MAny of you probably didn’t even know it was here. Others might think it is no big deal, everything under the sun seems to have a month, day, and/or colored ribbon or wristband to wear in support of its cause. Hey, I get it. You have your own problems, right? The thing is, I feel the same way. And I’m not here to rope you into anything, but since my admission here a while back about my own struggle, I’ve had some amazing feedback and support, not to mention a few people who now regularly check in just to see how I’m doing.
I didn’t make the admission for sympathy, nor did I do it for any sort of reaction. I did it because I realized how my generation tends to shove that stuff away. We are the “rub some dirt on it” generation. We tell people to “man up, buttercup” and other such things. I have been a huge critic of how there seems to be a pill for everything. When I was younger, the disruptive kid in class was simply seen as obnoxious. Now he has ADD, ADHD..and any other collection of letters that the headshrinkers come up with. (Yep, I still call them that despite the fact that I see one every two weeks now…what can I say, old habits die hard.)
The thing is, I went into a depression a while back. No matter what I did, I never felt like it was good enough. I even considered tossing in the towel as a writer. I thought that I was wasting my time. I wasn’t loving it any more. That was when I realized things had gotten bad. Writing is something I have LOVED since I was ten or so years old. I used to tell my teddy bears a bedtime story. It was my passion, but it no longer made me happy. Nothing did. No, I wasn’t contemplating suicide, just giving up.
I wasn’t sleeping. I would wake up several times a night with my heart pounding and my limbs trembling because I was so anxious. I felt like a failure. Like I said, nothing was good enough. It got worse when I took a step I seldom allow myself to make: I made some friends. At least that had been the plan. But it blew up in my face. I’d opened myself up thinking that I could trust this new small circle that seemed to welcome me in. Let’s just say that it didn’t end well. I had people look me in the eye and then lie to me. I wasn’t sure what was worse, my failure to get the correct read off these people and keep them at “acquaintance” status, or the feeling of betrayal.
I threw up my old walls, but that also sent me down a dark path. My own self-worth had been dictated by others. I’d trusted and been deceived. That coincided with a slump in book sales that had me doubting myself as a writer. I didn’t even allow myself to consider how long it had been since I’d had a new release ( 6 months!).
It finally reached a point and Denise asked me if I would at least consider seeing a counselor. I finally relented, but I went into it ready to point and scream “WITCH!”. I decided to really set the table on the first session. I dumped everything on the floor and pointed, saying, see…there isn’t a thing you can do about any of that. That was when I found out that it isn’t a counselor’s job to do anything. They get you to squeeze the poison from your system, and then point you down a few paths that might make your personal journey a bit easier. Oh…and they listen.
In a social media-driven world, our communication skills have taken a big hit. We don’t talk, and worse…we seldom listen. The Millennials might be a bit too touchy-feely for my generation’s tastes, and I still have a problem with everybody getting a participation trophy, I think learning to lose is a life lesson lost on that generation. But I will give them credit for being more in touch with their feelings. I think every generation evolves in that department. We are leaps ahead of our parents, and now, our children are ahead of us in that realm.
If you are feeling like everything is hopeless, maybe you just need to talk to somebody. I’m just starting this journey, and I still have a long road ahead. But I am committed to taking those steps. How can I feel so lucky, yet be overwhelmed with hopelessness and feelings of little to no self-worth? Maybe I will find out. Or, maybe I will learn how to manage the negativity better. Who knows? Not me, but I look forward to finding out.
I want to wrap this up with something personal to a few of you. To those who have checked in and asked how I am…thank you. Your words have meant the world to me. To those who reached out and said they had the same feelings and now felt like they could explore a few possibilities, remember what I said in my reply, and I will always be here to talk. In this moment, I’m not a writer…I’m just like you. Honestly, I always have been. I still scratch my head when you ask for a book to be signed or want to take a picture. TW Brown is the writer, I’m just Todd. And like you, I’m trying to figure this out.