I revealed today that I am in fact depressed. I took to my most frequented social media sites to confess what all I have been feeling. That is, I am depressed and have been this way since for as long as I can remember. I took to Facebook to tell the few high school classmates, college associates, immediate family members and strangers- that like my thought processing- that I suffer with social anxiety and depression. And that I have felt this way since I was 10 years old, maybe younger or slightly older.
This was a late night/early morning confession so the response was of only one private message. One of the strangers told me that she wholly empathize with me, then to suggest medication and therapy. Why, then? I had revealed within the confession that people, generally, are the source of my fears and pessimism. That I find discomfort not only in being around people, but people as individuals. People as in judgmental, uncaring, self-centered individuals that I have not understood and will never come close to understanding in time. These people, generally, are the source of my stress, anxiety, social phobia, dating phobia, etc. As I told her, the stranger, I have been medicated for this condition before. All the while taking the pills, feeling the medicine or rather feeling emotions that have been inactive for so long jitter about inside of me. Not once did it cure my response to how others mistreat and misinterpret me. I thanked her for the advice and the shared empathy anyway. In a minute later my mom ‘liked’ my post. She always accuses me of writing excessively, too much for her to read so she ‘likes’ the post, pictures and comments anyway. I then made a rash decision to delete, then to deactivate my profile.
I was a social media user since the age of 14 years old, around 2008 when I wanted to connect with my peers. As a quiet, introverted teenager never afforded the ability or the will to express myself it proved useful. I used social media to express my immature nature; my dumbed down nature to better relate to those around me in school. As well, I used it as a platform to discuss relevant issues that I normally kept quiet and complacent about. After some time I deleted the 13/14 year old ‘me’ to tackle important issues in politics, or about religion and other social issues. Not that I was popular anyway, not that anyone cared, but I posted and shared my opinions that my conservative Christian ‘friends’ disagreed with. As a result I became largely ignored. I continued to post and debate, alone, and to myself, anyway.
Today I deleted pictures, memories, post, and removed tags. The task was simple. Again by no means was I ever popular and I did not share as much compared to others. Today, as well I found a note from 2011 that I did not delete. The note was about my frustration with the homophobic comments my circle of associates, classmates, etc. often expressed delightfully. I expressed how disheartening it is to hear people speak in ignorance to those like myself. People like me who had yet to come out, my first story that I had shared here. I remember how I was feeling the time I had typed the note-a depressed teen, pessimistic and suffering from social anxiety. As I went further back I noticed more of largely ignored political social interest, and then more about my confessions. This has not been the first time, now as I was beginning to remember. This is not the first time I have deleted memories, confessions and the like. And in every time I deleted, only to retype and to reword again, my quality of life remained the same. I am depressed, as I stated this one last time.
The cause of my frustrations, pessimism and fears have been other people. Recently, all three are related to my recent heart break. I had to come to terms that I was using social media to make her understand how much her apathy, and unloving nature tormented me daily. And that her new found love just confirmed all that I have feared and confessed to her. I had told her that I had gone through bouts of depression since I was a teenager. No, I had not fully recovered though in my mind I thought I had done so, compared to her confusion and fears she too confessed to me. I had confessed that I am broken and expected her to break the cycle, to be different from others and to be understanding. It was then that I had failed to realize that she is like all other individuals. She is like all the others-the source of my frustrations and fears. One message after another for a month, all disconnected and all in repetition wanting her to acknowledge, understand then to apologize. My pessimism called for her to block me, to reveal that she is who I know her to be… Though it is difficult to say when you love that person. I had to block her instead, once I found out she blocked me as well, I had to make my last confession.
