One of the first signs that depression hasn’t completely released its hold on your life is if everything seems difficult, from the smallest of tasks, such as brushing one’s teeth, to bigger jobs, like applying for courses and making grown-up purchases. For me, it’s as if my brain has become, after the depressive episode, stuck in a kind of rut. In the past, I used to be able to write words and sentences with ease; now, they trip and stumble over each other on their way from my brain to the page, heavy and loaded with insecurities. When before I used to be able to immerse myself in fictional world for hours on end, now I find it a stretch to even write one scanty page of fiction a day.
It’s as if my mind has blacklisted, without asking me, all the tasks that I once found fun and enjoyable, and have now made them unbearable chores. It’s one of the reasons why I find it highly unlikely I’ll get published in my lifetime at this rate—not if even the writing of words sends me down a crazy spiral of despair! And to make matters worse, this lack of motivation and energy stretches to all domains of one’s life. Not only do I find the prospect of applying for my Diploma of Nursing next year complicated and unbearable, but I also find the very idea of finding a significant other and settling down and having a family an immense chore in the future, which, if I do manage to attain it, will require only more hard work and sweat and blood and tears. Laziness isn’t the reason for this—if that were the case, all I had to do was give myself a good talking to—but something more, a lassitude and lethargy of the soul, that makes all of existence as boring and monotonous as pushing pebbles up a hill with your fingers.
I feel terribly tiny and insignificant a lot of the time, and it is not a nice feeling. Sometimes, what I feel is anxiety—fear of homelessness, of not having food to eat or a roof over one’s head—but other times it’s this blank loneliness, wherein I feel myself to be little more than a speck of dust on the wind. In a sea of billions, I am nothing, and whether I live happily or miserably, die early or late, it matters little to the world, to the universe. Perhaps God, if He exists, cares, and a handful of people on the planet, but other than that, you and I, each and everyone of us, are tiny ants crawling across the surface of the planet, going about our daily lives, with our small cares and worries. Inevitably such thinking leads me back down into a state of depression, and I try to claw myself out of it by reminding myself that I am a miracle, and a part of nature and the Universe just like any other organism.
Life is hard. I think it’s hard because humans don’t really know what we want, and when we do get what we want, we often find we do not like it. Everything seems better when seen through the lens of “in-the-future”, but when that particular future becomes the present, we find that whatever we wanted–a family, a car, a house, a better job–actually makes life just as mundane and ordinary as when we didn’t possess it. And that’s the problem—after this depressive episode, I don’t know who I am or what I want anymore. At the moment, my only goal is to study so that I can eventually find a job and support myself financially, and that in itself will be a large mountain to surmount, but after that? Or during it? What do I want? Now that I no longer have the prospect of becoming a fiction writer in my life, I am left adrift, my identity scattered and broken. And I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to put myself back together again.