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Seattle is gloomy and the tide's rolled back in...

Photo by Ryan Moulton on Unsplash

 I want to talk about depression today.

Back in 2011, I was officially diagnosed with a severe mood disorder. My doctor called it a volatile combination of depression and generalized anxiety - with a big 'ol heaping of agoraphobia on top. This is the burden I carried with me every day, to and from college, and then I dragged it through every job I could hold down for more than a year. 

And by some miracle, in the last two years, it felt like that burden was becoming lighter and easier to carry with me. 

I made the mistake of thinking I could carry it across the country during a pandemic with no repercussions. I was so sure it wouldn't rear its ugly head while my partner and I tolerated month-long Airbnb reservations and desperately searched for jobs. I thought it would stay quiet while I grappled with the reality of not being able to visit family and friends for more than just safety reasons. Now, there are thousands of miles between me and everyone I knew or loved.  

I thought I would be okay while purging most of my earthly belongings, some things I had attached a lot of sentimental value to, so I could fit the rest of myself and my life into a small hatchback to move to the West Coast. I assumed, while cleaning up my cozy little studio apartment for the last time, that moving on would be easy. 

Trying to stay optimistic, I resisted comparing everything at my new home to the creature comforts I had become accustomed to back in Minnesota. The grocery stores and pharmacies were all different, but that was okay, because it was something new to explore! Super Targets are not a thing out here, but that's okay because now these department stores look they way they did when I was a child. It's not like I miss the mediocre deli sushi from a Target grocery department or anything. 

I stood at an intersection for Denny Way and Fairview Ave the other day. I have a vivid picture in my head of what Fairview Avenue looks like in Saint Paul, MN - and it is nothing like the corner I stood on in Seattle that day. A well adjusted person would likely not be very perturbed by something like that. But I was. And I suddenly felt so lost. 

Let's talk about what depression brings to a new job. It certainly doesn't show up bright-eyed and ready to learn. It arrives with imposter syndrome - a little voice reminding me that I'm not qualified to do any of this and sooner or later I'll fail - and in flows the intense desire to procrastinate. Checking email suddenly seems like a monumental task and the energy it takes to respond to one message could power the climb up Mount Everest. 

It's become so easy to retreat into something distracting and familiar. I binged the entirety of a new k-drama this week. As one episode bled into the next, I tried to tell myself that I should turn it off. I didn't and eventually the series wrapped up. Netflix was quick to recommend me a new show to lose myself in. 

Anything to tune out just how wrong it's all seem to have gone in the last few months. 

From the outside, I have nothing to complain about. New apartment. New job. New editing prospects

But this doesn't feel like my home. I've barely cooked anything in my kitchen even though I've been here for four weeks. I have all my skincare, makeup, and hair products neatly organized in the bathroom and I haven't touched any of them. My clothes hang in the closet, clean and fresh. I don't wear them because it's easier to throw on the same hoodie and leggings that I've been rotating through the last few days. 

Staring up at the Space Needle as I sip the coffee that's supposed to wake me has lost its charm. I'm not sure how to bring that back.


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