I have a list of topics to blog/write about scrawled across the walls of the numerous rooms in my mind. Some have been swept away. Some have been replaced. Most have been forgotten.
I remembered one of the topics today after reading the news of BMX superstar Dave Mirra’s self-inflicted gunshot wound. I know of him from a skateboard / BMX video game I played in my youth. I remember playing his character. I remember doing the 360s and wheelies with his character.
I was reminded of the topic because of the nature of Mirra’s death. Suicide.
I found myself in a very precarious state of mind the other day. Recently, I’ve been thinking about the things I’ve missed over the years while I was in the dark. Among those was having a family. Or, at the very least, what a “family” is to me: being with someone for an extended period of time. A lover. A soulmate, if I was so inclined to use that them. I did believe in such things when I was younger – destiny, fate, soulmate – that sort of thing. The things that are beyond our control.
And then I got jaded. I became a cynic. Whether the depression had a hand in it, I can’t say for sure. But, as it has become my credo recently, “it is what it is.”
I’ve always considered my life to be an open book. I’m open about the tragedies from my past (i.e. my mom’s suicide, my heartbreaks, my failures in life, etc.) I suppose it’s because I love to talk. I love to converse with people. I love connecting with people on a deeper level. Even with my writing on previous blogs, I’ve been open. It’s almost literally an open book. A digital version.
But the one thing I never write in that open book, the one thing I never shared, was the deepest darkest destructive thoughts in my head. My darkness. My demons that lurks in the shadows. There’s only a select number of people who I’ve shared those pages with. Those select few are the ones that could understand the darkness, who are living in the darkness.
That was years ago. That was in a time when the internet wasn’t what it is now – an open door to each and every conceivable world. A time when the stigma attached to mental health was still relegated to insanity and people locked up in padded rooms.
*Pictured above and below are the first and latest music photos I’ve shot
There was a time when I felt so insecure, so jealous, of the young photographer friends I’ve made last year. The Karen dela Fuentes. The Caloy Enclunas. The Gab Pilis. The Simon Vigans. And the dozens of young amazing photographers who’ll only be even more amazing as they grow older.
I’m 31. I have only a year on my belt. And no, I’m not counting my semi-regular three year stint as a music photographer years ago. I barely made any strides in those days. I’m just now retaking my life from depression. I’m just getting my life on the right track. And I thought that my age would be a hindrance, a massive stutter on my career as a photographer.
Are we, as depressives and daily survivors of mental illnesses, to blame for what our brain does to us and others? What happens to us affects other people. There’s no doubt about it. We’re moody. We tend to become hostile to even those closest to us. We alienate anyone and everyone, whether it’s our intention to or not, because it’s what our brain tells us to do. We are but slaves to our brains, after all.
I’ve been thinking about that lately. And just today, I had a short conversation with a friend about it. I’m still trying to figure it out, frankly speaking. The more my head’s clear because of the anti-depressants, the more I get to think about how depression has affected me all my life. Before medication, before the darkness had a name, I never once considered the ramifications and the specifics of being a depressive. I just thought I was weird. I just thought I was so different from everyone else that the concept of responsibility was alien to me.
It came out of nowhere. The darkness. It came out of nowhere. Like a stray bullet fired exactly when the clock hit 12 on New Year’s Eve, it hit me. Head first. And I was unprepared for it. No one told me that it would happen. That it could happen. I thought I was clear of it. I thought I was out of the woods. I was already on the magic happy pills, after all.
I guess the darkness wanted to spend some quality time with me. Like my brain wanted to take a rest from the positivity I’ve been experiencing since November. Aside from the much needed anger release over the holidays, of course.
So today, after months of procrastination and delays, I finally got my PWD (Persons With Disability) ID Card. And I couldn’t be happier.
I found out – by accident, mind you – several months ago that being a stutterer makes me eligible for a PWD ID Card. I was at Starbucks at SM Southmall for coffee. I was on the phone with someone when I was asked for my order. One of the baristas on duty, Kenny aka My Barista Crush, knows me from my usual branch in BFHomes. Since I was already struggling with my speech and had to focus on the phone conversation, I handed the barista my firearms license card so she can get my name from that. Now, since Kenny knows me already, she knows of my stuttering. What happened next was unexpected.
I had a lot of time to think about my life over the holiday break. Things I want to do. Things I need to do. Things I want to accomplish. I reprioritized my life, basically. Rather, learn how to prioritize. I’m only now living my life – really living it – that I want to do so many things this year. I was so inspired by the people I share my journey with. I felt so alive, so filled with life, that I feel unstoppable. I wrote down a few goals I set for myself for 2016. I’d add more if I have more lightbulb moments.
It had to happen. It needed to happen. He spent 31 odd years holding everything in, keeping every single frustration and anger and ill will inside of him. “Never raise your voice to anyone,” he taught himself. “Never let anyone see your anger. Never let anyone see your rage. Dangerous things will happen when you do.” It has become his mantra: Never feel. Feelings won’t make sense to you.
But he was in a new life. A much cleaner, clearer, life. A life that’s not meant for emotional isolation. A life based on understanding, and feeling, the emotions that never made logical sense to him. It had to happen. It needed to happen so he can move forward.