Saturday, January 3, 2015

Voices in the Black Tunnel- Battles with Depression

A year has come. Yet I don't feel to delighted at the prospect of facing three hundred and sixty five more days. 2015 doesn't fill me with hope. I know have plenty to look forward to. I've only got two full months left until the school-year ends in Thailand and I complete a second year at PRC. I will be studying for an advanced teaching certificate in March. Most likely I'll be student teaching at the school I graduated from. When that's over, I'll be flying back to the US for my younger sister's wedding. I've got new story and book ideas I want to invest in. I've worked on building these universes over this Christmas break. To top it all off, my parents came and celebrated the holidays with me.

I have much to be thankful for, much to look forward to. And yet for the past three days I've felt sadder, lonelier and more depressed than I have in a long time. Somehow negativity and cynicism keeps managing to snuff out the lights that end of the dark tunnel I find myself stumbling through. I know what's happening to me. I've been here many times before. Yet somehow that doesn't make it easier this time.

I've struggled with depression for most of my life. And while it's gotten easier for me to deal with my self-hatred there are some times when I wonder if I'll ever be fulfilled. There are some days when I wonder if the voices are right. What if I have wasted my life? What if I have failed as a writer? What if no one can ever truly love me? What if I am a terrible teacher, brother, son, friend? What if I'm too stupid, abnormal, unattractive, unmotivated to do any of the things I want to? Would it be better if I died now?

In the center of this darkness, weakness doubt and loathing are all I feel. I am paralyzed by despair. As irrational as it might seem, I believe whole heartedly during these times that I am the only one on earth who has ever wrestled with the shadow. I try not to compare myself to others but I can't help it. Everything about me appears so small and pathetic compared to others. The lives of my friends and peers that I glimpse on Facebook look infinitely better than my own. My inferiority complex comes into play. I feel stuck and lost and imagine that no one else I know could possibly feel this. 'Everyone else has their lives figured out,' a voice in the tunnel spits at me, 'what the fuck is wrong with you, worthless cunt!'

Not surprisingly, the onslaught prompts me to think about death. Ending it all sometimes seem preferable to having to endure the voices. After a time, you take what they say to heart. You start to believe you have wasted yourself, that you are worthless, that there's no point in you going on.

For me, I've been fortunate enough to have been able to crawl my way to the end of the tunnel, to eventually find some light or have a dear friend with a lantern find me and pull me out. I've been fortunate to learn how to use cognitive techniques to find new voices to combat the dark ones. Yet finding definitive self-worth, learning to focus on myself and not others, and understanding that I am okay now, as I am, are still tough lessons to learn.

I will never rid myself of depression. I harbor no illusions that I will be completely free of my issues somewhere down the line. But each time I pass through the darkness and come out I feel a bit more prepared to face the next one. And that is something I can be proud of. Coming through the other side is something I can always look forward to.

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