A Year Depressed

17 January 2018

On January first, a switched flipped and the heavy feeling of depression I felt for all of 2017 was magically lifted. I don’t fully know how to explain it. I just woke up on the first day of January and was fine. I think it had mostly to do with my outlook and a bit to do with my physical state. I was a bit resigned last year to the fact that I’d be depressed all year, which probably became a self-fulfilling prophecy. I also had an injury and was in pain for the second half of last year, so I couldn’t exercise. It made me feel physically low as working out has traditionally been a form of antidepressant for me. I thought about going on medication but worried I’d be dependent on it. So I just kind of put my head down, did my work, and waited for the feeling to pass.

I’m feeling great now and am looking forward to a great year. I just have a great feeling about this year. My book and a number of other opportunities have me feeling that this is going to be an exciting, fulfilling year. And I am so thankful to not have the heavy feeling of depression weighing me down every day.

I wrote this essay last year from the depths of a depression. I’ve wavered a lot on whether to publish it. My first reason not to was mainly that it seemed like navel gazing and ultimately an exposition of my own privilege (I know my life is lucky and I am ever-thankful for that). It is that. But the reason I’m making these thoughts public is that I’m hoping they can be of use to other people struggling with depression and feeling let down by life.

Last year was the confrontation of my childhood expectations and my adult realities. It didn’t go well. In summary, the reason for my depression was losing my boyfriend who I loved very much and nearly simultaneously losing my job and having to start from ground zero from the depths of loneliness and depression. Read below to see what my response was.


Three years stick in my memory as the worst years yet.  The first was 1996, my freshman year of high school, when I went from being around the same kids I’d known my whole life at The Yosemite School to a high school two hours away in a town called Mariposa where all the students inexplicably spoke in southern accents, sat on trucks, and were predominantly racist and homophobic. Needless to say, this was not a safe space for a recently-out gay kid.

The next depressing year I remember is 2010. That was the year my nephew died in infancy, of an unforseen condition called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. He was the first born grandkid in our family and we were all devasted. The collective hope and joy my entire family felt transformed into a darkness that still isn’t fully gone, especially for my sister-in-law and my brother, whose pain was overwhelmingly tangible.

This happened right after the earthquakes in Haiti, and I remember my roommate in New York was watching coverage of the devastation there nonstop. I didn’t understand how someone could watch that. As news media has gotten more and more immediate, we can quickly view devastation as its happening, absorbing the sorrow of the entire world. I don’t think people are really meant to intake that much pain. I think people are built to absorb the calamities that happen in their communities. I’m not saying I think we should just ignore the world’s problems, I’m just saying that in having access to images and footage of the terrible things happening around the world, we are becoming desensitized to violence and pain. This coverage is slowly turning us sociopaths, people okay with seeing other people, real people, dying in front of our eyes on television.

This year is the third depressing year. I have been physically depressed for a year. I’m not that worried about it, because I know it’s situational depression, not really emblematic of a deeper issue with depression.

A lot of people I know are depressed this year. Our world seems to be crumbling. We are hearing more and more stories about black people being mistreated and murdered. We are hearing about the epidemic of sexual harassment and assault. We have a president who is actively trying to overturn any strides we made in the past eight years for healthcare and the environment. For anyone who cares about being part of a culture where equality, respect, and dignity are upheld, it’s been a rough year.

For me the depression has come in the form of a confrontation: my adolescent expectations vs. my actual adult life. I am supremely disappointed in how life turned out. This is not at all what I expected or what I’ve been working for for so many years.

I often present myself as a silly idiot online so I think I come across a like a little bit more of a slacker than I actually am. In reality, I’ve been working hard since I was fourteen years old (coincidentally when I got my first job, have always held a job since). I was a straight-A, high achieving high school student who ended up going to two different Ivy League schools and collecting four degrees. What I didn’t really anticipate about where I chose to go to school is how deeply it would affect my social circles, class identity, and expectations as an adult. After about seven years in Los Angeles I looked around and realized I had gotten myself involved with a social group that was a bit of a rat race. We were all working hard to keep up with each other. I decided I didn’t like that so I stepped aside and found a new group of friends, mostly artists and actors (who didn’t go to fancy schools).

