A 15 minute conversation with my sister prepared me for the entire destruction of my personal world.
The three legged stool of a a deep depression was founded on:
1: Profoundly stagnant at work, yet couldn't leave to due to money and comfort - and when I say money, I mean not just the salary, but hundreds of thousands of dollars in side hustle money made playing the stock market (my job was in IT). The work I was doing in IT is becoming less and less viable nowadays due to the cloud and some other technical issues that I won't get into here.
2: Didn't date too much because I was in mourning for lost worlds - Brooklyn (where I grew up) is no longer a viable home for me and my father's death when I was 27 cranked the feelings of loss up to 11. I wasted a lot of time looking for someone so similar to me in religion, upbringing, etc. to the point of extreme narrow mindedness. I had friends, went to parties, traveled a bunch, but relationship experience was scant.
3: I refused to discuss my problems with anyone because I didn't think anyone really understood me. The real problem was that I was not communicating them well due to a mixture of intellectual arrogance, the depression, and the fear of exposure.
When I spoke to my sister (uncharacteristically), she, who is much smarter than I am, smashed the gates open with a blunt discussion of my real problems. I was reading "On Writing" by Stephen King at the time and the following quote from that book was supremely apropos:
"The pain was brilliant, like a poisonous inspiration."
I freaked the fuck out for about two weeks when I realized how right she was, and the resulting shock (which I can only imagine similar to PSTD) forced me to open up to all my friends, make amends with people I had harbored secret grudges against, and started me on a road towards growth, renewal and restructuring of everything that defined who I was.
That was about a year ago. You might think it was the end of the story, but it's not. In the ensuing year, the rest of the things that defined my life were changed or destroyed, including, but not limited to:
A renewed self awareness and extreme anxiety about lost time was the fuel that drove the engine of change for me, and the support I got from my family and friends and books during the rebuild were what kept me relatively sane during the subsequent collapse of the rest of everything else.
Lessons learned: Money solves nothing. Mourning the past solves nothing. Worrying about what others think solves nothing. You can't do everything on your own and people who care for you will play hero for you if you let them. But most importantly, proverbs are just proverbs until you experience them.
At that, my friends, is how I grew the fuck up.