Monday, June 11, 2012

A Down Day

Today was not a good day. Today was a bad day. For a writer, for someone with the wish of being a professional, full-time writer, you struggle everyday. You struggle with identity, you struggle with money, you struggle to live.

Being a full-time writer with problems with depression and self-doubt and self-esteem issues amplifies all of that by about a million.

I'm trying to become a full-time writer, and at the same time, I'm trying to find a full-time day job to pay the bills and help the wife and I stay afloat. It's not fun. It's like having three full-time jobs, not including finding time to go to the gym to help me lose the weight I've gained at my day job and not including finding time to spend with family and friends and not including every little thing that goes into an every day life.

You're pulling yourself in 15 different directions, all at once. You're trying to go to the gym to lose weight. You're trying to find a new place to live that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. You're trying to become a full-time writer. You're trying to pay bills. You're trying to be a good husband, son, friend and co-worker.

You're trying to do everything and failing at all of it.

It's like being a Jack of all trades. You are, effectively in your own life, a master of nothing. You're pulling your hair out and tearing your flesh and falling to pieces.

The sun beats down on you even when it's dark outside.

You don't sleep. You can't eat (and when you do, it's not healthy). You have to think about everyone else when all you want to think about is yourself and when you think about yourself, it drives you crazy and makes you want to just leave the world behind. Forever.

It's a terrible thing to think about. It's a terrible way to live. But here we are. This happens a lot during a year, every year, and it comes and goes. It's never one month (though September is a pretty good barometer of when this will happen again). It's never just one day. It's not like it happens for an hour and goes away. And it's not something you know will happen.

People, over the years, have suggested seeing a psychiatrist. Psychologist. Whatever. I haven't. I've had depression and self-doubt since I was in middle school and blah blah blah, we all have problems when we're growing up. A lot of us leave those thoughts behind and grow into well-developed adults.

Most of us don't have dreams that are soul-crushing in how incredibly difficult it is to make happen. My mom wanted me to be a doctor or a lawyer. I wanted to write and create comics and movies. I wanted to be creative in my life, not be under someone else's beck and call every day.

And here I am, working at a job I hate, living a life I don't always enjoy, and fearing the future. Some days I'm great. I'm on top of the world. I'm thinking that the greatest thing I've ever written is being written right that second. I'm thinking that the project I'm working on is going to be the one that makes me a success.

And then the next minute, I'm back here. I'm back, struggling with the weight of the world on my shoulders, and I can't get it off. I can't shrug it off. I can't do anything but struggle. I want to give up but I can't. Something inside of me is telling me not to give up.

That something is named Justin and he was my friend for a short period of time. But knowing someone like I knew Justin and not knowing that he was suicidal still kills me, everyday.

I saw what his death did to his family. To his friends. And now, almost 10 years later, I still struggle with it. But it made me think before I did anything like taking my life. The thoughts come and go, the pain comes and goes, but the pain of taking myself away from those people who do care about me, who do need me, who do like hearing my voice or seeing my face or reading my stories (no matter how little I sometimes like to), that pain would never go away.

It's etched into my heart and my soul and my entire being and it always will be. I've been thinking about it in the back of my head for weeks now. My apartment lease is up on September 9th, and he killed himself on the 12th of September in 2003.

That's just a part of it. He's the reason I don't go down this dark path as often as I used to. I still struggle, I still see the path, and I still fight against it.

It's terrifying to live this life with no knowledge of where I'm going. I have hope that I'll be a full-time writer of comics and screenplays someday. I have hope that maybe it will happen sooner rather than later. I have hope, and some days, that's all I have.

Today, I have hope. Tomorrow? I don't know.


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