Even as I’ve tried to step away from the lifestyle competition that is LA life, I’ve realized living here is inherently a hamster wheel. I make a pretty decent amount of money and I’m still struggling. The bar here is set high and reality is warped. A friend of mine who had a principle role on a sitcom last year and is a social media star told me last week he is probably going to lose his rented house soon. Somehow his money manager allowed him not to pay his taxes and now he owes $400,000. You’d never know any of this from reading his Instagram captions or meeting him at a party. He’s not telling anyone because he doesn’t want to seem desperate or poor. No one in this town wants you to think they “need” the work, they want to be hired because they’re wanted.

I know countless stories like this, of people in creative fields struggling to get by. I’m not saying this to make you feel sorry for them, we all made this choice to be creatives, I’m saying it because we only ever show the good stuff on social media. That is a disservice. That’s why I actually make a point of talking about it when I feel terrible. I don’t want what I put out into the world to contribute to people feeling like they don’t measure up, like I am somehow better or their lives aren’t good enough. Many of the people you love on social media are probably struggling to get by, living without healthcare, feeling like they don’t themselves measure up. Don’t believe anything you see on social media.

I am disenchanted with the culture I live in and contribute to. This has made me question whether I’d like to stay in Los Angeles. But I kinda don’t know where else I’d go. I feel stuck.

A year ago when my ex decided he didn’t want to be with me any more I was devastated. I didn’t really see it coming and I loved him, still do. Initially what was so jarring about it was the code switching. I’ve never been good at code switching. One day he is my boyfriend, the next not. That doesn’t compute for me.

My disappointment with the end of my last relationship is twofold. I’m obviously disappointed I couldn’t be/wasn’t the person my ex wanted to be with. But in looking around I’m also disappointed at the lack or relationships I see that I’d personally want to emulate. So many of my friends went through horrible breakups this year. And the people I do know in relationships seem to be so casual with each other that they either read as business partners or just friends. And honestly, almost every gay man I know is single. You’d think that would be a good thing as a single gay guy, but it’s kind of depressing. It doesn’t speak highly to the viability of finding a long-term partner, of finding life-long continuity with someone who knew you back when.

I guess I just didn’t expect grown up life to be this lonely. I spend hours a day writing and chatting (via Insta stories) to complete strangers. I do this because I love it. This seems like socializing, but it’s not. I often find myself completely alone. I didn’t expect grown up life to be quite this solitary. I thought I would have a support network, that I wouldn’t have to reach out to fifteen people in order to find one person to hang out with me. I have to constantly schedule with people in order to avoid being alone all the time. Because I’ve been pretty consistently in a relationship the past seven years, people don’t think to reach out. I get it, it’s my fault for entering into relationships and falling off friendships a bit (at least for mid-week hangouts) but it does suck to be going through something and receive so little output from other people, the expectation being that I always be the one to call. LET THIS BE A LESSON THAT IF YOU HAVE A FRIEND WHO IS DEPRESSED, CALL THEM. Just because they haven’t reached out doesn’t mean they hate you. It might just be they are sick of people rejecting their invites to hang out or not being available.

Okay, so this is pretty dark. But it’s got a good ending. I didn’t really want to write about any of this post-breakup/mid-thirties existential crisis stuff until I felt I had a pretty strong perspective on the past year. An interesting part of depression is that sometimes you can’t see it until you’re out of it. I can feel my chemistry changing, I am physically better. Last year, just a few days after Ex told me he wanted to end our relationship, I remember walking through the woods in Yosemite, freezing cold with wet feet and a face red and hot from crying. I just felt heavy. Like it was hard to move my boots. Life feels so dumb and pointless and meaningless sometimes. A slog. That night the power went out at the Ahwahnee hotel and I laid in bed shivering and feeling hollow. I don’t feel like that any more. I’m disappointed, not destroyed. I am so thankful to be out of that. Sure, it’ll come back in small moments of sadness, but overall it’s leaving my body.

Another gift of the past year is that in many ways it has made me fearless. I lost my boyfriend and my job so I didn’t have anything to base my self-worth on except myself. As a person who has based my entire self-esteem on achievements and relationships, that was rough. But it was also kind of like “Fuck it, I’ve got nothing to lose. I’m going to do whatever I want.” That has led to some great career opportunities this year. And I think it helped me in writing Get It Together (available for pre-order now, WINK) from a place of genuine, vulnerable humility. I’m really excited about the release of my first book and really proud that it’s a good one. The fact that I was a mess while I wrote it makes it so much more raw and funny, sad, entertaining, and relatable.

The last year has been terrible and depressing but it’s over. Thank God.


