I don’t really know how to frame this post as it’s deeply personal and extremely sensitive to me. I haven’t been able to put into words how I want to express this, nor has it been an easy task. However, I’ve found it crucial to myself and to my health to get these words down.
I never had to “come out” to the world really. It was always assumed that I was gay. The people around me always knew. I was incredibly flamboyant, loved being the center of attention, loved dressing up in girls clothes, only wanted to play with Barbies, and was so care-free about my femininity. I was so openly feminine that I developed gender dysphoria when I was in pre-school. One day all of the girls (all my friends, obvi) went to the top of the swing set to play with their My Little Pony dolls and I naturally (read gleefully) went up to follow them. One of my BEST FRIENDS at the time looked down at me and said, “No! This is for girls only!” I couldn’t even believe what had just happened. I for sure WAS a girl and I for SURE should have been allowed up there. From there came an onslaught of deep confusion. I was convinced I was a girl and that I just was stuck in a boy’s body until about second grade. Eventually, those feelings of being a woman faded and I became very happy and comfortable with my body as a male. So when I came out of the closet at 14, no one was surprised. My mother literally said to me, “You’ve been spitting rainbows from your mouth since you were born.” when I tried to “come out” as bi-sexual. I was no longer bullied and tormented in school…it was just fact that I was gay. In addition to this incredible set up (being that apparently no one cared that I was gay), my brother came out of the closet and my father came out of the closet. I was dealt a hand of fabulously gay cards with no adversity attached…My parents loved me, my family supported me, my friends admired me. I never had to come out and deal with the fear of losing people in my life. I never had to not be myself.
With that said, I feel like at 28, I’m at a point in my life where I need to formally come out with something else. I have recently been diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I’ve been this way since I was about 25, but more now than ever I feel the wave of depression. I am incredibly anxious to even talk about it. Even though people can be try to be supportive, it seems to me that openly stating “I’m depressed” or “I have anxiety” immediately brings on the unintentional backlash. People say, “Look at the bright side! But you have such an amazing life! But you’re so handsome! But you have a big following on Instagram! But you’re so talented! But you have so much potential! You should be thankful for what you have! But you live in the greatest city in the world!!!!!” And while that is a nice thought (being thankful for what I have), I find it makes me even more sad. I now feel ungrateful for my life and feel bad for even thinking I could be depressed. I mean, there are people who have (and have had) much harder lives with much more challenging struggles. People are starving, dying for their sexuality or skin color, and I can’t get out of bed because I (a privileged white American male) can’t find purpose. Poor me. I feel like a fucking degenerate. I feel like shit for even being struggling with depression and for not being able to breath when I’m anxious. I feel BAD for having depression. It only makes things worse. It makes me not want to get up in the morning.
In the past two years, I broke up a two year relationship with someone whom I was convinced I would marry (who was also my boss), I moved back to Manhattan after living in Brooklyn for 4 years, I quit my job, I got a dog to replace my ex (enter in taking care of someone/something else more than myself), I got a new job, I got fired from that job (you’re a failure), I started a new career, I went freelance (lol money????), I got into another relationship which failed and wound up hurting someone else (sorry), I truly realized how much debt I have (fuck), and I ended several important friendships. All this change thrust me into a downward spiral of despair. I am lost. I have no structure. I lost all confidence in myself. I have no drive or will to wake up in the morning. I lost my romanticism with love, sex, and life in general. I barely want to be around people. My drive to do anything has dissipated.
I am lost. I don’t know what I want to do with my life. I don’t know what to do for a career. I am struggling financially. I don’t know how to approach social media anymore (to the point where I just don’t even know how to post). I don’t know how much longer I can be in New York. I get panic attacks before, during, and after events. When I don’t go to events, the fear of missing out eats through my soul until I lull myself into a high or drunken stupor and pass out. I am struggling with alcohol. I don’t know how to push forward. The gym isn’t even something I want to know exists. I’m afraid of what people think of me. I’m afraid that people think I’m weak, or maybe I’m an asshole for not being as social as I used to be. I’ve driven all of the people who were once close to me away. I’ve isolated myself to a point that sometimes I think it would be easier for myself and for those around me if I were to no longer exist. All of the problems in my life could just stop, if I wasn’t here anymore. I don’t want to kill myself necessarily (though images of how I would take myself out are constantly flashing in my head), but I do want to stop living in this body and with the person I’ve become. I’m afraid. I’m stuck. And it’s fucking dark.
So. I say all of this not to seek attention personally from others. I say this to open up a conversation for others who are also struggling. I want to give an opportunity to people to not be afraid to talk about it. It is, to me anyway, very much like living in the closet with your sexuality. People so quickly judge and dismiss your feelings. They tell you it’s just a phase. People don’t want to be around someone who is mopey or who doesn’t have drive. When people are looking for a potential love interest, no one says, “I’d love someone who isn’t passionate about anything and who is constantly tired.” People don’t want to have sex or be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t have the willingness to figure out their own life. I don’t want to be this way. I wish I wasn’t here, but I am. I am petrified of feeling like this and the panic attacks that have ensued while writing this. There’s nothing more terrifying than thinking about how much better the world would be without you in it, and truly believing it. So I’d like to stop that. I feel it important to “come out of the closet” with my depression and start to figure it out. If for nothing else, I want to be able to connect with other people who are struggling with depression and anxiety…or any mental health issue, really.
Anyway – I can’t even form complete thoughts and I can’t get this into a thread of thought that is concise. Just the thought is making me cringe to the point of stressing back into the closet. But you know what, right now I don’t think it needs to have much structure (cuz I sure as hell don’t have any rn). I have depression and I suffer from panic attacks and I am afraid. And if you are afraid and feel this way, I want to be there for you if you’ll be there for me, too. I miss the person I used to be. I want to find out who I am again. Let’s stop covering it up and let’s just come out with it.