Depression, Disconnect and Rediscovery

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, I have been going through a pretty severe bout of depression lately. I had left a job that was financially stable but emotionally draining, and I had no real plan other than to try and write through it. This was obviously a terrible plan, and so when it inevitably failed, I allowed myself to sink into depression.

Normally depression is something that I fight with every ounce of energy that I have left. I usually start an unusual amount of creative projects, armed with a different notebook for each project. I usually overcompensate with productivity, going full force on job hunting and cleaning. I usually have something to keep me keeping on.

This time, I didn’t do that. My job hunt fell by the wayside, so did my writing, my reading and just about everything else. I took on several near-decade long-running shows, and let them wash over me. Some of them I barely registered at all. I stopped seeing friends, too ashamed at my own surrender and without an office to be forced to go to, I lost a lot of human contact.

And it was oddly therapeutic. I gave up, a decision I’ve been staving off for years. I didn’t want to be anybody special; I didn’t want to fight for anything anymore. I wasn’t trying to convince anyone I was useful or productive anymore. I didn’t want to prove anything to anyone. I just let myself exist in an odd limbo state.

I’ve always been afraid to let myself give in to the depression. There was a very real risk that if I gave in, I may never get back up on my feet again. I wasn’t sure I could give up the momentum. What if once I stopped trying to prove myself to everyone else, I wouldn’t ever convince myself I was worthwhile?

But this decision to allow myself to slip into my depression wasn’t conscious. I was just too tired of fighting it. With every decision seeming more fruitless than the last, it just seemed easier to stop making decisions.

Now it’s been months and I don’t have much to show for it. A sparsely written blog, plans and lists for a business I never ended up starting, an apartment that fell into a biohazardous state. It’s a poor excuse of an existence.

But I don’t feel as tired.

Don’t get me wrong: this bout of depression has not reached its end. I’m still struggling and failing to get myself together. But there’s something validating in not pushing myself anymore. I’m starting to take things at my own pace, instead of trying to outrace everyone else. I think it’s working.

I’ve started reading again. Nothing heavy, nothing dense. I’ve started thinking about fiction again. Hell, I’ve even entertained the idea of screenwriting for a while. The signs of life are returning to me, and with it, having to relearn what that life means to me.

And this time, I’m trying to live it for me.

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