Celebrities are coming out to confess their thoughts as well. They make a head liner-‘I’m Depressed’. Or, at least, they vaguely mention how they are feeling so the editor comes to that conclusion to write that viral title. The public responds by saying: how can this be that someone rich and famous who is given all that they may ask for in life, only to be discontent? And as we read of another who has died due to suicide, we have the public reacting by stating even money cannot buy happiness. And now we must talk about depression. It is only during these moments that someone beloved and talented confess and/or dies that we must have this discussion. ‘#talktosomeone’ surfaces on popular sharing sites. The long passionate quotes liked and shared by those that agree are about encouraging people to come out and confess. To find someone, anyone to empathize with your suffering. The reason given is that you are not alone.
The reality of depression is that you are alone. You are alone in your thoughts. You are to deal with it alone despite the helpful advice, therapy sessions, or sympathetic individuals that struggle and fumble with their words of circular positive encouragement. Depression affects the individual and by no means will talking to someone help, or always help concerning the severity and specifics of the illness. The depression may last a short while, given the changes in environment or other self-improvement tactics may help. Then there are others that will suffer through it, or probably not that much longer considering the common end of this illness. Something that I too have contemplated from time to time. It is when the negative thoughts, expected behavior of others, the low self-esteem; the conditions for living on this Earth, in this society, etc. becomes too overwhelming for the person to handle mentally. The ill person then release their emotions and thoughts through silent tears, music, writing, drugs, alcohol, anger, or something else to distract them. In whatever way the person may deal with or to solve their illness the person does so alone.
How do I best deal with my illness? I take a walk. Reconnecting with nature has been something recent and fulfilling. It’s the thought of the pavement or the feel of the grass beneath your shoes do I feel grounded. Most certainly I feel something the moment I walk, to feel the world around me slowed down to a normal, walking pace. To feel nature surround my body, pushing and pulling at my hair, clothes and skin. To feel the heat of the sun…It is then that I feel a sense of release, my mind just as chaotic as ever, but simple. My thoughts become slowed as well, but simple.
I may park my car somewhere, lock it of course, and just walk. I walk away from the noise, the commotion of people. Then to walk away from my life-responsibilities, concerns and anxieties about my future. I take so much pleasure from the brief moment to walk away from the noise and to walk away from my present life. So much so that my thoughts, whenever inclined to self-harm and neglect I think instead of simply walking away. And if it weren’t for the demands of society to have a job, car, and house to survive I would do just that. If it did not mean upsetting my mom as I leave, disappear without a trace, I would do just that.
Since I feel shackled by obligations I only dream to be either taken away or to disappear. I have dreamt of an airplane crash, though I have never flown before, where I became stranded and alone. I could imagine how I would feel based on the brief moments of freedom I have now. To feel nature pushing and pulling me. This is not likely to happen, so instead I like National Geographic pictures of indigenous people whose feet have been shaped by the land. In other dreams I thought to quit, to sell, to remove the excess baggage and just walk away. Where would I go? I would go everywhere, in the heat, under the sun with shoes tapping the pavement. I would just go at random.
If I ever feel stressed by what I am unable to do, I will write it down instead. There was a concept essay in my 10th grade class that my close associate and I wrote separately, then shared. We were to write individually about the greatest invention and to explain why it is great compared to others. My associate and I are similar in thought, still, even though we no longer speak. She wrote that ‘paper’ was the best invention in our world, which allows us to read. She’s still a bookworm. I wrote that the ‘pen’ was the greatest invention as it allow for ideas and thoughts to be more easily shared. In that I discussed written language as the beginning of all other great inventions. I remember now, I asked her about her topic then I shared my own. We playfully argued which of our topic was better in answering the writing prompt. I ended with, if it were not for the ‘pen’ what purpose would the ‘paper’ have been in the course of our human history?
Feel as I may and will forever feel as it seems, I’m fortunate enough to live in a time and place where I am able to share my thoughts. Whether I am to share my thoughts on paper or on the screen there is still a sense of release. This is where I tell myself all is fine as long as you have a mind of your own and the will to express it to yourself first. You may be depressed, you do indeed suffer with social anxiety but so long as you are a confident thinking being you can forget about the approval of others. Then I leave all other thoughts to rest.
I mean I am talking to someone about it. I’m talking to myself