I don’t know if it’s depression, ADHD, or my personality just simply IS this way, but there are some moments in life which create an emotional response in me that elicits vast loneliness. For I am the only person to have felt such intense emotion.
When I lost the Astounding Award (formerly the Campbell Award) the disappointment was nearly overwhelming. I felt as if my soul had fallen out and I was wandering around the Chicago hotel, dragging it behind me like one of Marley’s lockboxes. At one point, I lifted my head and realized that the majority of nominees had also lost that night. That’s how awards go. For every category there were four people or more who were probably as disappointed as me. I just didn’t see them dragging their dusty souls behind them.
After giving birth, something that happens to about 35% of humans on Earth (I’m guessing here, don’t @ me), I felt as if my birth story were the beautiful and glorious event that no one can ever feel.
I’m very close with my daughter. Therefore, when she went to college, the intense sense of empty nest loss was such that I believed no one has ever felt it. MY pain was unique, you see.
I mean, I’ve even felt that the emotions from my COVID situation is unique, and I’ll be the first to say that’s offensive to anyone who’s gotten sick and/or lost loved ones to this pandemic.
I’m starting to call this “it’s just me” syndrome, because once you name it, you can fight it. (I think I read that in a fantasy novel about fairies or something). While it feels selfish, it’s also self-destructive because if you don’t share with others to learn their experiences, you will think you’re the only one. Some people wonder why they’re the only ones to feel something (like depression after finishing a book), and the point is just no one is talking about it.
So when you get rejected and you’re convinced that no one has been that disappointed, you’re not alone. When you feel that the pandemic has slowed down your career, you’re not alone.
And guess what? If you hear that there are tons of people who are still struggling with the past 20 months events, but you only see people who are working and happy and successful, remember that you’re not seeing the people who are lost and depressed because instead of being in the public eye or on social media, they’re probably wandering their house like you, wondering if things will ever improve.
Haven’t heard from a friend in a while? Send them a note. I got a PAPER NOTE WITH A STAMP AND ALL in them mail today from someone who saw me having a bad day on Twitter and she wanted to say hi.
In a lot of ways, we are not unique. And sometimes that’s very good, because it helps us understand each other. Be kind. One way to help yourself is helping others; for most, it literally gives your brain a burst of happy chemicals.
“When you help others, you can’t help helping yourself!” ~Avenue Q