Let’s Stop Pretending Depression Isn’t Real
I’m over the bullshit.
On Saturday, someone asked me to speak on their podcast about the music industry. Two weeks ago, someone else asked me to speak on their podcast about entrepreneurship. The same week, a respected photographer invited me to join his artist collective. The week before that, I was accepted in the International Association of Professional Writers and Editors, opening up a few more doors for work.
I consult people in Public Relations within the music industry; I just launched my own music blog yesterday, The Press Prophet. I have a job with a global design firm back home in North Carolina as a digital strategy professional. I am the Editor-in-Chief of The Catalyst and a freelance contributor for two different publications. I recently just relocated to the greater New York City area to intern at the second longest-running music magazine in the country.
I have things going for me, but I am still depressed.
See, for me, I tend to walk around pretending depression isn’t a real thing. You know, the thing that kills people every day all over the world. Why do I do this? For a few reasons:
- I have survived suicidal depression twice and think I can beat it again (if that ever happens).
- I always think because I am not on the brink of dying, that I am fine.
- Even when I am not even remotely sad, that I am fine.
- In reality, I am never really fine. I just pretend I am.
Why do we pretend? Why do we fake it?
I don’t know about you, but my image online means a lot. Unfortunately, as much as I don’t give a rat’s ass about what people have to say or think about my lifestyle, my presence online has to grow.
I get paid right now to create content for social media. I am a content producer. That’s my job. That’s the real job that gets me money at the end of the month, not the glamorous New York bullshit you were fed to believe.
Social media isn’t always truthful.
But it could be.
One of my greatest goals is the leave the world a better place than when I found it. Helping other people, somehow, some way. Social media that does that is doing a great job of inspiring the rest of us. I do believe there is some good to the power of the digital world.
My bad habits is another reason.
9 times out of 10, I am too busy wondering what the hell I am going to write next. It’s as if I am at the mercy of the clock.
That’s indicative of some seriously bad habits.
When you don’t plan your day, make a schedule for yourself, and live with purpose driven by goals, you just sort of float. You float on and on, not really accomplishing anything. I am doing that right now. It’s as if my body and mind repels schedules. I wish it were true; look at every preschooler in the country. They love it, their parents love it, because the kids are on a schedule. They actually get shit done.
Time is of the essence.
Another reason for hiding depression is the stigma that is involved.
I don’t want to lose my job. I don’t want to lose friends. I don’t want my family to worry about me. I don’t want to put anyone through what I have put them through before. If you know me well, you know I go through phases, these long jogs of darkness, and the sprints of happiness. Sometimes the night runs last for a really long time — other times I feel like I can fly for forever.
Just all depends, I guess.
When someone tells you they are depressed, one of two things generally happens:
- You are extremely warm and compassionate; you offer to help, or at least to listen.
- You look the other way and think to yourself, You’re depressed because you haven’t learned to master your mind yet.
Both are me. Guilty.
How did I go from an angry, temperamental teenager to a suicidal young woman in her early 20s? How did I go from suicidal to wildly happy and a published writer? And how in the fucking world did I go from a successful writer right back to being depressed?
Because depression is cyclical.
It requires maintenance.
I have my days. Some days I am fine, just fine, and I don’t notice the sadness creeping in much at all. Other days it’s awful. I moved to New York thinking my depression wouldn’t follow me.
That was probably the craziest notion I have acted on yet.
Depression is everywhere. It’s here, in New York, where I am supposed to be doing great things. I can’t even enjoy my stay here because of the overwhelming feelings I have about everything.
What am I supposed to be doing? Am I supposed to be in music? Am I supposed to be just a digital professional? I hate social media management, so why am I still doing this? Just because I am good at it, could be great at it?
These are questions I need to address within myself. As the world spins on, time isn’t slowing down — I need to act fast. It’s this very time-sensitive pressure that is prohibiting me from making any moves.
I feel like a failure.
The next time you think depression isn’t real, just look at me.
I had a friend DM me over Instagram last night, telling me they thought my life looked amazing from social media.
It blew me away.
I have fought back tears for the last month and a half, trying to push the thoughts out of my brain. I have a terrible habit of just sweeping my problems under the rug. I always have; maybe because I have been trained to fear personal confrontation, maybe because I never saw my parents resolve a damn thing in front of me. Everything I have learned about how the world works was from observing, trying, and failing, from the rest of the world. I am horrible at dealing with my emotions.
I know what I need to do to get back on track — I’m just in a slump again right now. It happens. It might always happen, but I can prepare for the future by arming myself with the right tools to fight this depression. Planning, preparing, and being knowledgable of what makes you happy helps in the war.
The war against ourselves.
Let’s stop pretending it’s not real. Let’s fight together. It makes it easier to get through the days.
// If you’re scared, I know the feeling. If you want to reach out, but are nervous — I get that, too. I want you to know I am all ears. Just shoot me a message here and I’ll listen.