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Depression: My Story (IDAHO 2012)

Not the wittiest title, but that’s all it is. My story:

I used that title in the hopes that someone else who is feeling what I am currently feeling will relate.

My battle with depression started in 2005. I still do not know if it was the fact that my perfect little life didn’t go as I had planned, or the Roaccutane (or Accutane in America) acne medication I had used two years earlier and had been known to cause depression. Whatever the cause, make no mistake, it is a battle. I say “is” because truth be told, it never went away.  I feel like if the acne medication did anything, it may have fuelled what had already been there.

However, me being me, I’ve never spoken about this to many people. I’m a proud person and I don’t like letting others into my inner world. It can be a fucked up place and not many are brave, or strong enough to go along for the ride. I’m not doing a good job of selling myself here. I’m really a great guy; I have my ups and my downs. But the dark side has never been easy to accept and embrace.  And once that all-consuming darkness hit, there was no escaping.

So there I was, a twice dropout, the life I had envisioned (finish school, study, get a job, die) completely ruined. So I thought, why not cut out the middle man. And there I hung, the noose cutting into my neck. At the last minute I kicked and thrashed and fought it off and fell to the ground, a bloody mess. After a year of Prozac, I was back to my “usual” self, although a year of no drinking was not easy for a 20 year old.

I learned a LOT about myself since, but clearly not enough. One, I’m way too hard on myself! I beat myself up. I’m a pusher. I want the best for those around me. I want the best for myself. But mostly for those around me… those who mean the most to me. This in turn, usually pushes them away. The stubborn Scorpion in me still maintains that my intentions are good, even though the road to Johannesburg is paved with them. Yet despite this, people still tend to take advantage of me.

***

So, why the rant? Well, this week is International Day Against Homophobia 2012 (IDAHO). There has been a lot of talk about this “It Gets Better” campaign focussed on gay and lesbian teens who have committed suicide after being bullied regarding their sexuality. I have been lucky in this regard that this side of my life has never really been that big of a problem the way it affects others. I thought, if my past can help others, “why the heck not” would I share my experience? Not enough people share their stories and I’ve always been as open a book as I could be.

I mentioned at the beginning of this post that it is a battle. That was not for dramatic purposes. It really is one. And after a tempestuous failed relationship, or a hectic academic schedule, or a circle of support that is not very supportive, the pressures of life can take its toll. But it really does get better. Sure I rolled my eyes at the liberal media and this campaign, but that’s just the cynic in me. The message really is a strong and important one that, if anything, must be spread virally and taken advantage of the connectivity of our world.

Whether you are old or young, but especially people in the LGBT community, no matter what your story, do not give up. Look in the eyes of a child, play with a dog, watch a sunrise, get a massage or read a book. But whatever you do, try to never give in to the battle that may try to consume you. Others may seem like they do not care, but someone does. People disappoint, but they also surprise. Share your story. Blog about it! (But don’t say I sent you)

I started this post because I was asked to write a poem for the IDAHO 2012 event at campus this week (17th May 2012). It’s a slightly melancholic piece and meant to have a message, however, just recently I found myself slipping back into the trap. A hapless soldier in the battle. All of the above factors caught up with me and I fell. It’s like the time I was walking in the snow with a bag in each hand. The path took a slight dip and before I knew it, the building in front of me shrunk and the black sky was straddling me and dropping light fluffs of ice on my face. That time, alone in a small town in Germany in the middle of the night, I laughed my head off. It was really funny. This time I have to find the humour. This time I’m writing.

 

<p>Author <a href=”https://plus.google.com/102128103971030481396” target=”blank” rel=”author”>Jerome Cornelius</a></p>

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