I’m skipping the pleasantries in this blog. In fact what I write today is not literature. Not all art is meant to be enjoyed and this is certainly not art. This is pure fucking ventilation.
There was a point this year where my head wasn’t in the right place. I inherited hate for myself as well as skepticism for everyone around me. A part of me said fuck everything because everything and everyone deserved it while the other part of me clinched to instincts asking why no one cared about me? So instead of answering these questions I cycled myself into invisibility.
Being invisible can be blissful, quite frankly. As an extrovert I put myself out there which means the feelings on my sleeve get tossed into the ring as well. But fuck, even an extrovert needs to breathe. So I adopted the ability to be invisible; Shutting the fuck up and staying out of everyone’s way like the perfect ideal fly on the wall. In these moments, being noticed became a hassle so people watching inadvertently became a more solidified skill. If my attention was required, I’d smile when needed. The major thing I’d dread was one-on-one time with anybody. There’s not a chance of being invisible then and worst of all nine-times-out-of-ten, someone is going to want to take a photo with you. No one takes pictures of the person who tries to shy away in a large group. But when you’re one-on-one with someone they ask you to mold yourself, on command, to your pleasant persona which is why no depressed person ever looks depressed when you look back at old photos. Everyone acts differently in front of a camera. This past year, according to my photos, did I ever looked depressed?
Trust me, behind the teeth of my smile in many of my photos my first thoughts were: Fuck this, fuck the photographer, fuck where I am, fuck my past, fuck my present, fuck my future, fuck home, fuck my career, fuck friends, and anything potentially construable to your mind… fuck it. I aggressively hated it and everything imaginable in that moment. Why? I’d learn much farther down the road it was jealousy.
I told you, I’m not writing this to be pleasant. I can reassure you this, though, I’m not depressed anymore. So why was I depressed this year at all?
You do the math: I bounced between unfulfilling jobs in my first year in the industry, saw my friends – whom I was supposed to move in with – move into a place without me, got scolded by multiple industry professionals about my failures, went home to parents who argued with each other and myself, got little to no recognition about my accomplishments of the past, pinched pennies when out with my friends – when I could afford to go out, got rejected by at least 300 different jobs that denied me with silence, saw my friends succeed and progress in an excelled speed, almost got pulled into one of those get-rich-quick pyramid schemes with Amway, and in general couldn’t find consistent work.
Another issue was that I didn’t know how to express myself. In fact, as I type this I feel a physical reminder anytime I use my pinky finger to type in a key… I bottled shit up inside me and swung a fist at the wall. Thank god I didn’t sprain or break my hand but my pinky remains casualty to a bruise that will heal itself.
*SIDE NOTE: I was NEVER suicidal. I think I’ve been asked this a few times since being vocal about my depression so NO I was not suicidal. And NO I didn’t want to hurt people either. To some extent, only myself.
It wasn’t until I had a week to myself, with my parents on their anniversary vacation, where I could finally think and clear my brain with an openly silent house that warranted me to challenge my latest patterns. Here, I had come to a conclusion on my own: I needed to change. This sounds like a very simple epiphany but in all seriousness it’s the biggest step. As soon as my loving parents came home, I told them of my needs and realizations. They welcomed my hunger to change with love and urgency and for that I have my parents to thank.
I thank them to this day by constantly adapting. I adapt out of necessity. In all fairness I’m still changing. I’m not fully out of the cave I was in before but I’m certainly not lost. In fact I’m not depressed anymore. I’m not depressed because they gave me the resources I needed to grow out of my dire situation. And from their resources I began to see and even create my own resources. My friends have provided resources for me as well and for that I thank them by changing.
That’s not to say my life is perfect now. I still live at home and I still fight tooth and nail to get jobs in the freelance market of the film industry. My friends still succeed at accelerated rates and they still live in the heart of Los Angeles where work and opportunities are.
My final anecdote to take away from my ventilation is this:
I put value in the wrong things in my life. My confusion and frustration with my professional life had drawn me to believe my worth came strictly from success in my career. That was clearly not the case. My ultimate worth comes from my ability to overcome this very thing I’m in now. It comes from me learning to thrive the way I used to. It comes from me trying things and doing things for others as oppose to fully focusing on myself.
It comes from my efforts in aggression and expression to fuel my passions rather than my faults.
I’m an incredibly lucky person as well. This is something to be underscored while depressed. If you live in a house with some sort of support system, whether that be a family, a job, a friend who stops by to say hello, or even your own motivations, then you’re a very lucky person. I didn’t realize I was lucky for a great majority of this year. I was so focused on my negatives that I couldn’t function.
The steps I’ve taken to leave my depressed state include expanding my interest and education from concepts as simple as bar-tending to giants as great as business concepts, re prioritizing my life goals while maintaining my passion, reaching out doing more good for others rather than myself, and seeing a therapist. In other words I SHIFTED MY FOCUS.
I still am harnessing more tools to cope with what I’ve gone through but know that my solutions may not be what helps you develop.
For my friends and family who may be suffering from depression:
I CANNOT EMPHASIZE THIS ENOUGH! There are multiple types of depression. Don’t treat your condition as if it’s mine. Do your research. You can start with this article. While I know self diagnosis is not always accurate when using the internet, it helps to get a better idea as to what you need. I was probably under the category of the most common type known as Major Depression. I’m proud to say I’ve fought back against the storm and can confidently say you can too.
Also, a great book that has helped me grow is a book called The Go-Giver. It was life changing for me and I hope you check it out.
Lastly if the situation is dire and you’ve been drawn to this point please call the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255.