Alexa Lee, Pacific Standard, May 30, 2019.
Jessica Pan was sitting alone in a sauna, fully clothed, when she realized that depression and loneliness had been destabilizing her entire life. With only a day left in her gym's weight-loss competition, she had stepped into the sauna in a last-ditch effort to shed some water weight and thereby end her year-long streak of "[feeling] like a loser." After stewing in the heat and yelling at a spa assistant, Pan realized in a panic that her desperation to clinch this minor fitness victory was fast unraveling her mental state.
"I had completely lost perspective," she writes in her memoir, Sorry I'm Late, I Didn't Want to Come: One Introvert's Year of Saying Yes. "I had managed to wedge myself into a hole, through fear, insecurity, and stagnation."
Pan's moment of crisis in the sauna was perhaps the most dramatic point of her depression, but she says her anxieties date much further back. A freelance journalist in her thirties who had recently moved to London before the events described in the book, Pan tells me that discontent had begun to pervade her quiet, and increasingly isolated, life.