A few weeks ago I decided I would start writing as a way to get things off my chest and as a form of self therapy. Since my music is an extension of my personal thought, emotions, experiences, defeats, victories, etc., I thought it would be nice to have an online diary of what I was feeling during a particular time in my life. My past blog posts have dealt primarily with music and things that make me happy. But today I’d like to complain to the digital gods, if I may?
I spent a lot of time trying to find the good in everything and also trying to convince others to find the good in any situation. But, for the last couple of week I’m just not feeling it. I’m not feeling all that positive about the future and I’ve not been in the best of places mentally. Of course, none of what I’m about to write about is unique at all. Everything affecting me has been affecting humans since the dawn of time. But goddammit, I’m just tired. I’m tired and I want to say something about it.
I’ll try to keep this as brief as possible. Without going into too much boring detail, I’ll just say that there has been a lot of illness in my family and with me personally. There have also been some issues with close friends as well, and it is heartbreaking. Between all of this illness, lack of proper medical care in our country, and the uncertainty of how much longer our jobs will hold out, the future seems pitch black right now. All of this coming down at once would challenge the strongest of people, not to mention a person who has been prone to bouts of depression in the past.
I suppose this is probably why the recent passing of Chris Cornell hit me so hard. It has been at a very crucial time in my life that I heard the news that Chris committed suicide and was also suffering from anxiety and depression. I wanted to write something earlier than I have about Chris’s death; I wanted to say exactly how and why this bothered me so much, but I’m terrible transferring me feelings to words. So when a buddy of mine posted this article from Rich Larson’s blog titled “It’s not what you think“, it was like all the dots had finally been connected. (I suggest you read his entire blog post HERE.)
As I stated earlier, I’m not always great at transferring my thoughts into words, so please forgive me for quoting this directly from Rich’s post. This truly sums up the dark nature of this event and also represents the people who have suffered the same thoughts and feelings throughout the history of humankind:
“…but it’s really about depression and cynicism. Those two go hand-in-hand, along with their nasty little sister, anxiety. When the three of them get going, they just eat hope as quickly as it can be summoned. That leaves despair and despair is exhausting, not just for those who experience it, but for the people around it as well. So we keep it to ourselves because we don’t want to be a burden. And then it gets to be too much. Doesn’t matter if you’re a student, a mom, an accountant or a rock star. It doesn’t matter if you’ve written about it your entire life as a means of keeping it at bay. It doesn’t matter if the music you made about it brought in fame, respect and millions of dollars. It doesn’t matter if your entire generation has suffered from it. Depression makes you feel totally alone. You hit the breaking point, and then, like Chris Cornell, you die alone in the bathroom.”
Those few words above are responsible for exposing just how vulnerable we all are. Those words are responsible for making us realize just how thin the line is between being OK and being NOT OK! It is also hard to shake the feeling that now is the time that we begin to finally see mental issues for what they are instead of continuing to demonize them, blame those who are suffering, or sweeping it under the rug entirely. Maybe now is the time to recognize that mental illness is as much of a real illness as cancer, multiple sclerosis, or the flu. Maybe now is the time that we begin to find real ways of dealing with and treating these conditions for everyone. Although (thankfully), we are beginning to deal with certain mental illnesses, such as PTSD in soldiers, we are continuing to leave out vast groups of people who have no voice at all. They sit in silence for fear of the stigma that goes along with admitting a mental illness and for the fear of losing jobs and relationships. They live in fear of being tagged as “crazy” or a “head case” by society. It’s time for all of these negative stigmas to end. It is time for governments, employers, citizens, medical communities, friends, spouses, and families to get past this age old bias towards any mental condition and to be part of the solution.