It started with a sigh of relief.
Last week I graduated from college, and I couldn’t contain my excitement knowing that I finally had a break after the last hectic eight months of my life. I had been living day to day juggling class, an internship, work, a Senior Honor’s Thesis, meetings, running a website, directing and editing a music video, and finding time to see my girlfriend and friends. It had been the lifestyle I adopted, and I’m proud of all the work I produced and art I was able to create.
But man oh man, I was ready for a break.
This last week I’ve been adjusting back into a more “regular” lifestyle. I moved back into the house I grew up in and began working nights in a restaurant to start saving for my future. It felt amazing to be able to relax and not have the constant stress of deadlines and juggling so many different projects.
However, one night after work I was sitting alone in my living room, time quickly approaching the sunrise, when I felt it.
It hit me in a moment.
The depression and numbness I had seemingly gotten ahead of these last few months was back. As if to say:
Knock, Knock. Remember me?
As much as I know depression is a part of my life and that it will always come and go, there are times where I do feel like I genuinely forget the intensity of feeling nothing. In fact, I didn’t even full realize how long I had gone without feeling those feelings until they were back full force.
But why had I forgotten? Why was I so surprised to feel those feelings again?
The truth of the matter is I was distracted. For the last eight months depression had come in small doses, but nothing like I felt this week. Depression has always been following closely in my rearview mirror, but I was so focused on the road and the turns to take lately I didn’t even notice it.
Being busy kept me distracted. My projects and deadlines gave me a sense of purpose. But with all that stripped away my car had stopped, and my depression took the advantage to jump in the backseat.
That first moment never really gets easier when those emotions hit. It wasn’t a fun night, by any means, but it also felt like a moment of clarity. It reminded me of who I am. And it reminded me of why I do the things I do.
I came across a quote the same night on twitter by author Paulo Coelho that made me reflect in a similar manner.
“Man needs what’s worst in him in order to achieve what’s best in him.”
By no means am I advocating that having depression makes you a bad person. But if I had the opportunity to change one part of myself, I think I would choose to not struggle with depression.
But what makes the quote interesting is that if I didn’t feel these things, would I achieve and be successful at the things I am? Would I still be as empathetic or creative?
I guess I’ll never know the answer.
I have no doubt that within a few weeks I’ll be back in the routine of being busy with new projects and collaborations, and I know that’s something I may be doing to outrun depression. For those of us who live this lifestyle, we need to remember to check in with ourselves. Remember why we do what we do, because there will always be moments when life slows down for us.
Always remember you are not alone.
You are loved.
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