Hi! It’s 2018 Orlando again. Reading the above is difficult for me and kind of sad. Also, I think I had a hard time completely getting my point across. I guess the point of the whole thing was just to express how last year upon turning 35 I finally felt like an adult, and I felt a tremendous amount of disappointment about where my life was in terms of relationships, work, and life goals (i.e. buying a house). I’d imagine that this is a normal feeling that most people have at some point in their lives.

There’s no real conclusion here, aside from that I am so thankful to not feel depressed anymore. If there are people in your life who have experienced the loss of someone they love or a job, make sure you’re reaching out. As a culture we tend to only reach out to people when something great happens (they book a TV show, get married, publish a book). But it is when people are at their lowest that they really need some reach out. Be the bigger person and reach out to them.

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78 Comment

  1. Nora says:

    <3 Beautiful and timely post.

  2. Catherine says:

    Bless your heart. An Insta-stranger sending you heartfelt hugs for your bravery and honesty. So glad you are feeling lighter and brighter and thank you for all the funnies you share with us.

  3. Roberta says:

    Thanks for sharing something so personal. I understand what you have gone through – I felt some of the same feelings at around the same age. At the risk of sounding patronizing, let me also reassure you that as you get older, you appreciate spending time with yourself much, much more than you did when you were younger. It doesn’t feel lonely, or alone, it feels good. You actually enjoy your own company. Life is a journey, right? I think you are on the right path. Keep doing what you are doing – I just discovered your Instagram last year and now follow you because you are great.

  4. Ashley Grace says:

    Thank you for this beautiful post. <3

  5. Courtney says:

    When my own relationship dissolved several years ago, I felt that I wasted 14 years and had nothing to show for it. I was heart broken and depressed. However, what I hated most was that he moved on so quickly like I was a blip on his radar and I realized, I was….like anything if we are lucky enough, we all will live long lives filled with love, loss, regret, joy and sadness. My parents told me “time heals everything” and I wanted to punch a wall but in that saying there is wisdom — time doesn’t heal by itself, but how you spend that time is paramount on how you handle changes and disappointments in your life. I wish you the happiness you deserve. I wish you the success you rightfully want. And I wish you to do it in your own way that stands for who you are and where you want to go. Be well and much love!

  6. Molly says:

    This was wonderful. Thank you for writing and sharing. <3

  7. mackenzie says:

    As someone who constantly turns to your Instagram for the FUN Orlando, I hope you know, I, and I’m sure many other people, appreciate seeing this side of you too.

  8. Megan says:

    Your honesty and vulnerability are treasures to cherish. I know it sounds really cliche and totally lame, especially from a total stranger, but I think you’re a gem and I sincerely love you and your voice and your creativity. Well done and bravo for fighting your way back! xo

  9. Nanette says:

    I’m so glad you shared this and that you are recognizing what you need to thrive and not just survive. These are important lessons for all of us and I appreciate your willingness to be vulnerable and open. I’ve missed your regular posts so much and always enjoy your design point of view as well as your humor. Here’s to a wonderful year ahead!

  10. alison says:

    So well said and bravo for posting! So So much truth is everything you said!

  11. Emily says:

    Thank you for sharing this Orlando and for how honest you have been publicly with your struggles. I read through a couple of your post-breakup posts numerous times after my own relationship ended. They were so helpful. I love your voice and can not wait to read your book!

  12. Lori says:

    I think this is a beautiful post. I miss honesty and heart on the internet. I think when we reach out and share our feelings it helps other people. I also wanted to throw my 2 cents in about money, I think it’s very hard these days to feel confident with income. Everything seems to be fighting against that, prices continue to go up for everything and I just feel like we are treading along trying to keep up. Also no one really talks about this but marriage feels very lonely a lot of times too. I feel like puppy every time I see my husband. I wasn’t able to have children and he is all I have and it’s terribly scary, I have nightmares every single night. It’s unbelievable that I experience losing him every night when I fall asleep. So anyway thanks for your honesty your stories make me smile every day.

  13. Rachel says:

    Beautiful post! I started following you on social media for your humor. I continue to follow you because you keep it REAL (I don’t quite like that saying but I think it rings true here). Amidst all the staged social media bull shit, you have no problem showing that, like all of us, you don’t have it all figured out.

    Thank you for sharing your story. This is my first time reading your blog and I can’t wait to read more. I sincerely wish you all the best in 2018 and beyond!

  14. Mari says:

    Orlando, you’re the best <3 Thank you for your honesty.

