Adults in their hoods, Ep. 4: Depression
In this episode, I speak with Richard, my childhood friend and one of the most talented writers that I have experienced with their work. Richard is a brilliant freelance writer, with the most impeccable taste in music. In this post, he talks about his struggle with depression for the past seven years and how life, in general, has been overwhelming for him. He’s such a “hard guy” and to be honest, I don’t know how I convinced him to share his story with me. I’m just really glad that he did and that I can share with you. I hope you’ll enjoy reading as much as I did!
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Have you been diagnosed to be clinically depressed or it’s solely based on your own diagnosis?
Richard: It is based on my own diagnosis and I am sure about it. I don’t think a mental health professional could tell me otherwise.
You once mentioned how the happiest people are there for others but suffer alone when it’s their turn because they have no one to talk to. Can you tell me a bit more about how that relates to you?
Richard: I derive so much joy from helping people who have, in one way or the other, found themselves in difficult situations. Not to toot my own horn, but I could say that I am one of the best listeners around. Also, being an empath, I get to feel with people. If I have to describe how this saying relates to me, I would give an example of what I mean.
This year alone, I can count up to 7 people that I have been there for when they have gone through a difficult patch in their relationships. I tried my best to stick around through their hurting and healing phases because I feel that it’s the right thing to do. Each time I talk to them, I ensure that we end up having something to laugh about just so they can feel better about their situation. Now, fast forward to when my own relationship recently ended abruptly and guess how many people have extended that grace to me? No one.
The closest I have gotten to compassion is probably them laughing at my situation and saying casual things like, “oh, you have also now been served your breakfast!”. Of course, I laugh alongside but deep down, I want someone to ask me how I am feeling on the inside. Someone to ask me how the break-up is affecting me and how I can start to move on. However, I think because I am mostly perceived as the happy person, they think these things can’t touch me.
Very recently, life was so overwhelming that I found myself ranting on a WhatsApp group chat. It was very intense but no one took me seriously. One of my friends even went as far as saying something like, “I was worried for a minute but then again, it is you. You’re probably joking and laughing your ass off while you type these out”. I wasn’t joking but that’s what they thought. And as soon as I saw that message, I proceeded to lock up my feelings yet again. Because obviously, I don’t want to be perceived as a downer. I am not mad at my friends because of this though. If anything, I am grateful for the fact that I go through things alone which inevitably makes me stronger.
How long have you been depressed?
Richard: It all started when I lost my mother 7 years ago. Her demise almost pushed me over the ledge and I lost interest in many things. I lost my faith, the will to live, and the will to go on. I thought that nothing was worth it if the one person that I had to do it for was no more. She laboured over me so that I could become somebody but then she died and it felt pointless trying to hustle for someone that I would never be able to repay.
Eventually, I managed to drift away from that dark place but nothing ever remained the same. Ever since, whenever I hit life roadblocks, I find myself tumbling down that path that I left ephemerally. It’s why I always try to laugh about everything and stay grounded because I know that the moment that I start to stress about my life is the same moment that the darkness starts to swallow me up again. It does happen, of course as I often don’t have control over it. When it happens, I spend weeks in that void until I can manage to breathe again. It’s been an endless cycle.
What are your struggles like? What depresses you?
Richard: Life, in its entirety, depresses the hell out of me. Sometimes, I sit back and ask myself what the purpose of living is. Why are we alive? What are we doing on earth? I find the thought of struggling to attain what we want in life depressing. The thought of never breaking free from the struggle, never attaining greatness as we so desire. The thought of not getting to where I have envisaged I would be at a certain age and the thought of eventually breaking through but dying in the end. Living depresses me.
Do you think societal expectations have contributed to your depression?
Richard: Honestly, I don’t think so. Expectation of others never pressures me. If that was the case, I probably would be more depressed than I ordinarily am. I look around and see my peers doing great things and I admire that. Although I may think for a minute or two about how I should also be doing that well, it doesn’t pass that. I am genuinely happy for my friends when they do well because I find it inspiring. I don’t think societal expectations contributes to my condition that much.
What do you do to move past your depressive episodes when they happen?
Richard: Listen to music. Music is my biggest companion, it keeps me afloat. Sometimes, I write until I can channel some of the negative energy into some productivity. However, I still listen to music while I do that. It’s what I use to re-up my motivation for living.
Do you think you will feel better someday? Also, do you have a plan towards that, perhaps, seeing a professional?
Richard: I think I probably will feel better someday if I ever move on to a better place in life. Although, I understand that there are several others like me in this type of situation who may never get better. Maybe I may not also be lucky enough. Thinking about these things brings forth questions like, “Is this the plan?, is this why we were created? For some to suffer while others rejoice?”. I keep asking what the purpose of life is and I haven’t found a worthy answer. Regarding seeing a professional for my condition, I am not sure how that may help my situation. The best they can possibly do is look for ways to talk me out of my misery which I don’t think would last for a long period.
If you spoke to your 19-year old self, what would you tell him?
Richard: I would tell him it’s not worth it. None of this is worth it. I am not suicidal, though. I promise.
Wanted to end this post like I usually do but I thought to add a quick editor’s note to this one. In the words of a TV character, “the world is always on fire”, and to be honest, it probably would be until the end of time. You don’t have to take a front seat all the time especially when you find that you are constantly burnt out from all of it. If you think that you might be depressed and would like to seek help, you might find it useful to reach out to the good guys at mentallyaware or check out supportline for a list of agencies that offer support. Wishing you well! 🤍
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