I’ve never considered myself to be a depressed person. I have met enough people in my life who suffer from actual, clinical depression that I know better than to compare my temporary feelings of melancholy with those devastating mood swings that make it impossible for someone to gather the energy to leave his bed in the morning. But the thing is, my general attitude since I graduated from college last year has been missing my usual “It will all be better by tomorrow” sentiment that had always anchored me during past mood swings. As the saying goes, I have been stuck in a rut lately, and I have been trying to ignore this fact for far too long.
This is particularly alarming to me because I realize how fortunate I have been since graduation in both my personal and professional life. I had the post-graduate summer that most every student dreams of; the whirlwind, booze-soaked European tour enjoyed alongside close friends, the weekend trips to my family’s beach house in Maine. When I returned to Los Angeles in the fall, it was not long before I found work on the set of a major television production. And in a few weeks I will once again be crewing on another show. Yet, even with all my experiences pointing toward a promising future, it is becoming increasingly difficult to rationalize these parasitic thoughts of emptiness and worthlessness that have wriggled themselves into my brain throughout this past year.
Like I said before, I do not have the audacity to compare my situation to that of someone who battles against real depression on a daily basis. I am just trying to figure out why I have not been feeling like my regular self. Why in the past few months the first thought that enters my head when I wake up in the morning is “I am pathetic.” Why I have inflicted this self-imposed paralysis of any type of creative thinking that might lead me to, God forbid, activities that I have always loved; namely, making short films and creative writing. These feelings of anxiety and irritability, and the resulting dip in my seIf-confidence, have transformed me into someone else. Someone far different than the person who had both the ambition and courage four years ago to move across the country to pursue a career in the motion picture industry.
I understand that I am going through the same turmoils that most every other recent college graduate experiences. The anxiety of trying to find purpose in one’s life and realizing one’s own mortality simply comes with the territory of being a twenty-something. But, the truth is, I am getting tired of being anxiety’s bitch. I am tired of being too afraid to pick up the camera and practice my filmmaking. I am tired of staring at the screen of a blank word document, second guessing and deleting every thought or idea I try to put onto the page. I am tired of closing my apartment window to the noise of the freeway traffic outside only to hear instead the non-stop hum of self-deprecating thoughts and feelings that travel through my brain.
Even as I write this now I am debating whether or not to erase it all together. There are plenty of other mediocre posts to be found on the internet written by thousands of other similarly anxious, self-defeating creative types. What is the point of adding another post to that dubious genre?
Well, because it is better than remaining silent. For years I have recognized that my writing skills are not where I want them to be but I have yet to sit down at my laptop and practice. If that means that the only time I have enough confidence to write is when the subject of my writing is my lack of confidence, then so be it. I will risk this potentially embarrassing moment of self-indulgence for the promise of returning to a more productive and creative state of mind.