This entry is long overdue. It’s about as raw and personal as I’ve ever been. It terrifies me. It’s unnerving. But it’s necessary.
Since this time last year, I’ve been dealing with change. A little over a year ago, I found myself at the end of an era. I was graduating university. I had no real life plan, other than to just keep going. I had been accepted to the graduate program of my dreams at the Actors Studio Drama School. It was the only thing keeping me going. And even at that, it was ultimately not enough.
While everything was going as well as it could on the surface, my mental stability was suffering. I found myself drowning in stress, inadequacy, and indifference. There were weeks on end that I couldn’t gather myself enough to drag myself to the train downtown to my morning classes. I felt useless. I felt physically ill. I was fighting the actual cause of my downfall: depression. But, being the person I am, I chose to ignore it. I chose to just push through.
I ignored it for as long as I could. I tried to to show up, only to do so half-assed. Then, one Monday morning not long before Thanksgiving, I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I woke up in a cold sweat, unable to breathe or think for myself. It was that day that I gave myself a couple options. Option 1 was easy. I could’ve just ended it all. Sit down in my bathtub and allowed myself to bleed out until I didn’t feel anything. But I knew this wasn’t what I really wanted. So, I took my panic and my fear and I called my best friend to say I was on my way to Lennox Hill Hospital to seek help. I was thrown from department to department that day. I went from the psychiatric ward to the security desk and ultimately to the emergency room, where I was finally seen by a clinician after an hour and a half. After describing to her the feelings of hopelessness, defeat, and my overall sense of apathy, she diagnosed me on the spot with severe depression. I had been abusing my anxiety meds and beyond abusing alcohol as a coping mechanism. It was all I knew. But this day, I felt that I had to change. My friends, my family, my Cohort at ASDS, they were all relying on me. So, I picked up what little was left and took myself back to Harlem.
Cut to today. I saw multiple therapists and psychiatrists. All of them had left me feeling like I was just one of many. I tried to go to classes, but the medication made me sicker. I couldn’t make it more than two subway stops on an A Express train without feeling nauseous. When I made it to class, I was exhausted. My social life was non-existent, my performance at work was barely acceptable, and at the end of the day, all I had was my broken person to go home to.
So I opted to fix it. I moved home in January to try to get back on track. For fuck’s sake, I wasn’t done at all. I’d gotten to where I wanted to be. So after being home for a few months, I thought I was okay. So I stopped taking my meds. I stopped going to therapy. I just stopped. I felt fine. Then, within two weeks, I was back at the bottom. My alcohol consumption was out of control. I was right back where I started, despite all the “work” I’d put in. And then it got worse.
I won’t disclose too much here. If anyone knows what’s been going on, they’ll know specifics. I’ve become a monster. I’ve relied too much on my old vices to help me fix it. I’ve been a bad friend. I’ve been an asshole. To everyone. I’ve been distant and irritable. I’ve been untrustworthy. I’ve been a mess. And now, I’m left with few options to get back on track.
I’d be lying to say the thoughts of suicide haven’t crossed my mind. But I also know now that I have too many other things to do before I go. I’ve fucked up beyond words. I’ve let so many people down. They’re forgiveness is not something I expect to happen overnight. But I also have to begin by working on myself first. Therefore, from this entry on, I will focus on making sure that I can help myself first. To those of you whom I have hurt, I am so so sorry. Beyond words. Your forgiveness is not expected.
But let this also be a testament to mental illness. For years, “It Gets Better” has been applied to bullying of LGBTQA+ youth. I personally project this notion onto those of us – regardless of sexuality- who are living with depression. Find something to keep you going, even for one more day. Because we all have our story.
And I am far from done with telling mine.