  15. Sarah says:

    Appreciate this post and your vulnerability in sharing it Orlando. Losing someone you care about is devastating and gutting; I am glad you’re getting through to the other side while taking the lessons you learned with you. All the best to you in 2018.

  16. Lindsay Unwin says:

    This is lovely and real. You are so strong for sharing your feelings. So many others will read this and find solace. Also youre hilarious! I watch your instastories @ the office and die laughing ALL DAY. Keep doing YOU!

  17. CMF says:

    I think you did the right thing in publishing this post – it is helpful to hear about others struggles as we go through life. It truly does make you feel less alone.
    For what it’s worth, I am 38 and actually have the life I wanted — picture perfect from the outside. House, two gorgeous little girls, husband, etc, but I am also often disappointed in the realities of being an adult. I have suffered from anxiety since I had my first child 7 years ago, and sometimes the stress of taking care of myself, my husband and two young children can be too much to bear. I also constantly worry about the environment and safety of my children in this country and, as you mentioned, this year has not been a good one if you are concerned about those things.
    Finally, I couldn’t agree more about media and too much pain. I deleted Facebook off of my phone because the sadness and constant “breaking news” regarding some tradgedy was literally sucking the life from me. I used to feel like I should just deal with the sadness, as putting my head in the sand would just make me just another privledged a-hole. But, for me at least, there is a limit to the amount of pain I can process and still be a function person and be present for my family. I truly hope 2018 continues on an upward path for you and I enjoy reading your blog and seeing your stories. Take care.

  18. Jill says:

    I’ve only recently tuned into you (IG and here) and had kind of put you in one “box,” only to read this and be reminded how little one can know a person from social media. I’m slogging through the depression thing myself right now and it SUCKS and yes, I wish people would reach out. I’m lonely, but also feel like I’m not that great to be around due to the depression so I don’t want to disappoint people with my presence. Ugh. Thanks for sharing your real, honest self; the only box I’ll put you in now is labeled “awesome people” and has lots of snacks and blankets. May you have a wonderful 2018!

  19. Steph says:

    Such a great read. Adulthood is much more lonely than I thought possible. People are not who I thought they would be, and aren’t in my life the way I had imagined. Finding happiness within myself is the goal, not dependent on achievements or others. Thank you for sharing this!

  20. Thank you for this thoughtful post reminding us all that just about everyone is privately suffering for various reasons. I think this emphasizes the importance of us all being kinder to one another.
    Another thing that jumped out at me from your post is the realities of choosing a creative life, which unfortunately our society does not value as much as it should. I’m an art history grad student (and have always made art too) and have really been thinking about this as I prepare to try to find a job. Art, beauty, and creativity are so important in our often dark world, and even though making a living from them can be so hard, I still think it’s a noble and worthwhile thing to make a life out of trying to pursue them.
    So glad for you that you are feeling better with the new year, and sending you hugs! Seriously cannot wait for your book.

  21. Deb says:

    Thank you for writing this. It will resonate with so many people, myself included. (And I’m a 60 yo straight woman with four kids around your age!) Keep writing, keep posting, keep brandishing those Nate Berkus for Target scissors!

  22. Meagan says:

    This was absolutely beautiful! I can connect with so much of what your wrote and appreciate your vulnerability. I love watching your instastories and have got my brother hooked on them as well. Thank you for sharing! YOU ARE AWESOME!

  23. Travis says:

    This is such a refreshing experience of life today! As someone who’s also had layoffs and career setbacks, it’s been tough to enter my 30s without feeling like a failure in this area of my life. And desperately trying not to compare myself to friends or other people, who may or may not be doing as well or better than I am in areas of life.
    I’ve been following along since just before your breakup, and I appreciate your approach to handling it with humor and honesty! You’re a great guy, good luck on your big year ahead and I can’t wait for your book!

  24. Nicki says:

    I think if there were more of this kind of honesty we’d be in a collectively better place. Thank you for sharing the bad with the good. I think we can all relate in one way or another. You give a lot to your audience and I hope you feel the love back attcha!

  25. Jacqui says:

    Thank you so much for writing this and sharing your honesty for others 🙌

  26. Sara says:

    Thank you for this post!! I really struggle comparing myself to others on social media so it’s a good perspective that no one has it together. I’ve heard you as a guest on Throwing Shade and you are so funny and intelligent. I’m glad things are turning around for you! Sending warm wishes from Portland Oregon.

  27. Molly says:

    You have so many gifts, and writing is definitely one of them. I can’t wait to buy your book! Thank you for continuing to share and be so intimate, it’s so refreshing and appreciated. You are not alone.

