Monday, July 9, 2012

The Dreaded D-Word

I sailed into San Francisco from Los Angeles in December on a wave of optimism. I was in love, I had resolved some difficult conflicts, I already had job interviews scheduled for my first week in town, I felt proud of my personal growth, and I felt ready for a new chapter of my life.

Devastating break up aside, moving is difficult. Though I am an outgoing, friendly, and easy-going person, leaving everything you've ever known -- your family, your talented beloved friends, your way of living -- is not for the faint of heart. I've stuck it out this long, gaining incredible insights, and for that I have to give myself credit. I'm still here on a freelancer's income in a city that is notoriously expensive.

But I've been struggling. I feel lost. I find myself crying and can't discern why exactly my heart aches so deeply. Contentment is fleeting and the things that used to make me happy seem shrouded in a fog that I can't quite seem to see through. My emotions are dull. Determined, I've launched a thousand campaigns into my heart, certain certain certain that this time -- this time -- I've finally figured it out, and everything will be better. Things will be better, but it's going to take something more than I can provide for myself. It's going to take time and patience and treating myself gently, as well as seeking outside help.

How it feels. Photo by Yours Truly

My parents always dismissed the D-word as a "white people's disease," that only those with the luxury of time on their hands feel sad. Knowing better, I still hesitate to say the own it, to treat it, to let it run through me like any other disease.

I've been meeting lots of people, and in a city where very few actually originate here, I am enamored with the stories of their journeys. I listen carefully for the wisdom I can glean from them. I want to know how they got here, why they got here, and where they are going from here. I wonder if my story will run parallel to theirs, intersect with theirs, meet and then repel theirs. I am eager for friends, trusting and ready to love everyone, and I try to say "Yes" to every opportunity I encounter.

My search for continued therapy up here has been met with many false starts, but I now know how urgently I must renew this goal. I am sure that the wavering momentum has a lot to do with still overcoming my internalized stigma of the D-word. The truth is that at this point, I'm sick of feeling this way. I'm done. It's exhausting and it's holding me back. I've been through it before, this dreaded D-word, and I've survived. That is the difference between who I am today and the person I was before: I've learned that these feelings are not forever, that they are not indicative of who I am as a person and everything I am capable of. I may be small, but I am brave and I am tenacious.

I hope this writing touches some people. What I've found to be one of my contributions to the world is my ability to vocalize my feelings. I've found that in saying out loud what a lot of people don't or can't say, I give others strength and reassurance. So I hope this writing helps someone...and if you need someone to talk to, I'm here for you, and we'll get through this together.

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