At this point, I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve deleted and later reestablished this site or other, older incarnations of my blog. The cycle is now familiar. First, the feeling of having something to say, but not having a suitable place to put it. Next, setting up a blog and posting some things on it. Last, getting frustrated/bored/depressed and scrapping the whole thing.
Every time I set up a blog, and every time I scrap a blog, I tell myself that’s it. But the cycle repeats. I wonder if this is the time it’ll stick.
Once upon a time, I used to blog a lot. Back in the early two-thousands, when blogging still felt fresh, and the push to monetize every last thing in existence hadn’t yet strangled the joy out of the blogging community. A lot has changed since then, but probably the most significant thing to negatively impact my public efforts at writing with any regularity has been ongoing, chronic depression and the accumulated emotional fatigue it entails.
This is where people usually want to change the subject. Time to change the channel, right? Where’s the damned remote?
The thing is, it’s something that we need to address with more openness and honesty as a society. Don’t change the channel. Don’t change the subject. Look squarely at the ugly little monster that follows millions of people around every day.
See how it trips people up as they try to move forward. See how deftly it attaches a million little weights to each person, stitching them on with invisible threads. See how it fiddles with the knobs of perception, draining the color from life and turning the volume down on happiness.
More people than you think have their own little monsters. Many of the people you know who seem perfectly fine, who act and claim to be perfectly fine, are anything but fine.
Any time a big celebrity commits suicide, the shock of it ripples across society, and there is a moment in which at least some people call for this quiet epidemic to finally be addressed. People get on social media and share information about counseling services and suicide hotlines, encouraging those who are suffering to reach out for help.
Nothing changes. Everything goes back to the way it was until the next high-profile suicide, at which time the ineffectual outcry repeats itself. It is undoubtedly sincere and well-intentioned, but posting a hotline number on Twitter has rarely diverted a razor from a wrist. It’s hobbyism, much like shouting about politics on Facebook instead of actually engaging with issues in a way apt to affect change in the real world. All the digital hand-wringing in the world won’t help anyone who is suffering silently and alone.
Aside from friends I’ve lost, the suicide that hit me hardest was Anthony Bourdain, who I always assumed I’d eventually cross paths with somewhere in Tokyo. I could relate to him in a way that rarely happens with public figures. I could see his demons because he didn’t hide them, and they were not unlike my own. His candor and transparency as a human being helped me feel less alone in the struggle of depression.
And then he was gone.
If anyone out there is reading this and wondering if they need to be worrying about me, you don’t. But I can guarantee that you know at least one person who could use your support. As in actual, human-to-human support. Make a call. Send a friend an email to check in. Visit someone you haven’t heard from in a while. And most of all, listen and try to understand.
If you’ve never experienced depression personally, that’s good. That can make it hard to understand, though, and to help bridge the gap, we need more honest discussion. I suppose that’s one reason why I’m back here making a blog again. Not that this will be just a panorama of depression, but I’m not going to hide the struggle. I’ll be writing on whatever I happen to be thinking about, but if the monster shows up, I’m not going to pretend otherwise.
Battling that ugly little monster is exhausting, but I can at least fight the good fight out in the open where others fighting the same battle can see. I don’t want anyone to feel as alone in the struggle as I’ve felt in the past. I am determined to exterminate that little bastard, and speaking about it openly is part of that.
All of which is to say that I’m back again. Hopefully for good this time.