So just recently I moved into my own apartment. This may not seem like a big deal, but it has to be seen in context. Despite being 33, I have never lived on my own; I have always lived with either friends, roommates, or family. It isn’t something I have spent a lot of time thinking about in the past; I always just accepted the presence of others. No, it’s more than that, I always wanted other people around.
Isolation has, for essentially the entire time I have suffered from depression, been one of the biggest triggers for my depression. When I spend too long away from other people, especially friends or family or other people I care about, depression rears its ugly head. But it almost never does so in a big, showy way. My depression takes its time – it works slowly and subtly, taking months to set in, so that I don’t notice what is happening to me.
By the time I do notice my depression has been slowly taking control, most of the time I am too far gone to do much about it – or even care. One thing I do know is that, while I may not know what is going on with my slow downward spiral, the people around me tend to. My friends and family notice long before I do that I am getting depressed – at least, when I am not making an effort to hide it. So being around them has been a sort of safety net for me – I don’t have to watch myself if they do it for me.
But, as much as I love my friends and family, it isn’t their job to watch me for signs. It is my life, and I can’t rely on them for my well-being. That’s a lot of pressure to put on my friends, and it isn’t pressure they need. I would like them to watch and see, but it shouldn’t be because I am not bothering to look at myself, which is what I have done in the past – it should only happen as a last resort, when I am simply too oblivious to see what is happening to me.
I’ll be honest, this living alone scares me. Yes, I can, in theory, have women over without worrying about my parents walking in. I don’t have to check with anyone else about any company I have over, I can watch what I want, decorate how I want. But I also have to rely on other people being willing to come over and visit me. I don’t have anyone who is guaranteed to be spending time here with me; I have to be the person to go out and invite others over, and I have to be the one who deals with it when some of them inevitably say no. I don’t deal with rejection well, historically, so that is intimidating.
I’m generally a pretty passive person. I don’t have the energy or the personality to be constantly asking people if they want to come over. Like at least one other former client in the ste-down program I left last week, I essentially just issued an open invitation to all the people I know around here to come over and hang out whenever I’m around, because the door is always open. It hasn’t really caught on yet. I don’t know if it will. I would love for someone to just come over and walk in and hang out, like I have done with the other former client, but I don’t know if that will happen.
It’s a little disappointing to have virtually nobody respond to invitations like that. It’s something I find hard to do, because I don’t want to seem needy or pathetic; I just want to hang out with people, and have other people feel comfortable enough with me to just come over. But it’s only been about two weeks, and I have no idea how long it took for that idea to catch on with others, so maybe it will start soon. Maybe I just have to keep reminding people that it’s a cool, safe place to hang out.
Maybe I’m just afraid to spend too much time alone. Maybe the reason my apartment seems empty is because, apart from me, there is almost never anyone else here. I don’t know, and I don’t know when I’ll find out. But until then, for those of you who know me and are reading this – you are always welcome at my place. If I have a book you want to read, a movie you want to watch, a game you want to play, feel free to borrow it. What’s mine is yours; what good is stuff if I can’t share it with friends?