Depression is not something I readily chose to (a) believe that I had, or (b) was willing to admit I had. I still don’t know for sure to this day if I ever had clinical depression, but there are some times I really felt like I could have been borderline there, despite what I thought.
Of those times I thought I might have been close to depression? Definitely not during my college years. I think I was just whiney, sad, ill-motivated, and severely lacking in self-confidence. But that aside, I tormented myself for being unable to actually garner the attention of women. Sure, I could be the good friend, but I seemed to lack any capability to rope anyone in for anything beyond that. And my sappy-assed self got dejected and depressed over it. But really, that only sets the background stage for the environment my mood was brewing in, not in what really caused much of anything.
Driving back to college one weekend after a visit home to see the parents, I felt an overwhelming sadness hit me. It was disturbing; I was driving on the highway, nearly an hour from either major city on my route, and I just couldn’t stop crying. I felt worthless for some reason. Alone. Like no one gave a shit about me, despite having just spent an entire weekend home with my parents, wherein my mother feels the need to call me weekly if she hasn’t heard from me.
I wondered how it would end if I drove myself off the highway into the deep drainage ditch on the side of the highway.
I wondered how long it would take anyone to come and find me. Cell phones weren’t overly abundant in that day in North Dakota yet.
I wondered who would have given a shit.
I wondered how far back in the newspaper the freak news story would end up: ‘College student returning to school dies in accident on US-81.’
I couldn’t stop the flood of emotions for something like fifteen or twenty minutes. I didn’t care if anyone saw me like that on the highway. I just kept trying to get my shit back together, and start thinking normally again. I really worried that something in me might have irreversibly snapped, and I was forever broken.
Slowly, the tears ended. The anxiety within dissipated. I came back to some semblance of reality, despite the ache of my eyes and the burning in my face. I still can’t explain what happened that afternoon, but it was a minor reality check for the rest of my sorry outlook on the rest of my ’emotional strife’ I thought I had. Whatever I was going through, I did not want to re-trigger whatever the hell happened while I was on the highway.
And it never did. I never had that same outburst to such a depressing degree. I’ve had fits of crying where I thought I was broken, used, utterly scarred and forever marked for life, but I never thought about what would happen if I ended my life again. I try to chalk it up to being a situational response to an overwhelming depressive state, but I still don’t know.
Throughout the rest of college, I remembered exactly what mile marker that fit happened at. I even avoided that route to/from home because I was spooked by that spot on the highway; jinxed or some such, one might say. Years later, I could not even tell you where that happened. It’s just a freak emotional response that will remain forever buried as a ‘this one time…’ story.