An update: over the last couple days there has been an outpouring of support, and I am extremely grateful to everyone who has reached out to me. It will take me a while to catch up with everyone, and though I am fortunate enough to still have a full time job with some flexibility, the number of hours I have available means I have a new and welcome challenge. I’ve learned a lot recently; some things worth sharing:
- It’s clear that people care about me, and that’s pretty cool.
- I am not alone in my experience. It’s sad hearing about all the other people who say they’ve gone through similar things, but I appreciate the sharing. This is shitty; depression sucks.
- A lot of the guilt and shame I’ve felt about not keeping up with people, which has made it harder to try to reach out, has evaporated. It turns out it’s ok to say “dude, we haven’t talked in almost 15 years. What has happened in your life? Get me up to speed.”
- My friends are awesome! I’ve been missing out by not being more involved.
- I have successfully curated an image that has convinced other people that I’m put together and confident and busy, but that was a mistake on my part. I have been like every failed startup; make everybody think you’re doing great up until the moment you are out of runway and crash spectacularly. It turned out that vulnerability was the important part I should have been showing more of. Convincing everyone I was doing fine wasn’t getting me what I needed. I just had to ask for it.
- My life is pretty good right now. Talking to people and catching up I have been describing a pretty rosy situation in which I have a good job, a good house, and a good partner. Part of this is definitely my habit from the previous point leaking through, but there’s a lot of truth to it, too, and I find myself feeling guilty for being depressed. All the rock star movies portray a person who has it all still suffering depression, so I guess it can happen to anyone. Just like the rock stars, I had impossible expectations for myself and shallow connections and craved human connection.
- I still have a long way to go. The self-awareness and reaching out is a sign of an upward trend, but it’s a deep valley I’m in. I’ve taken some steps and have momentum, and I’m not doing this alone.
Thank you all.