  28. Emma says:

    Orlando, your personal posts make me love you even more than I thought possible. I’ve always loved your humor, but your honesty this past year continues to hit home for me and make me feel less alone. Keep true to your voice, Orlando. It is one of a kind. Can’t wait to get my hands on your new book!

  29. DOROTHY says:

    Thank you for your honest post. Even though I don’t know you personally (just die over your IGs), I feel pretty proud of you for making it out of 2017 🙂

  30. Julia Jones says:

    Orlando,

    I am one of your followers, and adore you and your stories. Your openness and vulnerability are incredibly refreshing. I am really struck by a number of things you wrote about, and want to thank you! Glad (relieved) that you have the self-worth, and insight to truly share your story—-the good, bad, sad……….

    Julia

  31. Thank you for reminding us that friendship is most needed when it is most uncomfortable (no one wants to listen to someone cry/scream/rant about their problems for hours/day/months on end).

  32. Julie says:

    Thank you for being so honest. I’ve had a very difficult year also but not shared any of it with anyone. You’re very brave. Hope 2018 will be happier. Hugs.

  33. Paige says:

    Thank you for sharing. For me, one of the hardest parts of growing up has been accepting the difference between my expectations (of myself, of other people, of my life in general) and reality (that all of those aspects will fail sometimes). I’ve felt a lot of frustration and discontentment in that space between. Again, thanks for sharing. It’s good to remember this lesson and be able to adjust my expectations, hopes, and dreams sometimes to be nicer and gentler on myself and others.

  34. Tori H. says:

    Orlando, I’ve been following your journey over the past year and it paralleled so closely what I went through a few years ago. When the bottom drops out, it’s like you’ve been punched in the gut and can’t catch your breath. My boyfriend (who I thought was going to marry me) unceremoniously broke up with me (on my birthday!!!) and I spent the next year couch surfing and also dealing with an awful family situation. My world felt like it was sinking in quicksand. When you go through that in your 30s, and then see what seems like everyone around you buying homes, getting married, pretty much winning at life…it’s pretty much the worst. But then out of nowhere, the weight on your shoulders lifts. And I’m so stoked to see that happen for you! You are seriously the funniest person and your posts always crack me up 😀 And as a fellow LA habitant, the struggle is real, but we just keep on truckin’. You’re the best (and I can’t wait to finally read your book!) xoxo

  35. Danielle says:

    Thank you for sharing! I love your silliness on Instastories – and cannot wait til your book comes out – but I appreciate your honesty in dealing with your struggles as well. I’m sorry 2017 was such a shitty year for you – and for our country, as well. I am eternally hopeful that it will get better – for all of us!

  36. Patti Arnold says:

    A friend suggested I follow you on instagram and I have loved you ever since. Our group of 3 best friends all follow and adore everything you do. You are funny and seem kind and so so handsome. We will all buy the book too. This post is important because everybody goes through shit, and this shows that it does get better. Anyways. Love your face off. Oxoxox

  37. Sarah says:

    “I’m disappointed, not destroyed” made me burst in to tears. I’m still working my way out of the disaster that was 2017 and I thank you so much for your honesty. And I look forward to your instastories an embarrassing amount. So glad things are turning around for you. Here’s to better things in 2018.

  38. Annie Bethancourt says:

    DAMNDO Orlando. I’m with you. As a 36 year old single woman whose ovaries are slowing shriveling to sad and desperate dust inside, I totally get that feeling of “this is NOT what I expected from my current life situation.” I think the two things we weren’t told as kids of the 80’s are: “Life is not fair” and “it’s ok to be sad.” So we grew up with a messy cocktail emotional mixer of entitlement and the inability to process when things didn’t go as planned. I went through a dark, depressed season too (#victim), and now on the other side I’m actually very glad I got the chance to look that shit straight in its nasty eyeballs and gain some tools. I think contentment is work, the shaping of your brain to see good, and that’s an even harder brain work to do in today’s culture where we are constantly bombarded with images of perfection and comparison. This is why real, tangible relationship is so huge–we see beyond the facade and can have broader perspective. Thank you for sharing your perspective. You are a joy to my day and the only instastories I watch (shhh, don’t tell my friends). Also, I am in the OC/LA area recording a Christmas album for the next 3 months (true story) so I’M TOTALLY FREE TO HANG OUT MID WEEK. Just sayin’.

