Sunday, September 26, 2010


The last few years of my life have been particularly difficult. I have endured depression, anxiety, and loneliness so severe that there have been times I would almost have preferred that life not go on. I have longed to find a sense of belonging with others and acceptance of myself. So far, I have not succeeded.

I have been through three particularly nasty bouts of depression, in 2007, 2009, and 2010. This year was by far the worst, and while I am much better than I was a few months ago, I am still not entirely out of the woods. I suspect that I never will be.

The thing which hurts the most is loneliness. This has long been an issue for me, but it has only intensified as the years have passed. In the past I have tended to blame others and the world for my woes, but after a certain point I realized that I am the constant. I think that people are ultimately drawn to those who they feel will benefit them in some way, and unfortunately that rarely seems to be me. There seems to be something broken about me, and people realize this, and keep their distance.

That is the hand I’ve been dealt. I do the best I can. I would love to be sociable, always friendly, optimistic and happy. But it just isn’t in me. I cannot pretend to notice how unwanted I am and put on the cheery face that is apparently needed. My continual failure to be able to make and maintain real and meaningful connections is agony, and making it through each day is a struggle. I can’t pretend otherwise.

But I can take it. Despite how bad the depression, anxiety, and loneliness gets, I manage to endure. And eventually it lessens. Each time I learn a little bit more about myself. Each time I get a little bit tougher. Each time I am forced to find a little more strength within myself – and I do.

We all face many struggles in life. Regardless of our age, income, family situation, political beliefs, nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation, or health status, we all face different battles on a daily basis. We often face them alone, without the support that we would have in a perfect world. But this world is very far from perfect.

Through watching the Clint Eastwood movie, I recently became aware of the English poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley. The word itself means “unconquered”, and it is a poem about self-mastery despite difficult circumstances. The author had his leg amputated at age 12, and the poem inspired Nelson Mandela during the 27 years he was imprisoned. It is a truly inspiring poem. And while I am no Nelson Mandela, like the poem says, my head is bloody, but unbowed.

Despite everything, I am, and will remain, unconquered.


  1. I can completely empathise with you about the feeling of loneliness and sense of belonging. Although I agree that its usually our fault why we can't make/keep real connections I think the reason for this is more due to self confidence/liking who you are than it is to being broken as you say. Feeling inadequate can have many unexpected repercussions without even realising it. You seem quite positive towards the end of your post and I wonder if perhaps you should put some of that positivity into your feeling of loneliness. Changing what you can and accepting what you can't is something I've been trying to practice but it can be difficult to know which is which. I don't know your circumstances but perhaps you need to change your feeling of not being beneficial as this blog is proof you can be (I have learnt quite a few things from reading your posts) and accept that your not always going to be able to be optimistic and happy and believe that this doesn't have to mean your prevented from making meaningful connections.

  2. Loneliness is painful enough and even amplified I believe when there's a mental disorder involved. I know exactly of what you speak and your insight and courage, D.R. is the fire that's keeping you going. Whenever I think about not wanting to live anymore because it's just too damn much, I always remind myself that it's not that I want to stop living, it's the pain I want to stop. I would never kill myself for multiple reasons, but it IS a struggle every day to wake up and feel so alienated and alone. I keep coming back to the thought of finding a meaning and purpose to endure, much like Nelson Mandela did with his enslavement and Henley with the loss of a limb. It is so important for you to remember to keep connecting with others when you feel safe enough even though the wounds of the past may keep opening up. A small step at a time...

  3. I just found your blog and am happy to find a fellow reader in the blog world. I love Sandman comics and am an avid reader of other crap.

    On to your post....I guess in a way I will feel benefit from you as a blog buddy but also I hope you can benefit from me. I have been in the depths of depression (I am bipolar)and it is a lonely place. A stagnant listless void of empty isolation. I am sorry you are in that place. I wish I could shake you out of it. Instead all I can offer is support and enthusiasm for literature in all it's unedited forms. Death to censorship long live freedom of the press.

  4. This part was interesting:

    "I would love to be sociable, always friendly, optimistic and happy. But it just isn’t in me. I cannot pretend to notice how unwanted I am and put on the cheery face that is apparently needed."

    Do you really want to be sociable, always friendly, optimistic and happy? Or is that just what we've been conditioned to think of as the ideal person? So you put on the happy face and try to please, and in turn aren't pleased yourself.

    Maybe you're just anti-social, unfriendly, pessimistic, and generally unhappy inside, and instead of letting it show you cover it up like a nasty little secret and try to be someone you aren't. Good lord, think of a world where everyone was bubbling with joy and smiling all the time. It would be a nightmare world! There wouldn't be any books. F*ck it. It's okay to be who you are. If people don't like it, f*ck them.

  5. Thank you all for your ideas and advice. At the moment, life is a thing to be endured, rather than something to be lived and enjoyed. I really hope that this isn't all I have to look forward to. But each day is another chance, and I'll keep slugging away at it as best I can.

  6. I was feeling a bit low when I responded to this post last week, so I thought I might respond again, in a bit more detail.

    Yes, changing what we can and accepting what we can't is a good idea. Unfortunately, it is an idea that is a lot easier in theory than in practice. But always keeping it in mind is probably a good first step.

    You are right about not wanting life to stop, but wanting the pain to stop. Sometimes it can be tough to separate the two things. But as bad as it gets, the pain always ends eventually. Like someone wise once said, this too shall pass..

    In the Pink:
    Thanks for your kind wishes. Sandman was really great, wasn't it? Gaiman really produced an amazing body of work with that series. Books of one kind or another have helped me through some rough times, and I'm sure they'll help me through more in the future.

    That's an interesting perspective, and you may well be right. Sometimes I get along with people quite well, and other times I mess everything up. I have been more or less happy inside at times, but most of the time I am basically not so happy. Perhaps accepting that might be a way forward, not to happiness, but to at least some level of contentment. This merits further thought.