that I didn’t slip away completely. Playing in a band also helped a lot and so did the music I listened to. It helps a great deal to listen to people feeling the same way as you do. I’ve drawn a lot of strength from that.
But still, I had come to feel a profound loneliness that didn’t seem to go away. And I didn’t know how to talk to anyone about that. I had gotten used to keeping the bad feelings hidden. I figured it was probably better that way.
I found comfort in making music, listening to music, going to concerts, hanging out with friends, burying myself in video-games and way too much energy drinks. But I still kept feeling more and more empty and alone. I felt like I didn’t belong in this world. It started to seem nothing but bleak and cold. All the anger and sadness I felt about the messed up things happening in the world, began to turn into hopelessness and desperation. Everything began to feel pointless.
So, when I was eighteen, I had kind of lost faith in everything (There went my sobriety…). Home dissolved, friends graduated and scattered everywhere, my band dissolved and I had no idea where to go with my life. I didn’t want any of it. I rarely ever felt any happiness anymore. I didn’t tell any of my friends. Still, they helped me shake that feeling and feel some real happiness, time and time again. I have gotten to know so many amazing people in my life who constantly, unknowingly, pull me out of the grey, if only for one evening at a time. I’m truly grateful for that. And I was still got joy and excitement out of writing songs that I liked, bursts of inspiration and amazement from all kinds of stuff, listening to awesome music, playing music, watching awesome tv-shows, etc….things to distract my mind. But those moments never seemed to last very long.
And in between those times, sooner or later, I’d be by myself again. And I’d end up feeling empty again. It’s an exceptionally terrible way to feel. This (click here) actually describes it pretty well. “The emotional equivalent of watching paint dry” is at times a surprisingly accurate description.
I used to never think I had depression before, because to me it meant feeling miserable for no reason. And I had always felt like there were more than enough of those around. It’s hard to tell what’s normal in a world that is so messed up but it became undeniably clear eventually, that I was depressed and had been for a very long time. Most of the time I felt completely hopeless. Everything just felt so wrong. And I just felt numb, thinking too much, constantly having bad thoughts. Restless. It was hard to sleep and hard to find a reason to get out bed again. Everything felt exhausting or pointless or both. Nothing I’d do would ever work out. Nothing would ever be okay. I didn’t have the motivation or the energy to do anything at all. I felt that I sucked at everything and that nobody would care anyway, for anything I’d do or create, so there was no point in trying. I couldn’t get anything done at all. I felt worthless and everything felt pointless. I had even lost interest in the things I usually loved to do. And on top of it all I felt terrible to feel this bad when so many others are so much worse off for much better reasons.
At university, after a while, I pretty much burned out. Each exam almost turned into a panic attack, there were too many things that I just couldn’t make myself care about but somehow still needed to handle. I just wanted to sleep. I spent days in bed watching tv-shows and trying not to think about anything. So, not great…
I then finally changed my course of studies and moved to another city. The periods that I was kind of okay became longer and the bad times fewer and further between and I actually liked what I was studying.
I got a little better but I still couldn’t get rid of it. And still, nobody knew about it. All this time I’ve kept everyone at a distance because I was sure I could be nothing but bad for anybody. I was afraid I might not have the energy to keep someone close without letting them down in the end. That it might get bad again and I’d I feel this empty when I should be happy. That I would only bring everyone down. And I was too scared to tell that to anyone. I didn’t want anyone to worry. And I was scared no-one would really understand. That I’d bleed my heart out and be left with nothing but awkwardness. There were just so many reasons to stay silent.
But at one point, all that didn’t matter anymore. I was wasting my life away with this sickness. So, something has got to change. I missed so many opportunities already. I was hiding myself away, despite the fact that honesty had always been important to me. I used to want to help people. Instead, I ended up incapable of even helping myself. So, I’m gonna have to try to get better. Because as much a cliché as it is, it’s still not always as clear as it should be: we only have this one life to live. And I’m incredibly tired of spending it barely feeling alive. Besides, I think I owe it to everyone who cares about me.
So, this is not about sympathy. Sure, at times I wished that someone would’ve seen through me and would have felt what I felt, just for a moment. But that’s hoping in vain. And in the end, it wouldn’t be enough.
I would rather no-one ever has to feel that, anyway.
To me, this is about honesty and sincerity. And I don’t know if I’ll ever get through this but this is part of me trying. An attempt to reach higher ground.
Thanks for reading.
To everyone else out there having a hard time struggling through: Always keep on fighting.