Good afternoon ladies and gent, HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! Yes good day to all the fathers of the world, one day I hope to be in the club. But the club I am currently fighting to get out of and seeing results on my efforts is Mental Illness, more specifically Depression. In this Real Talk post I will be talking about my own story, how I am dealing with it to fix myself, and jut to put a part of me out there. No fear, just me and my own battle. Let’s get it.
WHAT IS MENTAL ILLNESS & DEPRESSION?
Mental illnesses are health conditions involving changes in thinking, emotion or behavior (or a combination of these). Mental illnesses are associated with distress and/or problems functioning in social, work or family activities (https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/what-is-mental-illness). Depression is a condition in which a person feels discouraged, sad, hopeless, unmotivated, or disinterested in life in general. When these feelings last for a short period of time, it may be a case of The Blues. But when such feelings last for more than two weeks and when the feelings interfere with daily activities such as taking care of family, spending time with friends, or going to work or school, it’s likely a major depressive episode (https://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/depression).
For these I had to find an accurate definition for each and cite them to convey the importance and the severity they hold.
HOW LONG HAVE I BEEN DEPRESSED?
To answer that would be very tricky. One could say I developed my depression when I was in my youth being raised by a strict parent, using food to cope, and subsequently having a weight gain and develop man boobs could be the source. But really it was Self-Esteem issues I had due to favoritism of a member of my family. Yes the upbringing I had was different, emphasizing on school only and no partying and the typical teenage ventures. Filled with mistakes, regrets, and fun. But no I was brought up to focus on school and enjoying rewards when things are done right.
My weight gain beginning at 9 I believe was the start of a dark road for me. I turned to food to have that missing THING I felt I was needing. When I came to this country I had to adapt and become part of the American culture. Pretending to be something I am not and trying too hard to fit in. In High School I had a place for me and a solid group of friends, but non knew about me skipping lunch and not eating to lose weight faster. The Image I had when I came here was being this and that and I didn’t fit that mold. Wearing compression shirts to hold my chest down to feel confident gave me a false sense of confidence. But I pushed through that phase of life and went on to College.
Now college was where this got good and bad. I met more friends but I wasn’t getting the usual a College kid would be getting. Sex, doing drugs, and partying. Looking back after I have left for all these year I was really placing sex on a high cabinet. But in college I found outlets for my depressive spells and got through those 5 years as best as I could. Not the usual route but one that was in my comfort zone. After college I struggled to cope with the reality of Life. What to do, whats the next step, and how do I go about this. The thoughts took a tole on me a year after graduation and to e honest with you I am glad I experienced it.
WAS I EVER SUICIDAL?
Yes, yes I was for large periods of my College experience. I was away from home, not doing what I thought I was supposed to be doing, and I didn’t feel like I fit with the type of people I was surrounded. My actual suicide attempt took place in 2012 during some issues being taken place at the school. At the time I always played soccer behind the gym after a workout. I remember this day clearly because it’s a day I really could have done damage. What triggered me I don’t recall but I was kicking my ball around by myself and I swung at the ball so hard I ended up on the ground, crying along with the rain. I had a pocket knife and I pressed it against my neck. Needless to say I had self-control to stop myself and jut went back to my dorm. It was after this incident I decided to go to a free campus therapist. So I had the will to help myself while in pain. My therapist now tells me I was a very functioning depressed person. But honestly that was the only time I ever considered ending my life, ending the pain I had up to that point.
WHAT DO I DO NOW?
I guess this is the cliché of “It Gets Better” people always say. These days I have my depressive spells but I know how to function properly and structure myself to keep it moving to dismiss the vibe aswell. Though I am Clinically Depressed, I don’t use it as an excuse for anything anymore. Leaving college and moving states was the best thing I could have changed in my life. Freelancing and selling my skills helped me develop my design confidence, going to the gym and lifting with a set goal has given me a body I am proud of, and being more involved in different things has been a blessing for my own personal growth and has given me more confidence not to fear a damn thing anymore.
Michelle has been an amazing friend and therapist for the time I sought her services, but with all good things I developed that if I find myself relying on someone else then it serves no point. I see her bi-weekly on Fridays and sometimes from one friday a month to a designated friday. Allowing me to sort my own shit out and be self-reliant. Been so my whole life but I didn’t realize it until a year ago. I have always done something and took myself out of the hole I put myself in, so ultimately seeing her once a month has been awesome. Too much of something can be addictive in most cases.
IS IT LATE FOR ME?
In a sense no, not in the slightest. I have been happy with who I am more and I love myself since 2014. I learned a lot more about myself and developed my own company from a class project. Looking back the upbringing I had save me from a ton of crap that is now seen a the norm. I fought my way out to help ME be the me I am today and I look forward to the unknown I have not found out yet. They say that life is a journey, but as a Forrest Gump fan I see it more like life is filled with chocolates, with each new box I know I will find something new. At almost 28 I am proud of what I am doing, the creativity I am expressing, and the help I bring to others and myself. So in the words of an old friend, “I’m Chillin”.
Thank you guys for checking out this Real Talk post. I enjoy sharing a piece of me so you all can know who this guy is. Please follow me on twitter @StefanAHoward and us on @XagontENT. We will be posting a review of Rough Night soon so be on the look out for that. As always, take it easy!