Final Thoughts before Via Francigena

Just like last year’s Camino I feel like I’m heading into this with an idea that is going to be blown out of the water. Like I had mentioned with the Union Leader headline of “My Way to Kick Depression” only, it really wasn’t. This one’s more like “I’ve got my life figured out now, let’s help others” only, I don’t at all. So maybe this fundraiser I’ll be doing throughout this walk is really for me. Because I still really need that research on treatment-resistant depression as well. 

If I’m being honest, which I really do always try to be, I’m the most depressed I’ve been in over a year now. It’s been coming for a while, I’ve been trying to ignore it for a while, but if there’s anything I should know by now it’s that depression cannot be ignored. Maybe it’s my own fault – I had stopped going to therapy post-Camino. I was so good back then. I didn’t need therapy anymore. When I stopped lying to myself and realized I still needed therapy it was already March.

And here we are. 

Last spring, I was so amped for the Camino my therapist even questioned if I had bipolar depression since I had suddenly turned around so much. This year, if one more person asks me if I’m excited about leaving soon I might spontaneously burst into tears. I feel like depression’s flattened me like a pancake this past month. The worst part is, when I stop and finally acknowledge this, I can see all the signs in myself. I can see how I’ve been a spectator in my life lately. The way I sit with friends and smile and laugh but don’t actually feel any emotion. How I start to go through the motions instead of really living them. I can see how I need to think positive thoughts but instead allow myself to spiral and can’t even pull myself from bed on some days. I can see how I’ve pulled away from friends, isolated myself, deleted things to isolate myself further. All these people are asking to see me before I leave these past couple weeks and I’m about to crawl out of my skin because in this state I just want to be alone. Only I don’t. It’s the worst feeling ever and I can’t even fully explain it. 

I want to be alone and yet I’m so sick of being so lonely. The truth is, I just want to feel like I belong somewhere. 

I think that’s what I’ve been searching for all along and what has been a huge driving force for my depression. I’ve got all these people telling me how amazing the things I do are. How brave it is to go to a foreign country alone and walk thousands of kilometers with a dog. How cool it is to see I’ve published two books. How awesome it is that I have a full-time job and still manage a full-time student class load as well. But I don’t see any of those things. I don’t feel any of that. It doesn’t mean anything to me. I know that sounds bad, but it’s true. So I just keep going. And fighting. And searching. For something that will click in me. I’m still waiting to find that thing, that place, that person, that will finally make me feel like I belong. That I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. That after all this, I kept living for a reason. 

Maybe I’ll find it on the VF.

Maybe some research will find something that tells me there’s just some missing component in my brain that I can’t quite make that connection

 Who knows.