When I was a young man, all I wanted was to get away from this place. Every time I return, I understand more and more that the thing I was running from was within my own heart. I was seeking escape not from my family, but from my own emotions. I was running from pain, from heartbreak, from the fog of depression and self-loathing which surrounded me in that time and that place.
That was ten years ago. It’s tough to be a teenager.
Depression is a difficult topic to speak about, but not for the reasons you might think. When you’re depressed, you sink into a kind of nothingness that makes accurate recollection difficult. You cease being a human, and you begin to slowly morph into nothingness residing in human flesh. A human-shaped nothing can’t accurately perceive anything, and the memories from time as a nothing can’t be recalled accurately.
Things are always rose-colored, looking back.
Depression is a slippery beast, however. It can infect your mind with blame, with hatred, with anger, with fear. You will start to believe that the people around you secretly hate you. You will start to hate yourself. Maybe you’ll think that if only you can get away from everything, things will start to get better. Maybe that’s true, but for me it wasn’t so simple.
Running away gave me perspective, but my problems followed me.
Sometimes distance is necessary to see the truth of things. It’s easy to blame someone else for your problems, but it’s much more difficult when your problems follow you to a new city. We’re forced to face the reality that we are responsible for ourselves. We have to accept that our own reality is what we make it.
We make our own reality, and depression causes us to create a reality that nobody would want to live in.
My current reality is a place of love and happiness and kind thoughts and feelings for my fellow man. I love my family. I have a wonderful girlfriend. I forgive myself when I make mistakes. Now, perhaps you think these things are external, but we must choose to see the love that exists in the world. Even if you are an orphan whose entire family has disappeared from the Earth, love is a powerful force for you.
When I was a teenager, I didn’t love anything.
I hated myself. The only thing I hated more than myself was everything else. Maybe it sounds stupid to read this, and I know it’s a cliche. But love is a powerful thing. Love brings kindness into the forefront of our lives. Love makes people see the humanity in each other. When we come home after a long time, we see the love that’s been there waiting for us all along.
We’re only human.