Back when I began this blog, I started writing it the day I felt my life was finally making a turn for the better. But I left a lot of details out, details that I feel will possibly offer some encouragement and hopes to others who might be feeling as though things can’t get better for them. When you read my experience, I want you to focus on the main message. That being, you don’t know how and when things are going to turn around for you. So never lose hope.
I’ll start back by describing to you exactly how things had been going for me up until the evening of September 16th of this year. In May, I proposed to a girl I desperately wanted to believe was the girl of my dreams. Unfortunately, that is when, instead of our relationship getting stronger, they took a drastic turn for the worse. She became more and more distant, I became more and more depressed, and by July we hardly spoke at all. She made claims that her sudden absence from my life was due to medical concerns, but I can no longer believe that. I have no doubts she was cheating on me by that point. I had plans on confronting her, but I wouldn’t get the chance.
In mid-July, my ex would take it upon herself to call me at literally 2 am in the morning to curse me out over writing how I missed her and about me putting pictures up of us being together on my facebook (you can probably see why I doubt she had stopped talking to me over “medical concerns”). After screaming at me over how selfish I had been in the relationship, I ended it on the spot. She was, of course, taken aback. It was the first time I had genuinely defended myself from her attacks and the first time I ever told her I wanted to break up (she had, of course, said it multiple times throughout the course of our relationship).
We stopped talking for a few weeks. I tried focusing on other issues going on in my life, but it was difficult. My ex continuously tried contacting me. I knew it was because she didn’t care much for not getting in the last word, but like a fool I finally relented around the beginning of September. She went on about needing money to send me the ring back, how she was struggling even to feed her cat and buy necessities for herself, and also how she was still deeply in love with me. On the inside, I didn’t believe I was ever going to get the ring back and I wasn’t sure if I cared anymore anyway. I gave her some money, not believing that she was being honest, but believing that my generosity would be returned to me in some other way. It’s a philosophy I’ve always maintained and it’s also the reason why I couldn’t bear being called the selfish one in our relationship.
A few days later, my grandfather died. It hit me hard. It was sudden and seeing as for the last few years my circle of confidantes had dwindled down to my now ex-fiance, I felt I had no one to turn to for comfort. I remember, upon hearing the news, I had locked myself in the room, incapable of containing myself and blasting any music I could find to drown out my sobbing. All the while, realizing that it was in moments like these I used to go to my ex for support. But as I was gearing up to travel out of the country for the funeral, I had come to the decision that I didn’t want her around as a source of comfort anymore. In truth, she had rarely been around emotionally for me anyway. At least, nowhere near the level I had been around for her. I left her a message telling her that I wanted to speak to her with the intention of getting everything out in the open. I wanted there to be no loose ends. However, she didn’t respond until after I returned from my trip.
It was also upon my return that I learned of her infidelity. While I had suspected it, the evidence didn’t become clear until September 15th. While that was difficult to accept, it wasn’t surprising. What had bothered me though, was her professions of love to me literally a few days before. It made me realize I could no longer believe she had ever loved me. If she could say such words with feigned sincerity as she had, how could I believe she hadn’t done the same throughout our relationship?
The following day, I went into work determined not to bother with anything else or care about anything else other than my job. Unfortunately, in the afternoon my boss called me with the news that I had to be laid off. As supportive as he was, with everything else going on, the news that I was now unemployed became the straw that broke this camel’s back. I went back to my desk and, for the second time in my life since middle school I really struggled.
For years since my early teens, I touted and preached about finding the silver lining in every situation. After bouts with extreme depression in the past, I used to think my ability to overcome and find happiness gave me the privilege and the right to help encourage others to do the same. But now, at that point in my life, I felt foolish for ever believing in a silver lining in every situation. I had alienated close friends and family for a girl who, as much as I hate to admit, broke my heart and convinced me romantic love was nothing more than an illusion. I had lost a grandfather I had vowed to see alive, a grandfather who loved me dearly and who I loved dearly in return. And now, I was losing a job that had become my only means of settling the debt I had taken on after caring for a manipulative and selfish girl for the past two years.
I sat at my desk, contemplating all the mistakes I had made that I believed led me down to this path. As giving and caring as I wanted to consider myself, I had neglected many people in favor of a single, undeserving one. I began considering everything bad that was now happening as a well-deserved punishment. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t see a way out. All I could visualize were people in my life, people that I had ignored or hurt, telling me I deserved this. For a while, I sat at my desk, feeling myself ask that all too dangerous question.
“What was the point?”
I had effectively lost two years of my life. And while I don’t believe any years of one’s life should be considered “throw away” years, these two years specifically should have been a time for growth for me. But I had squandered the better half of my twenties and had become convinced that I had only just begun my downward slope into utter desolation.
That evening, I was supposed to give my boss’s grand daughter her weekly piano lesson. I recall him asking if I was still okay giving them. I said yes, realizing that while $30 a week was close to nothing given my financial situation, it was still something. I forced myself to smile for the rest of that day, despite feeling ready to give everything up inside. After all, from my perspective I no longer felt like I’d find love or that I even deserved the love of friends and family, and with debt looming over my head I could no longer pay off, I didn’t see much to smile about. But it was at this point where the moral of my story comes in.
I headed over to his daughter’s house, the same smile, masking a nearly crippling sense of dread, plastered on my face. She greeted me with a sympathetic smile and hug, asking if I was alright. I don’t know if she believed my “Yes” or not, but she told me not to worry, that things would work out. And then she got me a job working for her mother.
That’s the problem with depression. How we feel on the inside, the intense loneliness, the sense that nobody cares. It’s never true. But it is always damn near impossible to realize that. For years up until that point, I had been doing a good job of keeping it in check since struggling with it back in middle and high school. But I let my guard down and convinced myself that I was irrelevant.
Getting this job and being able to continue working for a family I truly admire and care for opened my eyes again. Just when things are at their darkest, that is the time when we should be looking for that silver lining the most. If I had not bothered with the piano lesson that evening, if I had told my now former boss that I was no longer comfortable with it, I might very well still be unemployed and hopeless even now. What’s more, it reminded me that there are those that still care. There are people who care about me. And as badly as I might have treated family and friends, the people who loved me were ready and willing to forgive me for everything I had done. No matter what, there were people who still wanted me to be happy.
That evening, I remember going to my parents, eyes admittedly teary, and telling them how sorry I was for the last two years, how blind and foolish I had been. And my father, through reddened eyes himself, told me he was just so happy to have his son back again.
This blog has gone on for a while. I realize it isn’t the most well-written, and I apologize for that aspect of it (a bit under the weather). But I do hope the message is clear and it’s a message I personally intend to keep in mind more so than ever before. Whenever you struggle, whenever you think there is not a single soul out there that cares, whenever you think your situation can’t turn around, know that today I am telling you, you are wrong. There is always a silver lining. No matter how dark the clouds, no matter how stormy the night, we have to do our best to find it. There is always a reason to hope and it is only when we stop searching for that reason that our situation becomes hopeless. This past September I was reminded of that and I hope my experience will serve as a reminder for anyone out there who is struggling as well.