Have you ever been in a rut?
And I don’t mean like a rut where you don’t want to get out of bed one morning because of PMS like symptoms but a rut that seems to go on forever. You just can’t find the sunshine, you just can’t grasp the joy, and you just can’t seem to move forward.
Everyday seems like a routine and you can’t wait for the end of the day so you can get a few hours of losing consciousness before it starts right up again. You do a lot of things to get out of the rut: you pray, you try new things, you try to be kinder, you list down ten positive thing, and you work out only to find out that once those activities are over, you are still where you were before you got into all those things.
Calling my own personal rut depression isn’t something I dare do because my pesky optimistic self refuses to call it what it is. I also know people who have dealt with depression and I’d like to believe that saying I have it will disrespect people who are actually going through it.
As a child, I wasn’t particularly hard to please. I enjoyed my Sweet Valley and Baby Sitter Club books, watched my favorite TV shows, and just enjoyed time spent with family. Growing up, I’ve always been awkward and too much of a thinker to be involved with a big group of friends. My mean girl days started early, in fifth grade, and I got tired of it really fast. In high school, I decided to be the outsider, the odd eccentric girl out. Having strict parents also saved me from hours of parties, “hanging out”, and Alabang Town Center. I was just in my own little world and I loved it but somehow, I felt like there was still something that I needed to prove to the world. That my life was missing something because I didn’t have a boyfriend or a girl squad — I was a loner who enjoyed bad romantic movies and my family but the world made me feel like that wasn’t good enough.
I recall getting through college just fine but in my head, I had big dreams of becoming Manila’s next “IT” girl only to prove that I was making something out of myself. For years, I found myself saying yes to doing everything and working in a job that people called a “dream”. And for the first three years after leaving a teaching job I loved more than life, I was enjoying the limelight in a public relations career. God gave me the opportunity to work on the biggest brands in the country and I felt proud of myself.
But I also felt empty. There was no joy in telling stories to make people buy things. There was no purpose in it for me and yet I refused to believe it because of the fact that I maintained a certain lifestyle and I was too great in the game to sacrifice what I poured hours of my life into. I was good at it, I had friends in high places, and up until I got married, it was all I had. I had no friends to hang out every weekend, no social life to speak of, and if I wasn’t the successful career woman that I was then what defined me?
Sure, I listened to preachings, read my Bible, and understood Jesus’ love for me but in my head I was simply thanking God for the blessings of the wonderful life that I had. I pretended that I enjoyed the field that I was and maybe I did at one point but I always felt like a fish out of water. I paddled along because I knew that I had nowhere to go. I was 27 and felt like I’ve reached my peak.
So everyday became a drag and I resented it. I resented having to call newspapers day in and day out to share a story I couldn’t care about. Money was no longer a motivational factor – I simply did not like what I was doing. And so one day, I just left, albeit just for a vacation but now, three months into it, I have come to realize that I want out. For some people, the stress and the highlife was great but the peace that it took from me was too much.
The industry gave me so much and I was too prideful to admit that maybe the industry wasn’t for me. Just like a bad relationship, I held on to it for as long as I could without realizing that maybe God had other plans for me. For years, I have attached my identity to what I “did” eight hours a day, five days a week. It was very hard to let go of the life I thought was meant for me to enter into a state where the only thing I knew is the One who is taking me to the next chapter of my life.
It has been scary, at times depressing, but nevertheless liberating. I cannot wait for what God has in store for me and my little family next. But for now, I rest my high heels, put on my sneakers, and carry on to life’s next adventure.