I never thought I would make it to this point in my life. When I was sixteen, I thought that I would have killed myself before my next birthday. Every birthday since then I’ve thought the exact same thing: I can’t believe that I’m still alive.
On the outside, I have a pretty normal and successful twenty-something life. I have a graduate degree, a good paying job, a loving wife, and I’m a strong member of my community. People at shul know who I am and ask about me when I go out of town. They see my Facebook posts and ask questions and comments about what I say, and I’m generally an outgoing and amiable person.
On the inside, I know I’m broken. I know that no matter how well things are going, I’ll find a way to be sad. Exhausted. Depressed. Defeated. I know that I put on a show, and that some people can easily see through it. Some days I feel like I’m back up and can really make it, but most days I just try to make it through. Last year, I had a mental breakdown from the stress of my dream job turning into a torture session. Now, I spend most days waiting for the other shoe to drop. I can’t be alone and idle anymore, otherwise my thoughts turn black and I can’t get out of bed. I think people might notice. Part of me hopes they believe my front, and part of me wishes that they would see that I could use just a positive compliment to keep myself going.
I think that we’re all broken, just to varying degrees. I’m sure there are some truly blessed and happy people out there with lives free from mental illness, anxiety, depression, stress, and full of hope and positivity. I’m also quite sure that there are people out there that are past broken; they’re destroyed. I see some of them in my work, coming into my door with a story a mile long that makes me wonder how even they get out of bed in the morning. Most of us are somewhere in between, with bigger problems and smaller ones. There’s no bright line, just a continuum of sadness that almost all of us find ourselves on.
I feel selfish for being depressed, for thinking that I should have the gall to say that I have problems. There are abuse victims, crime victims, ill people, dying people out there that deserve so much more empathy and support than I do. There are people out there facing worse odds than I have ever imagined that still come out beaming with optimism. I see the bearded faces at shul around me, so serene in their prayer or sure of themselves that I can’t not wonder why I just can’t get with the program.
I still feel broken, and I have no one to turn to. Its unfair to unburden myself on others, they shouldn’t have to support me and I don’t deserve their support. I’m just some kid with depression, anxiety, and a dead mom complex; who cares about that? I’ve been through enough counseling to know when my suicidal ideations get too real, and I haven’t gotten to that point in a while; but I wonder if its even normal to have a self-diagnostic for when you’re too suicidal. I’m not interesting or exciting enough to warrant saving, let alone a second look.
I’m a young man, and thank G-d I’m alive (or at least that’s what I think I’m supposed to say). I still don’t live for myself, I live for my wife and family. I try to live for G-d too, but I think he’ll settle for less for now.
This isn’t a cry for help, its just the only place I have to cry.