Monday, June 1, 2009

Depression: Temp Worker, Life Partner? - Introduction

I've thought long and hard about this particular subject, because I just came out of a phenomenal funk not long ago. And because of it, I want to reveal a little more of myself as a person behind the rants, the raves, the pictures, films and even sometimes the music. I am not a celebrity, I am a real person with real person issues; not to say that celebrities are not real people, but they are people who the public perceives in a certain way for consumption, while I am an admittedly-unwilling member of that public. I suppose I will break this down into several parts in order to thoroughly analyze the roots of my own depression, and determine what's in store afterward.

There are several underlying factors into what drove (and drives) me into these funks, the like of which I have not experienced since Mom & Terry passed away nearly twelve years ago. In fact, that is one of the factors itself. My mother and my oldest sister were integral parts of my life as a child and a young man, and losing them in the manner we did and at the time of my life it occurred severely scarred me for several years; I can say it both accelerated and inhibited my development as an adult. It is an inescapable part of my heritage as much as being Black is something I was born with and will die with, except that being Black does not depress me (quite the opposite, I feel inspired!) But their passing changed me from one person into another, such was the bond I had with them and continue to have with my surviving family.

That also can be said about my relationship with my friends, which has changed with the times and circumstances; not the least reason being that my longer-term friends have married and and have started or are in the process of building their own families. I am happy for my friends who have the love and support of a "life partner", as most of them would call their husband or wife or girlfriend or boyfriend, and in most cases children to establish or continue a legacy of their own (not to mention shower with and receive unconditional love). I have neither, perhaps by choice, perhaps by nature. Such as it is, what's left unsaid, sadly, is that committed friends and non-committed friends often find themselves incompatible, and soon become former friends. It is one of life's sublime and perhaps nastier little discoveries that relationships change based on the dynamics of a person's lifestyle; most drastically if that person is married, single, divorced or widowed. I am single, a consequence of my choice to pursue a risky career as a filmmaker, where relationships are often key to building careers as opposed to building a family life (if you are a "successful" filmmaker or such in the entertainment industry, it's easier to do, but often comes after the success is reached.)

There are personal compositions to consider as well. I am anti-social; I can't/don't drink or smoke because of two congenital conditions I possess; one being epilepsy and the other Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome. In my early teens, I started having grand mal seizures, the kind where you black out and convulse on the ground uncontrollably for several minutes. They were rather scary episodes where I occassionally hurt myself by falling hard on the ground; all this happening in front of friends and loved ones. What happened; not purposefully, but naturally and with good intentions, was that I was "incubated" by people who were concerned and scared about my health and well-being. As such, I felt islolated from normal activities and relationships (I was temporarily reserved from participating in Phys-Ed classes to the point where my prodigal father intervened on my behalf) and I was forced to quit any athletic ambitions I had (baseball and possibly basketball).

Since I couldn't drink or smoke, I felt very awkward in social settings where such activities were second nature, and I was certain that my friends felt likewise. I was withdrawn and moody, and though I put up a reserved front during my high school and college years, I was lonely and angry at excluding myself from being "normal".

I also may have inherited my depression from family members who experienced it themselves; Mom was never one to admit to such feelings, and if she did, she often tackled them head on with activities that involved hard work or pleasure excursions. My Uncle Woodrow (who, btw, left the hospital three weeks ago to rehabilitate in a nursing home before returning to his real home this coming Thursday) had told me that the reason he entered the adult home where he lives was because of depression; his experience there changed his life and he has become an active and well-adjusted gentleman of considerable strength, dignity and influence. But for reasons of their own, many of my other family members don't address these issues with each other, unless it's to explain certain eventys or episodes in our family's heritage. I shall not break their confidence as such, I only intend to discuss my own battles. Besides, who's to say they even had issues as dramatic as mine? That's for them to decide.

I will say that by addressing my own depression this way, I hope to conquer it for good and explain myself in what motivates the way I create, destroy or reconfigure certain aspects of my life and person. I am a devoted friend and artist, but I isolate myself from people, in my mind, for their sake. I have witnessed and/or accepted certain things that would devastate many others. My anti-social nature is bred from conflicts with myself and the nature of being part of a social fabric that would otherwise harm or kill me. I treat my friends and relationships delicately for fear that my nature would overwhelm them, yet I feel highly inadequate in their presence. I try not to hide my feelings, but the rejection stings as much as it ever has, and any reaction beside quietly moving along would be unacceptable. Perhaps this way of thinking would be considered "boxing myself in", but no one can say that without knowing where I came from and where I'm going.

Come walk with me, if you will. Maybe something you discovert about me will resolve a circumstance of your own. If nothing else, I hope you understand where I'm coming from. >;)

1 comment:

Mr. OK Jazz said...

Hey Chyll, Seriously honest and impressive blog you got going here. Good luck with the various issues, I know from your writing here and on the Banter that you got a lot of love to give to the world. Peace, Jazz and baseball my friend, Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO