just another blurry face in the background
Do you ever feel like you're just taking up space? Like if you vanished, no one would notice the vacuum left? It sucks, right? It's hard to get up in the morning. You feel like everything you need to do takes too much energy, so you get the bare minimum done. By the time all of the necessities are taken care of, you're wiped out and all you can do is sit and feel sorry for yourself.
You get trapped in this vicious cycle of feeling sad and lonely, and because you're sad and lonely you don't have the motivation to do anything, but because you don't do anything, you're sad and lonely.
For me, this happened when I moved away to college.
Up until this point, I hadn't really experienced depression. Sure, I had been through the hormonal chaos that is being a teenager. I had my fair share of traumatic experiences, my fair share of heartbreak and breaking hearts. I had borne witness to the highs and lows of teenage love, betrayal, and all that other crap.
It started out slow, like most things do. I found myself wanting to do less and less. I wasn't sleeping well, and I spent most of my free time in front of my computer. Fortunately, I had a cousin who came over almost every day and would hang out with me. He would become my link to getting outside the 7 block radius I lived in. I went to family functions with him, he taught me ultimate frisbee, and I fed him and kept him company.
A few weeks into my college experience, my girlfriend called me and broke up with me. Oddly enough, my cousin's girlfriend did the same on the same day. Boy, let me tell you, that was one emotional night. That was really the big thing that tipped my depression over the edge.
Even before my girlfriend dumped me, I was seriously struggling. I had isolated myself from most people; the only time I spent outside was traveling to and from class/work. I put on a façade at work and class, and as soon as I headed home I was engulfed by this emptiness. I started to feel like a waste of space, like no one would really miss me if I was gone.
In the final days of my failing relationship, I was getting desperate for attention. I had started feeling like my life wasn't worth living. I became convinced that I was just taking up valuable resources for other people; I wasn't worth the air I was breathing. I started to think about how I would end my life, although in hindsight I think I was too scared to die.
After the Big Boo-Hoo Fest of '09, I finally realized how unhealthy I was. I realized how bad the relationship was, how much of my depression was self-inflicted, and how badly I needed human interaction.
Looking back after all of those years, that was a huge turning point for me. I realized that despite my introverted personality and need for alone time, I needed regular human interaction. I needed meaningful connections with people. I couldn't stay boxed inside my house, living my life in between the ones and zeroes of the internet.
I also will never forget how I felt. How sometimes I felt like I was barely holding myself together. How I wished I could just melt into the sidewalk, or just not wake up at all. I think about how empty and alone I felt, even on a crowded college campus.
I think back on that period of my life a lot, and it scares me that I was that depressed. I use that period of time as a reminder that I can never let myself get that bad again. I've worked hard at it, and I don't always do a good job, but I'll take the occasional misstep over feeling like that again.
So what's the point of this post, besides telling you about one of the darkest times in my life?
Well, all of this has been dredged up in recent years because of counseling and because of one song in particular.
The first time I heard the song "Regret" by The Lulls In Traffic, I was hooked. I've written about these guys before, but I can't get enough of their music. It's sad and real, and melancholy, and different, and I identify with it down to my bones. Check it out below.
"Now I'm draped in the foam of salty seas with waves that choke / This damn disease I know / It makes me dream of better histories glittering with gleaming gold / I wish I could take it all back / Every mistake, every thought that I ever had / Erased and gone in the morning fog in a flash"
There's one line in particular that really hit home for me. "I'm just another blurry face in the background of someone's home video". I mean, jeez. JEEZ. Hit it right on the head.
If you ever feel this way or have felt this way, tell me about it. Listen to this song - these dudes have been there and they understand. Tell a friend or family member about it. Tell them how you're feeling. Let them into your life.
If you don't have a friend or family member you feel comfortable confiding in, then see a counselor. Use the crisis text line. See if your community has any resources available for you to use. Check out the heartsupport wall here.
Join a positivity group on social media or in your community. If there isn't one, start one. If there is, get active in there. Our greatest strength as humans lies in our social nature and our willingness to band together over shared experiences. I'm in a group called the Wholesome Squad on Facebook, and the members of that community are THERE for each other, man. Despite language barriers and time differences, they all step up to help each other out.
There are so many people willing to provide support. You just need to take the first steps and be willing to be a little vulnerable.
Sure, it sucks admitting that you need help. It can be hard. Trust me, I know - any time I have to admit that I'm not okay I start tearing up and my throat starts closing in and my chest gets tight. Being vulnerable BLOWS.
But by being vulnerable, by letting those in who are important to us, we allow them to understand what we're going through. They don't have to guess where our head is at. And by letting them know what we're going through, we give them the tools that they need to help us get through our sad times. We're not going to be perfect at it, and neither are they. But how can we expect them to read our minds when maybe we don't even know what we're thinking?
If you're reading this and you're feeling down, I'm sorry. It sucks to be there, and there's not a lot of things I can say to take that away. What I can say is that I've been there, and more than likely a lot of your friends and/or family have been there too. You'll get through this, and for whatever reason you choose, you'll be happy you pushed through it.
Even if it's just out of spite.
Thanks for reading,