    Annie
    Oh P.S. If you haven’t read Ali Brosh’s story about her depression coming to a head when she couldn’t rent Jumanji, YOU NEED TO. It’s the best: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2011/10/adventures-in-depression.html

  39. Liz says:

    You are amazing and I really appreciate you sharing these parts of yourself! Even when you are low, you are thinking about others. That’s such a rare and beautiful quality. Thank you for exposing the other side of social media. We cannot ever hear enough of that message. From a long time reader and fan–I am so glad to hear you are feeling better. 🙂

  40. Christine Schwalm Design says:

    This was about 10 years ago, but I had a friend, a person I thought was a good friend, tell me the reason they hadn’t called to get together in a while was because I’d seemed so down. They liked “fun” Christine. I’ll never forget it. We were standing outside the ladies room at a restaurant and I thought, “you’re not my friend anymore”. And it made me so sad.
    Yeah, I like “fun” Christine better, too. It means things are going well. But if you’re only around when things are good, that’s kind of a bs friendship. Thanks, but no thanks.

  41. Kasi Allen says:

    Oh man did this resonate with me. I’m so glad you’re being open about it, I hate that depression is something we skirt around like we’re ashamed. When I’m with friends or whatever and I say something like, “oh yeah, that was when I was deeply depressed and I did a lot of crazy shit because of it,” the room just shuts down. We need to talk about it because it happens to so much of us and frankly, depression is such bullshit.

    I’m a huge fan of yours, I have been for a long time and I love where you’re going. *hugs*

  42. Beth says:

    Life is just so hard some seasons. So glad you share it all with us friendly strangers. It never gets old to know other people, behind the screen, go through the same ups and downs. Can’t wait to see what 2018 brings for you!

  43. bekah says:

    thank you Orlando, I feel like my january is coming and its nice to read this from someone I think I’d be friends with in real life. please consider yourself hugged.

  44. Cindy says:

    Right? What the HELL, adulthood?

    Thanks for posting and being courageous.

  45. LALH says:

    Hugs!

  46. Paula says:

    Orlando, I remember first seeing you on Emily Henderson’s tv series and thinking “I wanna see more of HIM”. This post is beautifully written, and will strike a chord with so many. I am so glad you’re feeling better. Nobody has it all worked out, and bless you for being brave enough to be honest about it.

  47. Danielle says:

    I have been reading your stories from the time your wonderful presence was a part of Emily’s show on HGTV…you make me laugh so hard, but also, thank you so much for sharing your vulnerability. It reminds me I’m not alone in a lot of my really difficult feelings- that my own heaviness doesn’t make me an isolated, grotesque monster- as I sometimes feel. What you have shared means a lot!!! <3 <3<3

  48. Antonina says:

    thank you for this post, I feel a bit better now

  49. Thank you for sharing this, Orlando. I know what you mean about Los Angeles. I lived there for ten years. It can be a very hard place to live. I was depressed most of the time I lived there and didn’t realize it until I moved to Italy.

    Social media is usually the highlight reel of someone’s life and it’s easy to forget that. I like that you open up and show that life can be lonely, difficult, and tough even when you work in a glamorous field.

    Here’s to a great 2018!

  50. Thank you for this post. So much truth and deep self-reflection…it’s really inspiring. I know how it feels to be depressed for a long time, to be so tired of being tired. I’m so glad the fog is finally starting to clear for you. ❤️

  51. I appreciate you taking the time and emotional energy to share this. To talk about depression – or even about being ‘a bit blue’ for no particular reason – is so important to talk about mental health without stigma and shame. I don’t think it matters why you’re unhappy, even if you seem to have a great life: if you feel depressed, you’re depressed.

    (I read a review of a book about depression yesterday – ‘Lost Connections’ by Johann Hari – and learned that the fancy word for depression that comes from things going wrong in your brain is ‘endogenous’ and that external effects cause ‘reactive’ depression. Of course, neither is more legitimate than the other and the relationship between them is complex.)

    I admire how you’ve worked through your depression – not as in, I think you’ve got it all sorted (but I really hope that 2018 is as great as you feel it’s going to be), as in, you’ve got on with stuff. There’s nothing wrong with a good wallow, but you don’t get anywhere. I feel like so many days I don’t want to get on with anything: I cook, the food gets eaten, I clean, and the next time I turn around there’s crap everywhere again. But occasionally, there’s a little window of something beautiful or happy or creative – and there’s more of a chance of that if I’ve gotten on. Does that make sense? You’re more likely to be in a good place if you try to get there, than if you sit still and expect the good place to come to you. (But you also have to accept that you can just end up in another crap place.)

