For Your Reading Pleasure

I doubt this is much of a revelation for anyone, but I’ve been neglecting this space. Badly. And badly is perhaps the largest understatement I’ve made all year. It’s been over a year. I’m too embarrassed to actually check, and I’m not going to put in some note for me to fix this post later with a more accurate length of time.

So what happened?

Well, to be blunt, I got a Job. A real, grownup big person job with health insurance and a pension and all the other things that make a job a Job. And having that Job made me want to die.

We aren’t supposed to talk about that. I can hear my mother already hissing into my ear about how You can’t say that on the internet! What if you need some other Job in the future? What if they reeeaaad what you said? Which, I suppose that could happen. But does it really matter?

I had a Job. And having that Job made me want to die. That is not an understatement, nor is it hyperbole. The Job that I had seriously made me consider taking my own life. It made me feel trapped and discouraged and like the person I am didn’t matter.

I’m doubly not supposed to say that because that Job was teaching. Like, little kids. Like, this is how you multiply numbers together and why you might want to read for pleasure. I’m triply not supposed to say that because, despite everything, I like teaching. I might even want to do it again someday.

But my teaching Job made me want to die.

I have struggled with depression for more years than someone who is only 28 should. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t struggle. Suicidal ideation is as novel to me as eating cereal for breakfast.

What if they reeeaaad what you said?

Yes, what if they read what I said. What if someone finds out that I struggle with depression. That I have pondered the various ways I could end my life, both in absurdly creative manners and in ones so cliche they’re boring. What if they read what I said and realize I dare want to be around children. Around people. Around life.

To which I say: that’s exactly the fucking problem.

We live in the era of social media. We are to curate our lives into this rosy, perfect package. We project our best selves. We are eternally successful and happy and doing exactly what we’re meant to do.

But what happens when you suddenly find yourself not living your best life? It’s not enough to curl under the blankets because it is just too much to get out of bed. You cannot just hide. You must disappear.

And so I did.

I carefully stopped talking about myself anywhere. I neglected this blog. I let my business venture die. I stopped responding to email. I ceased updating Facebook. If anyone asked, I said I was happier living my life than documenting. Never mind that I was barely breathing, let alone living.

Saying ‘I am depressed’ is the unspeakable secret. I’m not living the best life. I’m not doing okay. It’s not so much that I want to die, I just wish I didn’t exist.

What if they reeeaaad what you said?

I think being a grownup with an important Job is the loneliest I have ever felt. It brought me the furthest I have ever been from myself. The depression that settled over me was unlike the depression I have come to call ‘normal life.’ It sucked every ounce of desire from my body. I no longer cared I hated my life. I no longer cared the artist in me was choking. I no longer cared to be seen. I made myself smaller. I stripped away everything, including the thing that has always been my greatest asset: my voice.

And fuck that.

What if they reeeaaad what you said?

Fuck all of this bullshit. I don’t want to be silent anymore. I don’t want to sit here, biting my fingernails, worrying about what if someone reads something I wrote.

Isn’t that the whole point? Isn’t that the whole goddamn point?

In case you’re wondering, I feel a lot better now. Now that my Job is not my job. I am slowly finding my way back to a place where I can confidently say my name and say I am a writer.

Mom, you don’t understand. I am not ashamed of myself anymore. I want them to read what I said.

Share your thoughts. Go on, do it.
  1. Nancy Pearn says:

    Hi Wren,

    I don’t know if you remember me. I worked as an aide at [redacted] during the time you were there. You had a wonderful way with one of the young boys that we had in first grade. I had so such a hard time that year and you would come down and help with some of our students.

    I just wanted to let you know that I read your blog. I have to say I am so glad more and more people are speaking out about depression. I have several family members that have suffered with it. I myself am on an antidepressant. I started on it about 8 years ago and continue to take it every day. My paternal grandmother was institutionalized after my Dad was born. Probably today it would be considered starting with post pardum. My paternal grandfather committed suicide. It is nobody’s fault or something to be ashamed of. It is a physical brain thing. My daughter went through a period of depression while I was working at [redacted]. First of all, I cannot hide my emotions when I am upset. Secondly, I spoke out about her depression and how glad I was that she could come to me and ask for help. So, I am so glad to read your blog and that you are settling back into writing. We are who we are and we need to recognize it and do what makes us happy. We only have one life to live and it’s ours to live it free of what people think is right or wrong for us. Anyway good luck in your ventures! God’s peace and love to you.

    Reply
    • Wren Roberts says:

      Nancy, how could I forget you??

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. Depression is a many-faced beast, and I have been completely overwhelmed with the amount of support many of my former coworkers in education have given me. Including you! It is really comforting to know that I am not the only person in the education business who has felt this way.

      Reply
  2. You are awesome, Wren, and I am enjoying getting to know the real you! I’m sorry that it was so awful and I’m tremendously happy for you that it is over and you have started a new chapter in your life and you are getting happier every day!

    Reply

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