Two weeks ago I had what was supposed to be the final breakdown. By late June, I was barely eating, I had no sex drive, I craved sleep, and going to work was like going to the dentist. To my credit, there was reason to hate everything all the time. I was just a month away from my one year anniversary in Los Angeles. Soon, I’d have to sign a new lease and reevaluate my place here. I was starting to have dangerous thoughts – the kind you only have when you are desperate – about fleeing the city and running to New York.
The fever finally broke when I took a dramatic U-turn on Melrose into a storefront psychic. While her unnamed child and vicious Chihuahua scampered around us, she told me that I wasn’t ready for New York and that I had to cleanse my darkness now.
Something clicked in me and I finally felt like myself for the first time in recent memory. Everything would be fine. I wasn’t going to cut out and run now. But, in a few months, when I had saved up money and gotten in therapy and some productive writing, I would be ready to leave L.A. I realized, finally, that I didn’t have to struggle any more. I had been fighting L.A. since the beginning, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t change it. Do you know how hard it is to spend every moment convincing yourself that you are smarter than everyone in an entire city?
Once I knew that I could leave L.A. and that succeeding in the industry right now was not what I wanted, I was liberated. Knowing that there was an expiration date before I could move to a real city with real people and actual youth allowed me to live on here. The battle was over, but it hadn’t ended in defeat. Los Angeles and I could back away from each other quietly and calmly, knowing that we’d face off again in mortal combat.
It was a new start.
It lasted about a week and a half.
A few days ago, Mr. Shadow returned. Like a tiny crack in the ice, the anti-feelings made themselves known. And once I started wondering if my dark days were back, I was immersed. Could I survive another one of these cycles?
With the help of a friend I put together what has so obviously been going on for at least a year. I have clinical depression.
On Friday, as the realization was coming together, I started to wonder how long I may have been going through this. Some months are a blur. So, I poured through Olde Blog Posts.
It looks like there were many nights that I thought exemplified and validated the emotional, tormented mind of a writer but really only prove that I was under the veil of a dark cloud within my brain. I was going out to fix something I wasn’t even aware was there. Now, don’t misread that. It’s not like going out in L.A. helped me push away the shame of my condition. I wouldn’t give this city that much credit. Even if I wanted to have so much fun that I forgot myself, I couldn’t. What, would I go on a bender at Micky’s? Black out while texting on my phone at Akbar?
Look, L.A. is pathetic. L.A. is scary. L.A. is more than I can handle at this point. But L.A. did not make me crazy. The world did not make me feel alone and sad and burnt out. There’s something wrong in my head and that’s what’s making me feel this way. There’s something wrong inside of me. It’s not something I can change with just willpower. Once again, let’s not put all the blame on me. Even when I’m at my most manic, I will still point out how embarrassing it is that one of the Gay epicenters of the planet couldn’t whip up an adequate celebration for the end of DOMA. I’m still me.
I’m going to try to find proper treatment and deal with this productively. But I don’t know that I’ve ever been so frightened in my life. I don’t like losing control, which I why I don’t like getting drunk or high. When they brought a stage hypnotherapist to camp, he was able to make me do things, but I was awake and remember all of it. Landmark Forum chafes me. I don’t like the idea that for a short time or forever, I might have to let go of a part of myself. And now I might have to kiss all of myself goodbye.
If I’ve been under Mr. Shadow’s control all this time, was that really me? And if it was and I start some medication or treatment, will I lose myself as I am?
Don’t worry. This isn’t going to become a therapy blog, even though it probably has been one from the start. Considering the fact that I only realized my condition by reading old posts from this very blog, perhaps I should just let this sentient body of writing live as it pleases. And be thankful that I don’t have a life-threatening illness. Can you imagine how unbearable I would be if I started writing a cancer blog or something?
There is one thing I’m excited about. This discovery threatens to invalidate most feelings I’ve had over the past year, at the least. My relation to the human world has shifted, as the blame has gone from everyone and everything around me to my own broken mind. Now that I realize that I know and have known absolutely nothing about myself, I can never write the same way again. What I thought was wrong with the world might not be. The person I thought I was might not exist.
So, if you are still reading this, at least you’ve got something to look forward to. What that is, I could never begin to guess.