Something that most people don’t know about me is that I suffer from unending, soul-crushing, spirit-breaking depression. It stems from a head injury, and the subsequent brain damage that accompanied it. I am brain damaged. It’s something I don’t talk about too much, because I don’t like people to think less of me because of it. The moment someone hears brain damage, they think of something like some guy who becomes a drooling vegetable. To be fair, that could have been me. There was a girl in high school who was made a vegetable by a head injury. Every time I saw her, my stomach knotted. Like looking into the mirror of what could have been. It was harrowing, to say the least.
Part of what came with my depression is some thoughts of suicide. I don’t deny, I wrestle with this all the time. It is better now, with it being summer. Granted, the sauna that is my office during the day doesn’t help, but one thing at a time, right? It’s money, and that’s what I need. Especially since, I seem underqualified for this job, but I am working to learn it, because it’s a great opportunity. Of course, the moment a better one comes along, I’m on that like stink on cheese. It’s nothing personal. I was born and raised lower-middle class. I learned to do what’s best to move my position in life along as best I can. It’s just how things work. Nice? Not really. But that’s what it is. In winter, however, or when it is late and I am at my lonely apartment, there are times when the thoughts creep into my head. Thoughts about how a skin condition makes me look worse each day, and that my socialization is on life support and my love life has been given a time of death.
What keeps me going? After all, I’ve been dealing with this since I was 14. I have muscled through periods in my life when the urge was so strong that I had written an actual note. Something I keep with me, to remind me where I’ve been. How do I keep doing this? Any time someone accuses me of personal weakness, I know that that isn’t the case. That isn’t to say that I think that suicide is easy. It’s not. People who say that it’s “taking the easy way out” have obviously never been in a place where they have genuinely wanted to end it. But, it is in no way easy to press on and try and make the most of one’s time.
The worst part of being me is that I’m not the best looking guy. I am freakishly tall. 6′ 10-1/2″, to be exact. I tower over everyone. My face generally looks annoyed, even when I am not. I just keep it blank, because I don’t feel the need to plaster a fake-ass smile on my face to make people think that I’m so super-happy and joyful. No joke, the guidelines at my job said that I had conduct myself, “serious, yet joyfully.” How does that work? Do I sprinkle pixie dust around my office as I do paperwork? I don’t now. Still, I’m not a good-looking guy, and I am constantly-aware that I don’t fit into that category. It makes my hopes for any future romance look bleak.
In any case, it’s not easy. I press on. Why? What keeps me going? After some serious examination, I have figured out what it is that keeps me going. It’s the search for a good story. I love stories. Great fiction is a wonderful thing. I look for it in all forms. Books, movies, TV shows (well, some. Infinitely more critical of television than other forms of media. A LOT of garbage in there), and lastly – video games. That’s right, I’m a grown man, out of college, who likes video games. The horror! It tells great stories as well. It’s a great medium for great stories. Anyone who looks down on those who game because it is “childish” or what-have-you clearly has their own idea about what is the way to be, and it isn’t going to change. People like things as they do, and those outside of them can get rather-cruelly examined in a negative light. It seems to be a human thing.
My search for the next great story is why I am still here. When I was in the worst parts of my life, fiction is the thing that saved me. Video games especially. Losing myself in a story that I could get immersed in was such a nice feeling. A gentle escape from how unpleasant life could be. After everything with Emily went down, I logged SO many hours into the Mass Effect games. It got a little insane. My break-up with the last relationship was much the same, only it was different games. Then I got into Game of Thrones, and dear god has that sucked up a lot of my time.
I get where the character Eugene Sims is coming from. For a socially-awkward giant like me, I have had to work on my skills for ages. I am amicable and snarky (in a fun way) when people first meet me, but the longer they know me, the more they realize that I am a weird, sometimes-cold, often-negative guy who keeps my thoughts on stuff pretty close to the chest. Since I work at a medical office where the majority of people working there are women, I get to hear a lot of idle gossip about whatever, and I am having to say nothing, or just nod, when people want my input. I swear, part of me wonders if they think I’m gay, and that’s why they ask me what I think about so-and-so’s relationship issues. It wouldn’t be the first time people have thought that way.
Still, my depression is an ugly animal. I muscle through each winter, and the summers are not long enough. That’s part of why I mean to move down south, into the Lower 48, at some point in my life. My end goal is to live on the ocean, for at least two years. That happens, along with two other things that I won’t mention, and I can die a happy man. But, until then, I have my fiction to keep me company, along with the remnants of my social life. A strange entity. If you have depression issues, feel free to talk about how you get through it in the Comments section. I am always open to us being able to help out anyone else who may have trouble dealing.
Until next time, a quote,
“For years, my best friends were fictional characters.” -Eugene Sims, inFAMOUS: Second Son