It started as one of those days when you feel something is wrong in the world, like somehow a little rock is off its place and it means you won’t live this day as blissfully as you’d wish. Yet, it wasn’t a bad day. It seemed I would be able to function, work and interact normally.
A little context first: I am a designer, an amateur writer and a freelancer. I’ve struggled with major depression disorder (MDD) since I can remember and, in the last five to six years, I’ve struggled with anxiety attacks on a regular basis. I’ve also had a problematic work path, as I have faced unemployment, getting fired or simply not being able to work properly because of my mental illness. Freelancing has become the only way I’ve been able to work within my own capacities, as it allows me to work autonomously and helps me to know myself, my own red flags and how to improve my proactivity. Unfortunately, it is hard to be a freelancer in my country because of the few opportunities, the lack of economic stability and reduced demand in the industry of design.
I had just been through a couple of numb weeks by then, and I was expecting some good news regarding a project any day. As I had two or three hard months where I didn’t get any projects, I desperately needed this new project of designing and producing a book to get back on track and to get some money so I could stop depending constantly on my parents and relatives.
It seemed the day was against me. It’s usually hard for me to get out of bed, to take a shower and to get some breakfast. Yet, this day, I tried hard to get up, to shower and to eat. Unfortunately, I couldn’t shower because my shower wouldn’t work, and someone had eaten what I was supposed to have for breakfast. I sat in my bed, breathing in and out trying to stay strong and to resist the voice that wanted me to lay down and let another day go by without living it.
Then, my cellphone vibrated. It was a message from my best friend, who was trying to get the project approved. This project, that was certainly going to happen, was suddenly rejected because of budget issues. Every thing that dark voice told me during those weeks, every moment of self-pity, every thought of being unworthy came back to me.
Once more, I lost a chance to climb out of the abyss. Once more, I was unemployed and without any sign of getting out of it. Once more, I had nothing to do that day. The first thing I thought was even if I succeed in getting out of bed, it would be another day where nothing happened. I couldn’t let that happen. I could not have another “unlived” day. Even as job opportunities seem to be more scarce every day, I had to get to the next one.
You see, it is hard to acknowledge your own value when you’re rejected. When for some reason things don’t happen for you, it’s the perfect environment for depression and anxiety to attack you, to get in charge of your mind, to tell you you’re a failure, a disappointment and you didn’t deserve the opportunity anyway. It rings painfully true in that brief moment of the day because any doubts you had seem to be verified by the opportunity that just went by.
I couldn’t let that happen. Yes, I had those evil voices in my head. They spoke to me, and they reminded me of every time I felt I didn’t deserve what I had gotten. I felt frustrated and angry with myself, disgusted with my work and cheated with the lousy luck I got in life. I felt betrayed and wanted to yell at my best friend, to blame him for this failure and to demand another chance at the job. But why would I? Why would I attack someone who showed me love, who tried his best to help me?
I understood something important that day: Even if it wasn’t my best friend, even if it was someone who I just met during an interview, a person had just given me their best gift. They had given me their time. The same time that is precious to me because every minute of my day can be the last I get to function “normally.” My best friend, my girlfriend, my family, they all offer me their time, their hands when I need help, their attention when I want to talk and their company when I can’t keep it together anymore.
They are a reminder that I am worthy. There is nothing I wouldn’t do to help them, to give them company and to save them if they need to be saved. If they make an effort, even a little one, trying to help me, then they sure deserve me to keep trying my best. They deserve for me to try to get to the next opportunity and the one after that. They deserve for me to get out the bed that day.
Image via Thinkstock.