  52. I really appreciate your openness and authenticity. I resonated with so much of it. I too have been shocked at how lonely adulthood is. As an introvert, I have found it incredibly difficult to make deep connections with people who didn’t know me “back when.” It can mean going weeks or even months without socializing at anything beyond a superficial level. Sometimes I’m ok with it and accept that this is life now, and sometimes it’s really hard, yet I see no alternative.

  53. Laura says:

    This was a beautiful post and very kind of you to do. I so look forward to your blogs and insta-stories. You have such a wonderful sense of humor and innate joy that always comes across.

  54. Karen Combs says:

    Wow! what a beautiful post. It has been a sucky year for so many, I’m hopeful that 2018 be be a year of change in so many ways. Thank you for putting yourself out there.

  55. Kimberly says:

    What a touching entry. Thank you for sharing your experience. I am so sorry that you’ve had such a rough year but very happy that you are feeling lighter. In respect to not feeling like you’re where you should be at this age, that’s tough. I think we all have plans for what we want to achieve and it’s disheartening when we don’t, particularly when we’re measuring ourselves against others. Keep in mind that those that you admire may not be all that you think (as you know via your tv/social media friend). Run your own race. You may take a different route or go at a different pace but as long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other, you will cross the finish line.
    Not sure how you feel about paying it forward but I read a post by another blogger and I think that you could relate to one another. You both posted similiar posts this week. May be worthwhile to reach out to one another. https://inspiredbycharm.com/2018/01/a-life-update.html#comment-398530
    You’ve achieved so much this year when you’ve been carrying a heavy load. Can’t wait to see what you do this year now that things have lifted.

  56. Chelsea says:

    I def cried a lot reading this. We don’t have the same experiences but I could relate to a lot of the feelings. If you really do want to leave LA, try Colorado! 😉 Except I doubt there’s as much demand for the type of design work you can do in LA. And then what would OrMOMdo and OrlanDAD do? 😕 But just think of all the SWEATERS you could wear!

  57. Bianca says:

    Baby. 🙁 I’m just glad you feel better.

  58. Alice Coslett says:

    “I didn’t have anything to base my self-worth on except myself.” This really resonated with me, and is a concept I’ve been struggling with. This article https://www.the-pool.com/life/life-honestly/2018/3/Johanna-Thomas-Corr-on-moving-to-her-hometown-in-her-thirties sings to it also – when you remove yourself from the LA/London rat race, you’re really just left with yourself. I’m hoping my self is going to be ok when I winkle my way out. Thank you for being the tiny human man who lives in my phone <3

  59. emily s. says:

    Wow I never comment on blogs but I feel compelled after reading this post. Thank you for sharing. It’s so hard to keep up the facade on social media, and it’s so tiring to feel that everyone’s life is so perfect when ours isn’t. I’ve had a hard time in my mid-thirties also and it’s been a bit of a door closing in the face feeling. Thank god we’re not both where we were last year at this time though. Loneliness, breakups, expectations (sometimes self-imposed) to be a star in our careers, to have a circle of amazing friends, desires to own homes, desires to find a partner, to look good, to feel strong and fit, to save enough money, it’s just too much. It’s just not completely realistic. The best part about being depressed and actually realizing you’ve gone through that though, I think, is the opportunity to evaluate what you do and don’t have, and what you want. And that is really the crux here, the thing we should be so thankful for, the thing we all want. Wishing you so much luck and opportunity and happiness! And hope to run into you sometime in Yosemite =)

  60. thelady says:

    Quite honestly, there needs to be a TV show based on you. I am seeing a 21st Century Mary Tyler Moore–your work life, your personal life, your parents, the juxtaposition of where you grew up and where you now live and how that both shapes and divides you–something funny, real, quirky, light, and deep, all at the same time. You (your fictional character based on you) are someone we would all root for. Why can’t there be a guy version of this? Sorry, HBO: “Looking” does not count. NIce try, but no. You should write a spec script or treatment and start taking meetings! 😉

  61. Andrea says:

    Thank you for sharing your story so honestly – what a relief to emerge from the shadows of depression. Sounds like you’ve been through the refiner’s fire over the past year, to use a biblical term! But you are living life in technicolour, and all the better for that. I can so relate to your experiences, but good news is that you do overcome them and are stronger for it. Here’s to an amazingly productive 2018 on all fronts! Hugs from London, England.

