A few years ago, a friend of mine told me what it’s like to be what he called “comfortably depressed.” To paraphrase, it’s an unhappy place that you choose to stay in because you’ve been there for so long that being unhappy is normal now. You’re so used to being depressed that it’s comfortable, and anything different would mean change, and change is uncomfortable.
I think comfortably depressed is how I’d describe my time of unemployment after I graduated from university. At first, I felt the high of graduating and holding an expensive piece of paper that took me 4 years (and thousands of dollars) to obtain. It was my greatest accomplishment (to date) in life and the start to a new future. The new future first started with applying to jobs I wanted, followed by applying to any job, and then to hardly applying to any jobs because all the rejections left me feeling depressed. Fights with my strict Asian parents led me to work a few minimum wage survival jobs that left me feeling like unconfident about myself. I already stopped believing in myself so I gave up on applying for a career because I didn’t believe I could do it when I was hardly good enough for these bottom-feeder jobs.
It was pretty much this cycle for a year or so until I went back to school, which gave me a whole new outlook on life. I think if I didn’t return to school, the next closest change in my life would have been suicide had my best friend not beat me to it in that year. Because of him, I learned that suicide wasn’t the way out for me, and while I knew I was unhappy with working at a factory, grocery store, or café, I didn’t do much to change my situation. I accepted my fate and stayed comfortably depressed.
The Fear of Change
It was after that conversation that I realized how often this occurs in life. Though these situations do not always involve depression, they do involve being stagnant just because one is used to it, despite knowing that there is or could be better out there. There are probably many reasons for it, but the fear of change is probably one of most common ones. For most of us, change is scary because it means stepping into an unknown, and we like to know what will happen rather than make predictions.
At school, since I’m in a Human Resources program, there are many group projects where we have to work with our classmates. It’s generally easier to find a group and stick with them for the whole year, which makes sense if you like the group. But I’ve met a handful of people who found groups that they don’t actually like and still choose to stick with them because they’re either used to it or don’t want to hurt other peoples’ feelings by leaving.
I’m sure we’ve all been there before. Whether it’s a relationship, friendship or dream that lasted longer than it should have, we remain stagnant even if we’re unhappy because it has become normal to us. While in some situations it may be right to be stagnant, in most cases, it’s not. We should only stay where we are if we’re happy, and if we’re not, then we shouldn’t be there unless we have a reason to believe it’ll lead us to happiness somewhere down the road. I say all of this acting like I know what I’m doing, but in all honesty, I don’t – I’m just a hypocrite.
Dreams of Becoming a Blogger
I have a blog because I have dreams of becoming a successful blogger, but more and more, I feel like I’ve held onto this for too long. My posts usually mention how I plan on writing more or that I doubt myself to the point where it’s time to put up the white flag. It’s as if my blog shouldn’t have been called “Picked Last in Gym Class” and called “Struggles of a Wannabe Writer” instead. At the rate I write, I might as well give up, which is something that crosses my mind more often than it should for someone who wants to be a writer. I’ve become comfortably depressed with my dreams of becoming a writer and I really don’t have a clue what I’m doing anymore.
PLIGC, Society’s Used Condom