2010 was quite a year. I began it feeling relatively okay, then over the next few months I gradually deteriorated to the point where I was in the deepest despair I have ever been in. I reached the point where I basically wanted to die, where not waking up would have been perfectly okay by me. How did I get to that point?
It was a combination of things. Loneliness, lack of purpose, feeling like a failure, self-loathing, a bunch of other stuff, plus the minor issue of having a giant hole at the core of my being that nothing could fill. Living in a country where I have never really felt comfortable didn’t help either – but then again, I was never that comfortable back in Australia either.
I’m writing this on New Year’s Eve, alone at home as the minutes tick closer to midnight. Last year I also spent New Year’s Eve at home, but then I felt so utterly lonely and abandoned. I desperately needed company, but at the same time, I know now that if I had received that company, it wouldn’t have really have done what I wanted it to. No one can save us except for ourselves.
Over the course of this year I did so many things to try and improve my state of mind. I started reaching out to people more, and came to realize that other people I know have fought – and are still fighting – the same battles against depression that I face. This helped me feel a bit less alone in my misery. And I also finally realized that only people who have been down these roads can really understand. Demanding understanding and help from those who have not been there themselves can end with incomprehension and frustration on both sides.
Blogging definitely helped. I am a creature of habit, and having a self-imposed deadline to write something of significance once a week was good, and it bought me into contact with so many people online that I have learned many things from – Wendy, Takashi, CID, Susan, Jen, Snowbrush, 4-Lorn, In The Pink, and many more.
I also started forcing myself to get out of the house and start taking part in more social activities and exercise. These started to give me a little more of a social outlet, and also provided a sense of purpose, a way to connect with the world around me.
I began to realize that my struggles paled into insignificance when compared to some of the larger issues out there. And while ignoring my own state is not useful, taking part in other struggles, working on other projects to help people other than myself was good for me and somewhat beneficial for the world around me.
As for the self-loathing and feelings of being a failure, they are still there. But the realization that choice is largely illusory, and that we are all doing the best we can, has done a lot to dispose of the feelings of “should” that has beaten me into the ground for a long time.
Things are not perfect. They never will be. But I have come a long way in the last year. So bring it on 2011. I’m ready for you!