Last night I had a dream that I was preparing for a boxing match against an unknown opponent. I was terrified.
While I was shadowboxing in a dark alley, I heard footsteps run towards me. A small boy ran into my leg and fell down on the soft snow, right on his butt.
"What are you doing here? You shouldn't be here alone at night."
"I'm sad. I wanna go there."
The kid pointed behind me towards a pitch black road with no street lights. Even I was scared of what lived in those dark corners.
"Why are you sad?"
"I don't know. I just am."
I looked the boy in the eyes and noticed his hair was just like mine when I was his age.
And his eye were like mine.
And his skin. And his voice.
By the time I realized it was me I was holding, I woke up in tears.
When I found out I had depression two years ago, I was shocked that this dark thing developed inside my head. I thought something was wrong with my job, my lifestyle, or my life that I had become this way so suddenly.
But over time I came to understand that my depression was always with me.
I can't recall if I had depression before 10yo, but I know I had dark, sad thoughts at an early age, and they never left. They just shifted from one art form and activity to another.
Sketching, painting, graphic design, fashion design, photography, and writing.
All of these hobbies were placeholders that allowed me to freely explore those dark corners of my mind safely.
The darkness is losing your job because you're incompetent.
The darkness is failing all your tests and getting kicked out of college.
The darkness is drowning in your own failures and realizing this is it. This is all you'll ever be.
I try to keep those thoughts behind me, but one thing I've learned is that you can't avoid them forever.
Those negative words and pessimistic thoughts are the opponents you need to fight in real life. Those are the TRUE battles you need to practice for.
It's not the job interview or the test you're worried about. It's the FEELING of isolation and failure that you're scared of. You don't want to feel bad. You don't want to feel like a failure.
But if you normalize failure and your own darkness, you learn to appreciate why they're there to begin with. They exist to keep you going.
Accept your depression and let your darkness motivate you.