//2 years later
It’s been about two years since I publicly came out as depressed. Well, more like a year and a half…but it’s been just over two years since I’ve started recovery–and the title “a year and a half later” just doesn’t roll off the tongue.
It started with a blog post I called “The D Word” — something I knew I had to post, but was deathly afraid to do. After weeks of building up the courage, I said, “I’m just going to do it.” I walked into my design class, pressed the publish button, and turned off my phone. The idea was to use the class to distract myself from the reactions of friends finding out that they didn’t know me as well as they thought they did, but it ended up being an hour and a half of me sitting in my own sweat. No really, my shirt was drenched in sweat and I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t any butt sweat left on my seat when I got up.
But when I turned my phone back on, the reactions I got were not the ones I were expecting.
They weren’t “but you’re so happy!” texts, but were “let me tell you how much you mean to me” and “you were able to say what I’ve been wanting to say for so long” texts.
And they kept pouring in.
Since then, I’ve gotten Facebook messages, written letters, Instagram DMs, tweets, and emails from different kinds of people all over the world that have been able to identify with my story but are still hiding it from their friends and family.
• • •
A lot has changed in the past two years:
I fell in love with the California coast. I started drinking coffee. I started taking a lot more pictures. I quit school. I spoke at a TWLOHA fundraiser. I’ve been criticized. I lived in LA for a month and was published by the LA Times. I read and wrote a lot. I began teaching myself to use Illustrator. I learned a lot about patience…the hard way. I moved to a city where I knew one person. And fell in love with the desert.
It’s been a whirlwind. And in this short period of time I feel like I’ve lived more than I ever have.
But somewhere along the way I numbed myself to what I went through. I mean, I lived it for sure; but it was so dark and heavy that I wanted to push past it and forget it ever happened.
A little bit ago I was reminded that this is still a battle I face. I pushed myself too hard and took too little care of myself. I was reminded of the battles I fought two years ago. I was reminded of the times I didn’t have the energy to get out of bed or get dressed. I was reminded of the burn of showering with open cuts on my arms and the pain of scabs breaking open.
This post is more of a reminder to myself that I went through some real shit–the same shit that a lot of people are still going through. To remind myself that it’s part of my story and has shaped who I am and who I will continue to become.
That’s why I talk about my depression.
It’s hard, though. I like my privacy and I’m not one to disclose personal stuff often. It doesn’t come naturally for me. I’m still trying to figure out how much is appropriate to share and how not to be “the guy that won’t shut up about his depression.” I don’t want my depression to be part of my brand–I want honesty to be a part of it–the good, the bad, all of it.
• • •
It’s still hard for me to turn my episodes into words and explain it to people that ask.
It’s still hard for me to explain my scars to strangers and kids in the family.
It’s still hard to explain to my boss and friends why I have to take a day off.
I still make “too soon” jokes about cutting and suicide to cope with the truth of my past.
But today, I’m alive. And I gathered the courage to wear a tank top to Home Depot. And that’s progress.