  62. Kimberly says:

    I had the exact same experience with 2017. I was sad and mad, enough so that I considered medication as well and a shoulder injury kept me in pain and away from the gym for the last 6 months. It was Christmas Eve, I was with family and my bf was upset about a comment his mother made and how she won’t let go of her ‘things’ and enjoy life. I responded to his feelings on the drive home with a comment aimed at her (but not to her) “yeah mom, gain 10 lbs and see if anyone loves you less.” And for some reason that flipped a switch for me. I was so mad at myself and so critical of myself for my failures and the only person I was punishing was myself. It took a few days to really sink in but we were at lunch one day and I told my boyfriend this. “I am tired of being mad at myself. I am tired of being angry at me. Its not productive. Every year for the past 30 YEARS I have made a resolution to lose weight, or get clear skin, or some sort of change that signifies i am not good enough! This year my resolution is to be more me. More of the goofy, silly me that I used to be.” And its working.

  63. Carly says:

    Thanks for sharing <3

  64. Elle says:

    This I really, really relate to. I’m so glad you are feeling and doing better. 100% agree with you that reaching out, no matter how scary or frustrating, is so therapeutic and probably the single most important thing you should do when you feel anxious, depressed or isolated.

    I’ve been through a similar situation and the social change is crushing.

  65. Katie says:

    Thanks for sharing. This internet stranger is so glad to read that you are feeling better. <3

  66. Louise says:

    I am so pleased 2018 has started well for you. For many people, Deprssion is more than a feeling which will pass with time. It is a chemical imbalance in the brain, and can be fixed with medication, just as a broken leg can be mended with a cast. I wish you all the best; here’s to 2018 being your year!!

  67. Natalie says:

    I loved reading this; it’s so refreshing to hear the truth about life and you write with such a warm, open heart. I am so happy you’re feeling better. I can’t wait to fangirl over the things you do in 2018!

  68. Thank you so much for sharing. We creatives do have such a warped idea of the lives we see others living on social media. And it is so inspiring to have someone tell the real story behind the pictures. Lots of love and luck for 2018. xx

  69. […] ultra personal post from Orlando really resonated. Not because I’m depressed but because of what he said about loneliness. He […]

  70. steve says:

    Thank you……

  71. StephanieZ says:

    I’m a 36 yo single woman in Atlanta and have been single for years. While I don’t miss the sometimes drama of a relationship, I am the last of my friends to pair up and its been really hard for me. I am lonely a lot and don’t reach out for the same reason you didn’t… rejection is hard. I want to find my person, but it seems like the older I get the less attention I get and I absolutley hate wasting time on internet datings sites. My issue is that all my friends are having children which lead them to drop off the radar. I wish there was some sort of support group for singles whos friends are all paired… that way you can have some go-tos who are still available. Its hard. I’m glad to see that you are moving through your depression. I really want out of mine.

  72. Thank you for your eloquent words and sharing them with us. I usually read via Feedly but had to hop over to comment. I hope your 2018 is full of blessings!

  73. Lovely post. We’ve all been there I think, so it’s refreshing to know we’re not alone. If you ever find yourself lonely, there’s a group of Fridays in Oxnard who would love to have you.

  74. Melissa says:

    Your experience reminds me of something an acquaintance said when I went to his house for the first time. We walked in and there were piles of stuff everywhere, not a free chair to sit on, a dog running around and family photos all over the walls. Nice, but a little chaotic and messy. I’ll never forget his words: “Please excuse the mess, we live here.” You are showing us that every day.

  75. Melissa says:

    Oh geez, I’m reading that and it sounds not the way it did in my head when I wrote it. What I mean is, you are showing us that the act of living life is actually a bit messy, and that’s the honest reality of it. You are letting us look behind the curtain of “life” on social media and it isn’t always pretty. But it’s so necessary. Thank you.

  76. Billy says:

    Oh God…. :/ Totally relatable…. thank you for this wonderful post. It made me feel a lot better.

  77. Marlena says:

    Thank you for sharing!

  78. Bakary Cafe says:

    Hey, just came across your post. Late October, my partner broke up with me and moved out. This was totally unexpected. We had been together 23 years. This was tough. It is tough. Two weeks later, my job was made redundant. I too have suffered from depression on and off, and I’m currently between therapists. And yet here I am, January 28. Taking it one day at a time… 2018 is going to be an okay year, and that will have to do for now.

    We can do this!

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