When I started Tra(n)veling Man, the evil voice of Depression whispered in the back of my mind, “Why bother starting something you know you’re not good enough to finish?” But I was at a point in my life where my mind was on an upswing, so I did the right thing and pushed on. I did pretty well for a while; I managed to write pieces that I am truly proud of, and that made me feel like I was accomplishing something. Then, my brain fell through a trap door and my soul slipped right down after it. There was no warning, no way of heading it off…it’s chemistry and when it happens, it happens.
I’ve been fighting with pretty serious depression my entire life. I remember being about 6 or 7 years old when I started going to a child psychiatrist. Of course, it must be acknowledged that EVERYONE can benefit from talk therapy, not just people who are actively depressed/have some other mental health issues. But I, at that age, was unfortunately experiencing some intense life changes and that, mixed with brain chemistry, sent me down a path that I would continue to hop on and off throughout my life.
I posted a few months ago about Katherine Schreiber’s article in Psychology Today about why Trans* people tend to struggle with more mental health issues. I want to point out that my depression and all of the negative experiences I have inside my head are 99% NOT about my gender identity….for which I am very grateful. I do have some struggles day to day, especially when it comes to feeling like I have to “measure up” against cismen, but I rationally know that that makes absolutely zero sense. My insecurities are just that: insecurities in general, but sometimes they choose to nitpick my gender identity just for fun.
I let my depression take control of me this time. The past few months have been the hardest months of my life, filled with self-loathing, self-doubt, a loss of focus and feeling like my future was a giant hopeless void just waiting for me to fall right in. I stopped writing. I stopped being as outgoing and friendly as I once was. I’ve been quick to anger and have begun treating my girlfriend like a stranger. But that’s because I became a stranger to myself. And yes, though I have spoken out about this to others in this position in the past, I felt shame. I felt like I couldn’t talk about it, like I had to DO SOMETHING..TRY HARDER…STOP BEING WEAK. But all that did was hurt the people I love, most of all the one person that I love more than anything on this earth. I lost sight of me and who I am underneath this little rain cloud that I’ve had following me around.
But that stops now. I am tired of feeling angry, scared, worthless, stupid, ugly…and most of all I am tired of feeling fucking helpless. I am tired of listening to these evil voices inside my head that tell me my girlfriend deserves someone better than me, because there isn’t anyone better than me. I’m the best damn me that there is ever gonna be, and I’m proud of that. I am tired of the voices telling me that I’m not smart or accomplished enough to go to graduate school. I have achieved so many good things in a very short life (this very blog is being counted among those things!) and I plan on continuing to do more and more and more until those voices have even less of a hold on me and my reality. I remember what it feels like to be me and I am doing everything I can to strip away these layers of dirt to reveal the brilliance that I have inside me.
This post may come as a shock to some of you, but I want it to be clear that I am ok. There are still bad days, but for the most part, the past few weeks have been positive. I just need to stop hiding from myself and start listening to the voices of those around me. Thank you for continuing to be in my life and I can’t wait to keep up with the Tra(n)veling Man….here’s to the (re)start of something great.