I have been depressed for years now, pretty much ever since I enrolled in college in 2015, but maybe even a bit before that. Their were certainly ebbs and flows in how severe the depression was, but the common thread was always some sense of loneliness. My social life was usually minimal, and in college I never really put too much effort into putting myself out there and socializing with people. That’s where I feel like a lot of my depression really started, me lying alone in my dorm room for hours, not doing much of anything. There were things that I certainly got enjoyment from, like my YouTube videos which I really started dedicating myself to from that point on, and my usual nerdy hobbies like video games and television. But underneath it all depression was always there. Through 2019 I had decent working relationships with people, but didn’t really engage with co-workers that much, both in and outside of work.
In 2020 I thought I had finally figured it out. I decided I would make a conscious effort to be more sociable because even though I had convinced myself when I was growing up that I was a “loner,” I really do love getting to know people and having real friendships. I started finding more and more people who I enjoyed talking to, some of which I had worked with for a couple of years but never really took the time to know. I eventually started a group through which I would play Among Us with a bunch of these friends weekly, and I really loved it. It gave me something to look forward to each week, and despite being in the midst of a pandemic, I really had more of a “social life” than I had had in a long time. I didn’t necessarily enjoy my job, but at least I had some awesome people there who I cared about that I got to see every day. I was proud of the group I had put together. I always felt like an outcast in high school, even among some of my friend groups, but I thought I had finally found a group in which I was truly accepted. I cared about them, and would have done anything for them. I always did my best to be a good friend. Through the year, I got keychains for everyone in the group to show my appreciation and spent a lot on Christmas gifts for a bunch of them, which I sincerely really enjoyed putting together. I never expected anything in return, I just wanted to show my appreciation for them since I never really had a group of friends like that. Their friendship was enough for me.
Fast-forward to the beginning of 2021. One week I’m on good terms with everyone, messaging and playing games with the group like usual. The next week I am alienated, ostracized, and completely ex-communicated from the group entirely. All of these people that I cared about stopped responding to my messages, and some of them blocked and unfriended me on everything outright. I hadn’t done anything but be a good friend to these people, and I was the same person that everyone was on good terms with just a week before, so I was truly shocked. It seemed that everyone had decided overnight that I was a horrible person and I never got the memo. I reached out to everyone individually, looking for some kind of answer or at least someone who would hear me out during all of this since I felt so isolated and alone at this point. But none of them responded. I was really lost.
After hearing about some of the things my friends were apparently saying about me, the only conclusion I could reach was that someone had made up a story about me and spread it around, since a lot of what I was hearing was just completely false. And to this day, I truly don’t know how someone could hate me enough to do something like this to me. This wasn’t just silly drama, either, it was horribly defamatory gossip that was carelessly being used against me when I wasn’t even able to or allowed the chance to defend myself. All of these people who I considered friends thought I was “playing the victim” when in reality, they had never considered that these things weren’t true and none of them even bothered to reach out before casting judgment on me.
These couple of weeks were some of the worst of my life. In one fell swoop, my work life was completely turned on its head, most of my friends turned their backs on me without a second thought, and I was unwelcome in a group that I had put my heart and soul into. If they had cut me off for something I actually did, I feel like I would have been able to deal with this a lot better. But that wasn’t the case. I understand why they were so quick to believe these things because I can’t even fathom why someone would go to such great lengths to try to ruin my life and make something up about me like this, especially something so damaging. It didn’t make sense to me then and it doesn’t make sense to me now. So of course it wouldn’t make sense to them either. I struggle to think of what I could have done differently. All I ever did was try to be nice to everyone. I really cared about them.
What hurt the most was that none of the people in this friend group cared to reach out to me and none of them cared to respond when I reached out to them. So much of the hell that I’ve gone through could have been avoided if even one of them stopped to question this and listen to my perspective. It was as if everything good I ever did for the group suddenly meant nothing, and it only took one hurtful lie about me to do it. I sat alone in my room for days after this, either crying or staring blankly, unable to motivate myself to do anything meaningful. Luckily I wasn’t suicidal, but they certainly didn’t know that and it isn’t lost on me that people in similar situations have killed themselves. I had even talked to some of them about how I was so depressed before all of this. So getting no response hurt more than I ever could have imagined. These people who I considered friends all hate me because of something that isn’t true and there is nothing that I can do about it. If I could prove it to them, show them that these things aren’t true, I would gladly do it, but I can’t because it’s all word-of-mouth and the well has already been poisoned against me.
Luckily there are a couple of people outside of this group who were kind enough to speak to me on a human level and who were really there for me. You know who you are and I appreciate you now more than ever. Because of this traumatic experience and how so many people have treated me, I went to therapy for the first time ever a couple of days ago as well. A common sentiment among my therapist and those who still care about me can essentially be boiled down to this: “Fuck them, they are awful, if they are treating you like this then they were probably never really your friends to begin with. They would have heard you out.” Yeah, it is true that I have been horribly mistreated and they have caused me so much pain in such a short amount of time, but, and maybe I’m being naïve in saying this, I can’t accept that it was all malicious and that they never cared about me all along. I have to believe that many of them are good people but they truly believe that I am the horrible one and therefore they think they are justified in cutting me off. They were horribly misled and how they handled everything was horrible, but I don’t think they are horrible people. And that’s why this hurts as much as it does.
I’ve literally had dreams where the person who started all of this comes forward and admits to everyone that they made everything up, and everyone apologizes for how they treated me and everything goes back to how it was again, but unfortunately I don’t think that is going to happen. Instead I have no choice but to move forward and basically start from scratch. Everything I worked towards in 2020, and all the progress I thought I was making mentally/emotionally, has been lost. I am more depressed than I have ever been. I’m hard on myself a lot but I know I didn’t deserve any of this. I don’t really know what the lesson is that I should be taking from all of this. I never in a million years could have anticipated something like this. That being said…
I am down but not out. When all this happened to me, I was almost catatonic. I didn’t know what to do with myself, I was hopeless, and I wasn’t sure if I could ever be happy again. My whole world was crashing down around me. But now I’m trying to put my best foot forward. Although this pain surely won’t go away anytime soon and I can’t just forget that this happened, I’m already infinitely better than the catatonic state I was in a couple of weeks ago. The only silver lining I can glean from all of this is a true motivation to change where I’m at in life, work towards what I want, and focus on the things I love. And perhaps that motivation is truer now than it had been for quite some time. It’s just a shame that it took something like this to really motivate me.
You might be confused as to why I decided to post this in the first place. Frankly, it is no one’s business, but it’s something I felt like I needed to do. I’ve always been a pretty open book and I have put so much of myself out there on the internet over the years, but never really just my raw thoughts/feelings in this way. Since I have been cut off by so many people I cared about, I wanted to use this as a way to vent and let my voice be heard on some level. And in addition to that, I didn’t feel like it would be fair to those still in my life for me to just pretend like nothing’s going on and act like everything is business as usual. Like it or not, this was an awful experience in my life that I won’t soon forget, and I’m sure the effects of it will be felt in my personality and friendships I have on and off of the internet. So for those of you who actually took the time to read through all of this hell, perhaps this will provide some added context as to why I might not seem entirely like myself lately. And thank you for taking the time to understand.
All in all this was pretty therapeutic for me so if I can keep myself committed to it, I’m going to try to make this a weekly thing where I can talk about what’s going on and how I’m feeling. Usually everything I post on the internet is through the lens of talking about some form of entertainment like music, film, or gaming so it would be interesting to have an on-going series of blogs focused on my mental health and introspection more than anything else. We’ll see.