There are moments in life when I’m not terribly depressed. Those are the moments that go by quickly, when time disappears, and I miss its passing. These are the days, weeks even, when I barely sleep, when I distract myself by watching too much TV, randomly browsing the internet, in my limited free time. But more and more life is just a run-on sentence of mild success and the ever-growing fear of failure.
Yesterday, the 22 year old co-founder of a social network called Diaspora was found dead, a victim of what was rumored to be suicide. The motives for this potential suicide weren’t broadcasted on the news, but plenty of people could guess it was due to a failed endeavor. So much hope for success, so much hype, and such a long way to fall.
I haven’t exactly gone down the entrepreneur route, in fact, I’m becoming less important as the days go by and drowning in what might be a pool of my own stupidity, tears, and insecurities. It’s frustrating to feel like everything you are is fake. But what would be real? I don’t know if the modern human life path is aligned to the gritty realness which is much more viseral and frightening than the blur of some sort of stable life. If there’s a job out there that I could love, it would be this one — and I do — there are many days when I feel fulfilled because I have some autonomy and the opportunity to offer some sort of unique insight as part of a team. But the moments my contributions are valued are rare, and that reminds me that my contributions aren’t as valuable because I’m actually not that bright. Perhaps the one talent I’ve longed to have all along, acting, is the one that I actually have — look how far I’ve gotten on playing this role. Look at me… a book deal… a director-level job… but isn’t it all fake? It’s it all just an act? I clearly can’t keep up. I clearly don’t have this drive in me to be competitive in the way one needs to be in business. I’m too much of an INFP some days. Or maybe too much of a girl. Not a woman. A girl.
I don’t want to kill myself. But there are days I don’t know how I can maintain this role I’m performing. And, I don’t know who I am anymore, behind this act. Is it an act? How did I become this person who constantly worries about money — who, went from making $20k a year to $100k a year from 23 to 27, and is somehow still feeling like I’m getting the short end of some stick, because I know others in my firm are likely making more, with similar experience, or maybe just a fancier academic pedigree and resume. Is this greed? Is it greedy to want more? Is it greedy to feel like I’m working so hard and falling behind regardless and the only way to stay above water is to avoid sleeping and work all night and day and still it’s not enough? Is it greedy to look at a retirement calculator and see that I need $3.6M in retirement income — if I die at 90 — to have $60k a year in salary and retire at 65?
I might just be upset because I haven’t slept in over 38 hours. Or that I have this one piece of my life — the time I spent exhausted in my boyfriend’s arms — that makes me want to live another day, but I’m running out of other things that really propel me forward. The saddest part of all is that I’m probably the happiest I’ve been in my whole life. I no longer want to be anyone else. I just don’t want to be myself either. I spent my childhood aspiring to be anyone other than myself. The future was wide and despite temporary depression, there were opportunities to be something great. What is great? I know, deep down, that the only greatness I ever feel is when I’m helping other people. And in business it’s only about helping yourself, or helping the team, which ultimately helps yourself. And despite how fun it is, despite how exciting it is to be part of something that’s big from a business perspective, I just feel like I’m fading fast, and getting lost again, going backwards. I wonder how many people see just how awkward I am. Have I hid it enough? I’m too old, too far along in my career to run into the bathroom in tears… I did that once when I was a reporter as I was struggling to focus, perhaps due to ADD or something else. In any case, I was supposed to have a meeting with my new boss tonight to discuss career path, and he forgot about it, because everything moves so quickly, and because there are more important things than my growth, and that’s probably for the better, because what would I really ask for anyway — how can I ask for something when I can’t be perfect to be begin with? There aren’t enough hours in a day. I’ve been at the office from 6am this morning, and it’s now 7:20pm. I guess I should go home, but I have to take a train — I can’t drive due to the DUI license suspension. It will take me an hour to get home, or more, for my six mile trip. It’s so ridiculous to complain about being depressed and exhausted — what do I have to be depressed and exhausted about?
But maybe that’s what depression is — just a dull ache of going nowhere, of hopelessness, because the picture of what you think you want is so much bigger (and yes, more expensive) than you’ll ever be able to have. Because while people applying for the job complimentary to your role turning down $150k a year because it’s not enough for them, you’re too scared to ask for more. Or you don’t think you deserve it. You know you don’t deserve it. But — you’re also working about 10 jobs right now — which is great experience, and at some point it will pay off, probably not here, but at some point this experience will unfold in a way where I can articulate some sort of intellect and confidence, as I get older, into my 30s, and maybe then I’ll be respected — if not for the person I really am, then at least for successfully avoiding to crack the shining shell of a person I’ve managed to become.