I don't have everything I want in my life.
Last week I got pretty low and started thinking again about how much time I've wasted not doing or finishing things. Where could I be now if I had just pulled myself together and did what I planned to do? How much better could my life be now?
I started to feel like a failure looking back on all the opportunities I've had to really dig my heels in and get to work before now. All the unfinished projects, the days and sleepless nights making lists and plans that I just couldn't figure out how to stick with after a good night's rest, and the weeks of actual productivity that formed a stable habit of getting things done that blew away in the hurricane of the next depression just weighed on my soul. Again. That feeling, that horrible feeling of worthlessness dragged me into the void and crushed me into pieces.
But I just couldn't accept that. Not this time.
The difference, honestly, was that no one was there to talk to. All my friends and loved ones were mired in their own difficult situations, with no time to help pull me out of mine. There was no lack of love or sympathy, and yet I still felt utterly abandoned. I wanted nothing else but for someone -anyone- to help me.
But no one was there.
After wallowing in self-pity for awhile, I came to terms with the fact that everybody is suffering. It wasn't just me, and it wasn't their fault I was depressed. I had to figure a way out of it on my own.
Now, you might be thinking I'm some super-spoiled brat that never had to do this before. I assure you, that is not the case. Up until ten years ago, I was constantly left to my own devices to pull myself out. Sometimes there would be a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen -for a moment. After that moment, everyone was all too willing to tell me what I was doing wrong and how to fix my problem. The pity was always short-lived and conditional; telling anyone my true feelings meant consenting to an open-season barrage of pot shots and advice (that to be frank, wasn't quite as helpful as they thought it was).
Ten years ago, I met a man that truly gave me that shoulder to cry on and the ear to listen to my thoughts and feelings without the additional guilt-inducing struggle after. It's true, though, that I may have gotten a bit spoiled during that time. I had never experienced anything like it; someone that would listen and console me, while telling me I was doing the best I could? That it really was ok that I failed, and I can grieve my failure without the need to justify what I did? That seemed impossible. I had never even dreamed of such an experience.
It's been a long, long time since I got as low as I did last week. Years, in fact. So long, I had almost forgotten being that low before.
Having the experience of knowing someone believed in me unconditionally was what really guided me through. The knowledge that I can try and fail and still be loved picked me up and got me searching, even in the midst of my depression. Inspired by years of memories just like that when he had the time and energy to help me through to the other side, I started looking for my next project.
This didn't happen at random, though. It wasn't as if I was able to conjure up those memories on my own by "positive thinking," or some mantra. No, the trigger came from a very unlikely source: my often troubled friend, Amanda.
There she was, for the brief time she had before she was called away to deal with her own struggles, trying to cheer me up. What made her an unlikely source was that the roles were reversed; I usually was the one rooting for her. Honestly, I expected talking to her was more likely to draw out her problems so I could focus on anything other than myself. But it didn't. Instead, she listened and boosted me up.
And then out of nowhere, she offered me a suggestion to try out.
It wasn't like advice or picking apart what I'd done wrong, but rather a new idea I hadn't considered. It wasn't helpful in and of itself (sorry, Amanda!), but knowing she believed in me enough to offer the idea triggered the memory of all those past moments I'd had the privilege to experience. She thought about an app she had been enjoying recently and believed in me enough to think "she could do that, easy. No question."
I took the idea and ran with it. Check out my next project here!
So it may not have been the idea she was trying to inspire, but I want to thank Amanda for helping to inspire my new direction (and let you know if you're interested, I may need someone to help proofread!).
The lesson I learned from all this is when life smacks you down hard, the best thing to do is remember to contact your crazy friends. Don't be afraid to share your weak moments with those you've helped in the past, because it's likely they've been waiting long enough to return the favor. That's what friendship is all about, right?
Thanks for stopping by! Until next time, internet drifters!