I have been absent for a long time.
It's funny, the way you don't realize the things you're into until you're knee-deep, struggling to lift your legs out of something like quicksand. I am probably neck-deep, at the moment.
I have realized that I am struggling with some of the worst depression that I've ever faced in my life, and I have been for some time - since shortly after I arrived in Utah. It's that thing you feel when you're walking alone at night and you turn behind you to make sure nobody is there, following you. It's looking at the mirror as you get ready for the day and then crying on floor because you don't recognize yourself and you're disconnected from this reflection, forgetting that they are a person who has a family that loves them and friends that miss them - and that that person is you. It's fatigue and hopelessness and apathy and isolation and things that you cannot pull yourself out of, no matter how hard you try.
That's the thing about depression - it takes you away from yourself. It insists that all of the things that you think about and that you hope for don't matter, and that it's silly to think that you can change. It tells you that you don't deserve to have good things happen or wonderful and caring relationships in your life - that you need to tuck yourself away and distance yourself so you won't be a burden to others. It robs you of the things that bring you joy, and provide meaning and passion. And it terrifies me personally because there is so much of my life that I feel like I cannot remember. It's like I wasn't even there for it at all, and I have to live it through the stories and memories of those that were with me.
I have a few friends and family members who know what I try to face everyday, and I am so grateful for them in my life. I also have people who don't know, and show up unexpectedly and turn out to be answers to questions that I never asked out loud. I believe the force behind them is intentional, and that they're following some sort of prompting, even if they don't realize it. I know that each time I decide to be brave and honest with someone, I receive similar stories in return. Maybe it doesn't always mirror my own, but it's incredible the sort of power that vulnerability has given us to turn away darkness.
And with each person that I confide in and that confides in me, I realize how freeing it is to say that we're not doing ok. Putting it all out there - the dark and scary things that would cause others to turn from you - has brought me closer to people. It helps me to forget about myself - to remember that we are all fighting something every day. Every day. More often than not, they're things that others cannot see, and because of this, we turn inwards and think as though we're the only one feeling the things that we do.
Jamie Tworkowski's book came out today. It was sitting by my front door when I came home from work, and I didn't know entirely what it was about before I ordered it, but I saw it and it felt important. I finished it in about two hours. Over and over again, Jamie stresses the fact that our stories do matter, and that we need other people. This has never been more clear to me.
I'm seeking help. It's taking a bit longer than expected, but I'm on my way. And wherever you are on your journey, I hope you're on your way to getting where you need to be.