First, most important thing to say: I am not diagnosed with clinical depression. I do not constantly struggle with it, and I am in no way intending to insinuate I do. I know several people that are and do, and I know that though I occasionally have depressive episodes like what I'm about to discuss, I don't deal with it in any sort of chronic way. Consider yourselves disclaimed.
Also, you should be forewarned, this post is primarily catharsis for me. I went through a thing, and I really need to let it out. I haven't really been able to talk to much of anyone about it, and while the internet can be kinda judgy, I don't have to endure the looks of pity, sympathy, disappointment, or concern through my screen.
Around about the time of the last post I put up (a couple of months preceding, actually), I was going through a significantly rough patch. My boyfriend of about four years and I had split (amicably) around April of last year, I had been unemployed for most of a year, not counting getting fired from a temp job around the same time I lost the boyfriend, and things were really getting to me. While I had a roof over my head and food to eat, I had no reliable transportation, and therefore no reliable means of obtaining a job or even pursuing any sort of hobbies outside of my house. I will never want for indoor entertainment; I love making things, and reading, and writing, and watching movies, but even these held little joy for me. It was very Curse of the Black Pearl, and I found myself drowning in apathy.
I am NOT an apathetic person, and I have spent most of my life, even after separating from the oppressive faith of my youth, having hope. There is always something to look forward to. There is always something new to discover. So much wonder in this universe, and there is so much we don't know.
But I despaired.
I looked at the wonder of life and the miracle that is this vast and unknowable universe and I thought, for the first time in my life, "What's the point?" I thought of how tiny and insignificant a thing the Earth is in the larger context, and again how tiny and insignificant I am upon its face, and I could see no way that anything I could ever possibly do could make any sort of impact, positive or negative.
I don't honestly know what hurt more: the despair, or the disappointment in myself for losing hope. I felt like the most useless lump of wasted space, and I hated myself for feeling that way. Every rational thought in my mind told me that I was being overly emotional, that I was just down because of stupid, temporary life things, and that I could make it better. For every rational thought, there was an opposite and even louder voice rationalizing why everything was, in essence, ruined forever. I couldn't do the jobs I needed to do to make money and live because I have ADHD, which keeps me from being as effective as I otherwis be. I couldn't do the jobs I love and want to do because I didn't have the money to get to auditions and things. Clearly, I wasn't good/driven/passionate/talented/dedicated/WHATEVER enough to manage to do absolutely anything to get where I wanted, which obviously meant that I didn't deserve that happiness.
God, I write it all down now and it seems so stupid. My ex (with whom I am still very good friends) saw a little of my suffering and strongly recommended I seek help. More rationalizations followed, detailing why I couldn't.
Few people knew how bad it was. I am an actor, after all. But at the worst of it, I couldn't handle talking about myself at all. Like, people, just being courteous, would ask me "how are you" and it was everything I could do to keep up the mask.
But this is how it diverges from clinical depression. My circumstances changed and I got through it. I got a steady job, which brought with it a steady paycheck, a new place to live, and then even a car. You don't even know how big a deal that car is to me. I ended up needing a little bit of help from a friend to actually get it and drive it off the lot, simply because a stupid ticket depleted the savings I'd managed, but I was able to pay him back for that in a matter of a couple of weeks. Other than that, that car is completely in my name, and I didn't have to get anyone else's help just to get the loan. It is huge for me, and I can't be happier with it.
And that's the thing. People with clinical depression suffer, regardless of how well things are going. I have only suffered like that twice that I can remember. They were the only two times in my life that suicide was even a thought in my mind. LET'S BE CLEAR. I am not now nor have I ever been truly suicidal. But it's a testament to the darkness of my state that I even thought of how much simpler it would be to just stop. I am the most stubborn, mule-headed, persistent pain in the ass most of the time, so giving up is just not part of my life. Quitting is for the weak, the lazy, and the entitled. I am NOT a quitter. Dammit.
I did get through it, though. My life turned around, and I moved forward. When I think about that time, it still hurts a little. Granted, it hasn't even really been six months yet, so I think that's fair. And I think it will always sting a bit. But I'm kind of okay with that. Looking back at how miserable I was reminds me of the things I need to do to avoid being there again. I have to stay occupied. I have to have some sort of gainful employment. I have to have a car. And I have to have a performance outlet.
Looking forward, I really need to get better at keeping track of when auditions are for things in which I want to be involved. This year, I completely missed the Shakespeare In The Park auditions by, like, a month, because I'd totally forgotten about it in the fog of "get a job, keep a job, get a car, keep a car, don't fuck up." I'm getting to a point of stability, so hopefully I can find something that will scratch that itch for me as well as fattening my portfolio.
Things aren't where I want them yet, but I have hope. And that's really what's important.