Friday, December 07, 2007

The Depression Chronicles, Volume 2

I wasn't planning on going back to this so soon, but when the inspiration strikes me I should run with it. The other day, I started contemplating my future, and the bleakness of the unknown started to depress me. I feel like it used to be easier to make major changes and adapt to new situations, but then I started to wonder if it ever really was. I don't think it ever was.

When I was younger, I had just as many goals as anyone else, but I had no idea how to get there and, quite frankly, feared trying. These ideas of the future were no more than dreams and desires, not definite plans on reaching them. Every bold decision I made was the result of the reassurance of others that it would be a good decision. I'm not sure if I might lack the confidence in myself or if it's the anxiety convincing me that I do. I would live life from day to day, just kind of hoping that everything would fall into place while I made an effort almost unconscious in its ease to narrow my vision to actually working to make anything fall into place.

What troubles me now is that I seem to be doing the exact same thing. Sure I try for a different job every once in a while, but I'm not actively searching like I should be. I'm not trying or applying myself like I should be. I've fallen into the trap of familiarity, and I'm terrified to leave my comfort zone, even if this comfort zone sucks outright. I'm torn between working rational hours for minimal pay or working incomprehensible hours for abundant pay. It seems like the work force anymore is split into two warring factions — one side that gives little compensation, and the other that takes all your time — with no real middle ground. It seems that either path I follow, the outcome is going to be bleak in either one way or the other, and that fills me with dread, which in turn, depresses me.

I used to hoard money, afraid to spend any more than was absolutely necessary, not because I cared at all about money, but I was too afraid of being without it to waste it. I'm reverting back to that old mindset. When I was married, it took my wife to convince me that we could afford things, and that everything was going to be okay. She provided stability, a comfort zone to help embolden me in decision making. I felt like it was okay to make a wrong decision; that I still had a certain level of validation.

I don't want to sound co-dependant, but I don't have that support now. I don't have anyone to tell me that it's okay to make a wrong decision, that I'm still a worthwhile person. I'm the only person I have to rely on right now, and I'm paralyzed with fear. So I just keep living from day to day, hoping everything will fall into place instead of trying to make it. I say I'm putting the job search on hiatus until the next year, but was I really putting it on hiatus, or was I stalling so I didn't have to worry about it for a few more months?

I wish I could be one of those people who seem oblivious to the fear of failure, or view it as a challenge to overcome. Instead, the fear of failure prevents me from trying. Constant feelings of inadequacy rack my brain. Fears of having to leave my comfort zone and embrace the unknown overtake me. There are thousands of negative possibilities with every new prospect, and exploring each scenario pings my anxieties into shutdown.

I wish I could push aside the fear of failure. I wish I could stifle my inadequacies. I wish I could quit determining that every opportunity is somehow flawed. I think it's all just one excuse or another to avoid embracing the unknown. I feel so much more confident when I have support. When I'm the only person I have to rely on, it's too easy to let the fear take over. It's too easy to retract into my shell and adhere to the comfort zone I've made for myself, even if that comfort zone sucks. I'm not saying that I can't better myself. It just takes more willpower, more energy, for me to try than it does most people. It leaves me drained and riddled with self-doubt. I have to go a little bit at a time when I do try, because too much insecurity could easily lead to a depressive episode.

Of course, right now, I'd gauge my symptoms as "mild" to "moderate." I'm sure there are severe anxiety sufferers who can't even leave their houses for fear of the outside world. It all boils down to the same thing, though, the unwillingness to depart the routine and embrace the unknown. It's debilitating at best. I guess I'm luckier than some that I can identify the problem and at least try to overcome it, but that doesn't make it any less difficult. Especially when it's not a lack of desire to change, but a lack of confidence that compels me to refrain. That is probably what makes it the most frustrating.

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