For the last few weeks, I've been struggling with what I stubbornly refer to as a "deep funk". I picked up the name while going through counseling, and I'm not sure why. Maybe it was because I felt like what I had going on wasn't depression, or maybe because the word sometimes seems overused. Maybe I didn't want depression to define me because I'm much more than a diagnosis. But "deep funk" seems to describe it pretty well for me.
These deep funks come and go. Sometimes they only last a few hours, sometimes they can last a month or more. I don't have a good way of predicting when one is gonna show up, and I have no idea how long it'll be until it leaves.
Now like many people, I've tried to rationalize with myself. I've compared my circumstances to others, I've looked at all of the good things in my life, and I've tried to reason my way out of the deep funk. When I look at my situation, I have it pretty good. I'm a recent college graduate, I have a loving and supportive family, I enjoy my job, and my wife and I have started hanging out with people.
Well all of that sounds fine and dandy. So what do I have to be sad about?
The short answer is that I don't know. There are a lot of changes going on in my life, and maybe there's a whole bunch of stuff bundled with those changes. I have no clue.
You see, sometimes depression isn't necessarily tied to one specific event. Sometimes it's a knotty, chaotic tangle of events connected to other events with their own knots, and mixed in with all that stuff are the different ways we've been conditioned, cultural and religious norms and expectations, genetics, personality types, relationship dynamics, past trauma, unresolved feelings, the list goes on and on.
Sometimes there isn't anyone or anything to blame. Sometimes there are no good reasons or even reasons at all. And that can be incredibly frustrating because sometimes there is no "quick fix".
And because I haven't found out why I'm trapped in this deep funk, I decided to write about my feelings rather than let them sit in my chest and weigh me down. I've also included some of my favorite "I'm sad so I'm going to listen to sad music to make myself even sadder than I was before" songs in case you're also feeling sad and would like to feel sadder than you currently do.
"Hey there, deep funk.
It's been awhile but not nearly long enough. I'd say I hope you're doing well, but I would much prefer that you didn't exist. I know that's harsh, but it's the truth.
I don't know why you choose to ambush me the moment I get in my car to go home. I don't know why you feel like you need to make my throat choke up and my eyes water when I least expect it. I don't know why you wait outside my door, looking for the next time I'm alone.
The most frustrating thing about you is that I can't predict when you'll visit me next. It doesn't seem to matter whether I'm in the middle of a good day or not, you show up regardless. You are easily one of the worst houseguests in the history of houseguests.
I have sat with you for hours, attempting to understand what caused you to visit me this time. You've kept me up late and woke me up early. Some days I've held myself together out of sheer spite, out of stubbornness and an unwillingness to burden others with my problems, and sometimes just because if I talk about you I'll cry and I'm not a fan of crying.
I've been forced to adapt to this new reality of having you in my life. I didn't ask for you. I've fought with you, although not nearly as long or as hard as many other people. You're a real pain to deal with. I hope that one day you won't darken my doorstep any more.
But I've learned ways to work around you. I've learned how to analyze you, I've learned how to talk with people about you, and I've learned that sometimes I just have to let you be.
I've learned that I am no less of a person because of you, and that I don't have to let you define me.
Because of you, I realized I needed help and I actually went out and got it. Because of you, I've become a better communicator and a better empathizer. And because of you, I've discovered a lot of things about myself that might have been buried for years.
So thank you, I guess. Maybe next time let's take it easy on the waterworks and the sleep interference, okay?
Now as promised, here are some of my favorite songs that make me feel emotionally vulnerable. You can also check out my playlist on Spotify.
This one is from the RiME video game soundtrack. If you play video games, this one is definitely worth playing or learning more about.
This is one of my all-time favorite songs. I love everything about it.
It's Death Cab For Cutie. I mean, come on.
Remember: it's not weak to ask for help. If you are struggling, please reach out. You may try to justify not seeing a counselor because "my problems aren't that bad" or "I don't want to take up a spot that someone else needs more" or "I don't deserve to be happy" or "I'm too far gone, no one can help me". The truth is this: everyone deserves to be happy and healthy. No one is too far gone; there is always hope and a real possibility of happiness. You, your feelings, and your problems are all valid. You matter. You deserve to get the help you need.
Don't wait until it's too late to get help - you don't need to suffer a breakdown to go to counseling. You don't need to attempt suicide to go to counseling. You don't need to suffer in silence; you don't need to wait until you have to be hospitalized.
If you need help, get it. For resources and more information, To Write Love On Her Arms has created an awesome tool you can use to find help in your area. Visit https://twloha.com/find-help/ or text the Crisis Text Line at 741741.