This was not easy to publish, let alone to write. I am not someone who’s comfortable explaining my feelings – spoken or written. Furthermore, divulging something so personal about myself exposes me as a person. Judgement from others is scary. Also, I do not want to give off the impression that I am looking for pity or anything along those lines. However, I believe it’s important to talk about issues impacting our personal well-being and mental health. In a sense, the more we engage in conversation, the more we can create compassion and understanding towards each other, ultimately changing our society for the better (at least I hope so).
And I want this to serve as an explanation as to why I have been such a let-down this past winter. I have been quite the flaky friend – bailing last minute on plans, refusing to come out in the first place for non-reasons (such as „I’m not feeling it“), and at times giving of the impression that I did not value my friends enough, taking them for granted. That, of course, is far from the truth. And while I am not asking for an apology, I just want this to shed some light on why I was behaving this way. Why I was at an utter lack of drive and motivation – in daily life as much as in the upkeep of this online space.
Because, objectively, this was the best winter I’ve ever had.
And yet, it doesn’t feel that way.
95 days out on skis, and yet – emotionally, the season of cold and snow was unable to live up to the expectations I had about living in a fantastic ski town, skiing lots, and working little to not at all. Paradise, right? World capital of rad adventures, sick powder days, and endless fun, right?
For most of the winter months, the heart and spirit beared a high resemblance to the prevailing weather: dark and gloomy. I wasn’t enjoying the place where I was living whatsoever. Seeing how many of my friends, only around for the ski season, managed to score shared living situations, made me feel lonely. I felt bad for hanging around my house and not skiing.. When you live with friends, hanging out and doing little to nothing has a palpable, social dimension to it. When you don’t – you feel bad. Alone.
When you are able to live a life most people envy you for, you expect it to be awesome. If it’s not, you feel alienated from those around you. Worse, you feel guilty for not enjoying yourself as much as you think you should. If the life you live is objectively pretty lame and average, you feel like there is at least a tangible reason for you to feel empty, void, maybe even depressed. But if you get to enjoy a kickass, active lifestyle in the mountains, gleefully able to indulge in your passions, surrounded by individuals sharing said passions, then why would you still feel this emptiness inside?
Objectively, it doesn’t really makes sense. Objectively, this winter was just so good. But that is the caveat about being human: it is our emotional, subjective experience of life around us that creates the reality we live in – a reality unique to every individual.
So, subjectively, it wasn’t all fun times. There was a lot of worry that I constantly carried around. A dead weight I could not shake off. See – I need at least somewhat of a long-term plan of how my life will unfold. If this plan is not followed to a tee, that’s okay. But without something to look forward to, something to work for, I feel lost and unfulfilled. Heck, even the visit from my parents – some of the most important people in my life – for my birthday wasn’t able to turn things around in the slightest. I was at a loss.
I since have a better idea of what direction I want my life to take. I am planning huge adventures. I’m excited for what’s to come and cannot wait to share some of it with you all – another time. I also moved into a new home a few months ago and it’s at least 10,000 times better than before.
I’m also pretty damn certain that I suffer from seasonal affective disorder (or SAD, as it is poignantly referred to) during the dark months – at least a mild form of it. And you know, in hindsight – I should have seeked help. Either from friends and family, or from a professional. But my self-identity is so rooted in my independence that I did not reach out enough. Well, I know that next time I feel so down, I will not try to take care of it on my own. Lesson learned.
So, as mentioned above, I have since figured some things out and am back on track. I feel good. However, the experience of the past months remains with me. The edge of these darker waters will forever linger not too far away. But it is something I am aware of. If they creep closer, I know that I will do my best to reach out to those dear to me.
And I will talk. Because even if, objectively, you live a great life and are able to pursue your passions, it does not mean that you run, hike, bike and ski through life without a care in the world.
Our mental health doesn’t give a damn about the objective awesomeness of our lives.
And it’s good to acknowledge that.