Ciaran McBrearty talks about the importance of opening up to those around you so you never feel alone during tough times.
I had met Paul just once, but that was all it took for me to really like they guy, beautiful, smart, big kind eyes and big strong arms. He lived in Manchester and I lived in Dublin, but he made regular visits over here, so we texted over and back but when it came to meet again, I got that all too familiar silence that I would expect from a Grindr hook-up, but not from one of the good guys like Paul.
Until a few days later he told me he suffered from depression.
I felt like I had let him down by not realising, and then angry at myself for not picking up on it.
Having suffered from depression in the past, I wont ever forget how it feels. I remembered the lengths I went to make everyone think I was fine, the different masks I wore to ward off suspicion. All the excuses I made to keep the world that wanted to help me at bay, because it was easier to hide from a solution than it was to try to put into words how immeasurably desperate and weak it feels to be lonely and sad, in a world where real suffering and sadness is everywhere.
I think that guilt made it worse for me, how embarrassing it is to be consumed by pathetic self-induced sadness when there are people in the world devastated by the chaos of war, hunger and brutality, real physical reasons to be sad.
I recovered from my depression, with the help of my wonderful friends I let see past my mask and I’m very proud of myself.
That lonely noise I could never escape has gone quiet and the sounds of the things that matter, like playing with my nephew and nieces and hearing them laugh, or a song a friend played me that sticks in my head all day and reminds me how lucky I am to have them in my life. Most of all, thinking differently makes me happy in myself.
But then, I meet a lovely brilliant Paul and I remember how it feels sitting at a bus stop alone in the dark, having run but just missed the one before. That feeling of having no idea when or where the next one will be, or even where it will take me, but having no choice but to wait, and think that anywhere has to be better than the bus stop you always find yourself at.
It’s more than probable that we will all in our lives find ourselves stranded and alone at that bus stop. But asking for help from the people who love you is important, they are the people who show you that perhaps you’ve been waiting at the wrong bus stop for all this time.