Way back, years ago when I stood in the doorway of a small apartment and looked around, the rooms were emptied again, the furniture had all been moved out. The couches were gone, cable television was disconnected, and all the photographs from the wall had been removed. I stood here in awe of my change. I lived here. More accurately, I transformed here. My world became mine again.
This was a place of my rebirth. I came here to this small, empty apartment after living in a big, full house. I had to fill my new place, piece by piece. I had to regain me and my soul.
I had to come here to find myself, which is not to say that I was lost per-se—least of all, like a lost set of car keys, but more, I needed to find me and what I was capable of. I needed to strip myself from my distractions and take notice of me and my ability to overcome.
I needed to come to the self-learned realization that of all things I am capable of, I am capable of being me without the input of anyone else.
Upon entry to this apartment, I was exiting a marriage. I was leaving more than just a wife and a child in a split that was mutual. I was walking into a new form of existence. Everything I knew was about to change.
I took a risk to be on my own for what seemed to be the first time in my life. Previously, there was always someone in my life, telling me what to do or how to think or how to be. There was always some kind of safety net.
And likewise, there was always some kind of settlement, in which I accepted a value of treatment that was less than my actual worth.
And yes, I settled.
I settled because I was afraid. I was afraid I would never find my dream. I settled because I never believed in my own efforts.
I had no faith.
I settled because being with someone (even if it was the wrong someone) was better than my worst fears of being along or being an outsider, the odd one, the only one with no one to love me or love back.
I was afraid to be alone because I believed this was a mark of shame on my identity.
Even if I didn’t like my surroundings or if my place was not totally suitable; I always settled because I was too afraid to step out on my own and take the risk of me being me with no one to catch me if I fall.
As it was, life happened to me without asking me for my opinion. Good things happened and bad things as well.
I lived here in this small apartment without knowing what could happen. However, I transformed here. I pushed through the impossible—or more accurately, I pushed through what I thought would be impossible.
I never thought I could stand on my own. I never knew what my true ability was until it was tested.
Because before was just before. And before, everything was intimidating. Everything was impossible—but of course everything was impossible. How could anything be possible if I never tried?
Everything was an act. Everything was a false sense of identity—and here I was, someone that never thought he could own something was now moving out and about to walk into the doorway of my first home.
I did this . . .
Not all of the pieces had fallen into place as well as I would have liked. Not everything worked as planned. Either way, still, I was a homeowner now.
I had a mortgage, which was fine. I had bills, but this was fine too. I learned to hustle to support terrible ideas before so then why wouldn’t I be able to hustle to support this new idea?
On the last day, I stood in the empty apartment and looked around. I could see the phases of my change. I could envision myself as I was, in the beginning, too sad to do anything. Too depressed to get out of bed and too emotional to handle myself.
Nevertheless, I rebuilt myself. I stood up when I thought I never could. I faced my fear of loneliness and learned that it really wasn’t so lonely.
I looked at the corner where I kept my computer. I thought about the prose I would write and the topics I would write about. I went from someone that wrote a simple blog to being the most popularly read blog on a tattoo website.
I wrote my first short story here. I met new people here. I met new friends new people that encouraged me to change my life. I met my new world here.
It was here that I faced my rebuild. It was here that I faced my depression and decided to take my life back. I was welcomed here. I was welcomed back to my old hometown and treated kindly. I was supported here. Most of all, I defied the old ideas in my head here, which suggested to me that I was not and could not be anything worth mention.
This is untrue. I know it is.
I just had to learn it.
There is a way to overcome, which is not easy by any means. This was far from painless but in the same text; I explain that everything I went through was certainly worthwhile.
I learned how to stand on my own and how to feed myself. I learned that I can do things so long as I was consistent and persistent with my efforts.
The most valuable lesson I learned is life is always possible. I just had to live it—not fight it.
Forcing and coercing never worked for me. I had to stop resisting and look for the batter path or the path of least resistance. I had to stop wasting my time on wasteful things.
I had to learn a new way to process information and adapt to the lessons I had learned.
In a sense, depression is similar to having a learning disability, in which case, I have both.
I had to learn that having a learning disability did not mean I was stupid. No, quite the opposite. I just needed a different way to understand and retain information.
The same thing goes with depression. I needed a new way to understand and process emotional information. I needed to learn how to disconnect from depressive thinking, how to replace thought with action, and then create a new thought pattern.
The idea of change can be an uphill battle. There is the unknown to contend with. There are fears and uncertainties. Thinking too deeply or over-contemplating can create more difficulty.
So put simply, when it’s time to get up, stand up. Get moving. Do. Create. Build. Don’t stop.
Period. End of sentence.
Pay attention to effort, not outcome. Be mindful. Be aware. But do not be distracted by the inaccuracies of outside opinion and the deception of our perception.
I think back to my days when I lived on the farm. There were rues which I was made to follow; however, I never understood the value of the rules until I was older.
One of the rules that was most difficult (especially, considering the fact that there was never such thing as a good night’s sleep.) The rule was when the alarm went off in the morning. The lights were immediately turned on. The dorm leader counted to 20 out loud, screaming, and all of us had to be up and out of bed with our bunks made by the count of 20.
I hated this. . .
I hated it, but admittedly, I never understood the value of this rule.
There are times when we are caught up in our own mind. There are times when depressive thinking weighs us down. There are times when all we can do is lay in bed and consider the tragedies or overthink, dissect, and complicate even the simplest plans of our lives.
I learned that if we lay in these thoughts then we become these thoughts. However, if we get up, stand up, and show up, we have the ability to overcome those thoughts. We just need to move,
This is the way to beat depression!
On my last day in my small apartment, I realized exactly what I did to defy the lies in my head. I moved.
I stood up when I never thought I could. I acted. I created. I built and I grew. This is how my change became possible.
I started with what was necessary. I moved on to what was possible and like St Francis of Assisi, suddenly, I was doing the impossible.