Our most popular story from our first year. A personal Op-Ed by Donovan Rainey.
How do you deal with something you don't want to think about? When you're depressed it's simple, you don't. I'm talking about shutting yourself out from everything and seeing if anyone even notices. Usually they don't. People have their own lives to live and that's completely understandable. But how the hell are y'all doing it?
How do you just wake up and get the day started without wanting to die? How are you not thinking of shit that's happened years ago and feeling embarrassed throughout the day of your old self? I mean you know that person doesn't exist anymore so why are you still running back to that mindset? It's only making you sad until you're eventually mad. Why even do that to yourself? I don't know. Maybe, I am I just addicted to feeling bad? I'm great at hiding it, I can look like the man in public or around my friends if I just play the role. That's easy. But how do you have the energy to hold conversations longer than 60 seconds? How are you not sleepy 18 out of the 24 hours in a day? HOW ARE YOU JUST GENUINELY HAPPY?
This is just me talking myself through a normal ass Tuesday. Most people who are suffering from depression aren't tweeting about it for sympathy because they're too busy actually going through it. It's not something they want to put on display or use to make themselves look cooler. Shit, if you're a part of the black community that faces issues of depression, you might not have anybody to just talk to about it. But even if you did, would you even take the time to do it? It's embarrassing for some people to admit, but some people would rather deny it and pretend everything is fine (which can be dangerous and just mentally exhausting), and some people just have no idea what the hell is wrong with them.
Personally, I knew I was going through depression for years before I actually got the courage to seek help. I was drifting away from the few things I love to do, ruining my relationships with the people around me for no reason and my relationships with women have been going through periods where they were absent. Now I'm just sleeping all of the time. All of the signs of someone who could be suffering from depression.
When I was in that stage of life, I did not have good days ever. There were bad days and days where nothing bad happened; that is your good day. I'm the type of person to wait until I'm by myself to get in my feelings about nothing important or relevant to my current life. You wouldn't notice somebody like me going through depression because I'll pull every stop to show that I'm not.
My main defense is my sense of humor; I love to make people laugh. People don't suspect a damn thing from the person that's always making people laugh because they seem happy. So I'm that person most of the time. I knew something was starting to happen once I started spending most of my humor talking about myself. Of course everybody needs to learn to joke about themselves, but it got to the point where my jokes were just real life situations. I'm literally making people laugh at my pain.
Trust me, I'm not a comedian but I know that's something all comedians think about considering they can be amongst some of the most depressed people. Around this time I started sleeping significantly less at night, but not because I was working on a hobby like I used to love, I'm just staring at the ceiling trying to not think about death. I started making jokes about death.
With all of this fuckery going on inside my head, you would think by now I would be breaking down or wanting to get help.
This is where the coping mechanisms come in. Drinking, smoking and doing whatever makes you feel like you don't have to be the person you really are, even if it's temporary. I started thinking shit like "okay I just have to make it home and I can get straight to drinking and smoking and I'll be fine.” Now I'm worried about a temporary fix which only makes me feel worse once Monday comes back around. Something's gotta give man, in the back of my mind I'm just hoping I magically wake up in a better mood but, at the same time, knowing damn well that's not happening. I'm having an out of body experience and I'm just watching myself fall into the sunken place. The worst part about it is I just don't give a fuck.
The worst is when you finally try to express yourself to someone who you think will at least try to understand and they give you the usual
"Aww man you’re good.”
“Some people just go through things!”
“Spend some time outside and change your group of peers".
Yea trust me I've looked into all of that. I bike 5 miles to work and back every single day and I'm a landscaper, so I live in the sun (you can throw laziness out the window at this time). I don't even live in the same city I did 2 years ago I have an entirely new group of friends. I can't just keep getting new friends whenever I feel bad.
Besides, how am I supposed to do that when I don't even have the mental energy to think of a solid conversation. It's not like I'm shy. It just really feels like work talking to somebody if I'm not in a good mood. My point being, when somebody is telling you they are feeling depressed. Understand that it took a lot for that person just to say that. Please don't downplay what somebody is feeling. You never really know what somebody is going through.
The final straw for me was my emotions starting to move too much. That's when I decided no matter what, I'm going to see what is going on in my head. I haven't cried since I was 19. I'm 23 and I probably cried 5 times one week and I never had a reason to. I literally would just start crying for no reason.
My favorite time (and also my breaking point) was at work one day. Our supervisor said "take a 15 minute break" and instantly I felt a cry coming, literally had no reason. I ran to the truck so nobody could see me, then I sat in there alone and cried for that whole 15 minutes. Stepped back out looking like a champ, my acting skills amazing at this point by the way. I worked the rest of that day feeling fine, or as good as I could feel, but it was in that moment I realized I had to do something about this before it turned into an even bigger burden in my life. I made an appointment to get mentally evaluated that afternoon and it was exactly what I've suspected for years.
At the end of the day, only you are going to know what's best for you. It's up to you how you want to treat your situation and nobody else is responsible for helping you. Sorry, but I don't care for happy endings in stories. This is just true and needs to be recognized more. Don't let something you know you can change end up affecting your entire existence. Do what you have to do to love and appreciate your mind.
Purchase the URMND x Donovan Rainey "Menace II Sobriety" shirts here.
Donovan's studio album "Menace II Sobriety" is coming soon.