Depression is a nasty, vicious illness. One that I've been struggling with my whole life but has been especially aggravating lately.
I moved to Orlando in August of 2015 to pursue my passion for journalism, specifically music journalism. It was like there was a fire raging inside, fueling me with things like the determination and the self-confidence to pursue a paid position in such a networking-heavy field.
It felt as though I was following an upward trajectory when I was approved for an apartment shortly after my financial aid came in. At that point, I'd been writing for Examiner.com, the website that gave me my start in music journalism, for almost four years.
In February, I found out I'd been approved to be a writer for the larger branch of the site, AXS.com, a position I'd previously applied for at least three times. This was the start of a momentum that found me covering national music festivals like Fort Rock, Vans Warped Tour, interviewing one of my favorite bands' drummers/reviewing an advance copy of their CD, "Misadventures", touring with an internet radio station called Metal Fortress Radio for two weeks on the Vans Warped Tour and being approved to cover Acceptance, a band who was one of my biggest inspirations growing up.
Then it was like I was thrown headfirst into a brick wall and I feel like I'm only just now waking up. My friend, Adria, and I had driven to Cincinnati to cover one of the last few dates of Warped Tour in July. We'd gotten as far as West Virginia when I got an e-mail that not only was Examiner.com getting shut down, but they would also no longer be needing my services...for Examiner OR AXS.com. My credentials were under Examiner.com/AXS, so seeing that on said credentials only added to the crushing weight of the blow.
I also found out that I had 10 days to get all my stuff off of the site before it was deleted. That was four years worth of articles I knew I wouldn't have time to go through all of. I already wasn't getting paid for any of this, but at the time, I thought I had a job waiting for me when I got back and these interviews and touring were too good of an opportunity to get my name out there.
I could feel my mood souring and it was a few hours before I realized the anti-depressant I was taking at the time wasn't working as effectively as it was supposed to. The thing about clinical depression that most people don't understand is that you'll be going along in life just fine and then something like losing a job that's so important to you happens. That's all it takes for your motivation to vanish and have what feels like a soul- and energy-sucking tsunami crash over your head and drag you down into a pit of overwhelming sadness, suicidal thoughts, self-destructive tendencies and self-hatred. You feel yourself tumbling farther down and desperately trying to find which way is up again.
I felt all of this hit me right before I was supposed to be having one of the best weekends of my life. As much as I tried not to let it control me, it still ended up winning more times than not.
This all got 10 times worse once I found out that the full-time job I was supposed to be starting was going to be delayed yet another month. Up until then, I hadn't felt suicidal thoughts creep up on me. That all changed once I realized exactly how much debt I was in with no way to pay it back.
One phone call to the National Suicide Hotline and a few different text conversations with the Crisis Text Line later, I scrounged up the energy to drive to my psychiatrist's office and tell them something was very, very wrong and I needed a new appointment ASAP.
I left the office with a new doctor and a new prescription that thankfully has been working quite well. However, recovery isn't that simple. I wish it were. I'm still clawing my way out of that hole as these feelings of self-doubt and hopelessness concerning my music writing still sit at the back of my mind, nagging at me the way a cat bats at a string. Up until last week, I'd barely posted anything in months, to the point that I had people wondering where I disappeared to.
It wasn't that I didn't want to post any of the amazing things I did this summer, it's just that every time I would go to do it, either another life thing would happen or my self-doubt would get the better of me and tell me I'll do it tomorrow even though I knew I wouldn't. I'm doing my best to keep my head above water now and to remember that getting knocked down like I did doesn't dictate the future. I'm still figuring out how to pull myself out of it once and for all and I'm slowly but surely getting back into the flow of posting regularly. I'm determined to go through and post all of my coverage and that's more than I could say a month ago. Progress is often baby steps like that.