Into the great unknown

In: Misc /

Hey! Haven’t seen you in a year. A lot has happened. In other news, I’m taking down this website. But fear not! Everything will be archived. If you’re willing to learn a bit about the person behind the owl, then you’re more than welcome to. I’m hoping to provide some context as to why it’s taken me a year to come forward with this.

Wait what?

You heard it right. I’ll be discontinuing this blog, as much as it pains me. I’ll get started on saving everything in its state after publishing this post on the Web Archive. Furthermore, I’ll be publishing the content repository that houses all articles that I’ve ever written. To be fair, it’s not that much, but seeing just how much traction some of the articles have gotten (and they still do!), I feel like it’s unfair to just remove them all without any notice.

That leaves another question on the table though: why? To cut a very long story short, I started this website at one of the darkest points in my life. This is no exaggeration. For two years before I hit rock bottom, a serious depressive phase had been creeping on me and it slowly and painfully ate away at my self-esteem, my self-confidence and my ability to live a fulfilling life.

You might be thinking: “Well, if it was bad as you say it was, then how did you manage to pump out full-length articles?” Simply put, this blog was a coping mechanism and nothing more. It helped me to get my attention away from the terrifying thoughts that plagued me at the time.

Around one year ago, I decided to put an end to this and seek professional help, which I did for the majority of 2021. So if you want a simple answer as to why I haven’t published anything, it’s because I was busy getting my life back in therapy. Since then, I’ve moved to my own place. I have found the independence I’ve sought for so long. I’m surrounding myself with people that have a positive impact on me. I focus on things that I’m genuinely passionate about. I now also have a stable job and a source of income which leaves nothing to be desired. I’m living my best life, so to say.

Now this doesn’t mean that Owlspace will be completely gone forever. I’m still deciding on how to move forward with this website since I put a considerable amount of time and effort into it. The pixelated owl (and crow!) has grown on me a lot and it’ll return in one way or another. I still actively follow topics in cybersecurity, but I’m mostly focused on living for myself instead of forcing myself to write up articles on things that may or may not prove to be dead ends.

I want to thank every single person who has shared any of my articles. All of you really helped me through a seriously tough time without being aware of it. That being said, there’s a few things I want to mention before I close things out for good. Like it or not, mental health is still mostly taboo in public discourse. It’s slowly changing for the better, but everyone needs to do their part in raising awareness. This final section is dedicated to the lessons I learned from fighting with myself.

Your mental health matters

I don’t wish the things I felt a mere year ago on my worst enemy. Depression comes in many different shapes and sizes. Don’t let yourself be told that you can’t be depressed “because you’re so well off”. There’s this weird argument that rich or successful people can’t be depressed because they could have anything they want. I made that mistake. I am incredibly fortunate to be living the life that I do, yet I still managed to work myself down until I had no hopes left.

If you ever feel like you don’t matter, or if you feel like you’re worthless, or if you don’t feel anything at all: talk about it. It’s incredibly hard, but it’s the first step to getting better. Seek professional help, and if that’s too far into the future then there are crisis lines that can help you, online counselors, helpful communities and resources.

The hardest part about depression, in my experience, is the fact that its timing is never convenient. I was trapped in a cycle where some days I’d be too depressed to help myself and then there’d be other days where I convinced myself that it wasn’t that bad and that I’m just being overdramatic. If you relate to this in any way, keep in mind that you’re the only person capable of breaking out of that loop. This might sound like survivorship bias, but help is out there. Treat mental illnesses like any other bodily disease or infection.

And finally, please keep in mind that people trying to sell you the “one cure to depression” are frauds. As I said before, there is no single type of depression that applies to everyone. It might take a long time until you find the treatment that works for you and only you. As long as you actively work on yourself and recognize that you want to live a more fulfilling life, you’re on the right path.

So please, please, pleeease take care of yourself. I’ll see you again some time soon.

Depression screening scores over time

Depression screening scores I got before every session. A score of at least 29 constitutes a severe depression. A score of 8 at most means no depression.