Before I get too into this, it's imperative I add the disclaimer that I've yet to be officially diagnosed with any sort of mental health condition. Talking to someone about it is an unfortunate and intimidating hurdle that I can't seem to get past, despite people in my life asking that I do. I'm working on it, promise.
So a few weeks ago I was walking through central London with my friend Ellie. Try as I might, I never seem to be able to stop gravitating towards Soho as a go-to hangout spot; and so at one point we found ourselves passing the fairly prominent Leicester Square building where I used to work. As I looked up, out of habit, at the floor where I sat every day for about 3 years, she asked "Do you miss it?"
"I miss the stability," was my honest answer. I haven't kept it a big secret that work - actual, honest, non-Liam Dryden, Content Creator™ work - has been more elusive in the months since I left. It was a choice I made, and would make again; but there are still days when the memories of a steady salary have the same rosy feeling of the highlight reel we always mentally edit for ourselves after a breakup.
"I've definitely seen a change for the better in you since you left, though," added Ellie. "Less depressed, but maybe more anxiety."
The verbatim contents of a conversation rarely stick with me, but these words did. Because, at least for the past few years, this sliding scale between depressed and anxious seems to be my constant state of being. Both equally as debilitating, but almost opposites in the energy they conduct through me; and almost always defined by my career. I had a lot of anxiety before I had that job, then I was depressed while I was in it, now I'm anxious again. I'm partly blaming the ever uncertain month-to-month lifestyle my "income" dictates that I live - but, y'know, there's probably some brain stuff in there too.
I've gone most of my adult life believing I work best under pressure, usually faffing around on a project until the night before the deadline. This is a trait I found out recently that I inherited, when my Mum texted me asking for advice on how to focus on an assignment when working from home (I could barely help her). Part of me wonders if I don't crave the anxiety of failure in order to succeed; simply because I don't know any differently. Without pressure, where are the stakes? Does stability just cause a fear of complacency that ultimately invites depression? All I understand is that the sweeping relief I feel when I eventually land on my feet - whether it's just being able to scrape rent together on time, or make a deadline - is almost an addictive endorphin.
So yeah, this sliding scale is messy. And I know that pontificating on my Internet Blog is not exactly the most direct way of addressing the imbalance. But a personal goal of this year is to bring myself to task a little bit more; and so far, writing things down here has been an effective way of taking accountability. The next step is dealing with it in a more official, medical capacity. But baby steps, eh?
Also I need images to accompany these posts. I'm gonna start taking a photo of wherever I am when I write them. That's just a thing now.