sailors of sadness.

i’ve seen the cold, roiling seas of depression. more times than
i can count.

i used to think it wouldn’t happen to me. couldn’t happen to me.
i used to believe that i could get by it, get around it, get through
whatever it was bothering me in a heartbeat. me, depressed? that was
for Lifetime network movie marathons and for those who had the luxuries
of time and race. i, as a Black man in America, couldn’t admit or allow
myself to acknowledge that depression would invite itself into my
space. it just doesn’t happen to us. it can’t happen. it’s better to
fight it off, drink away the pain, smoke it out with Dutch Masters
and a carefree approach, or fuck aimlessly. anything outside of
being caught up in those cold seas.

i’ve seen what it can do. it shrinks your world. it makes you feel
as if you’re worth absolutely nothing, that you’re a speck of celestial
sand that won’t mean much in the grand order of things. it shrinks
you in the eyes of others, or so you think. it makes you feel as if
you’re a loser to some, a deadbeat to others. women place you in a
category sight unseen and unsaid. ‘nice guy, but he can’t give me
the tomorrows i want.’ George Jackson was right on that one. worst
of all, you feel as if you’re shaming your parents and all those who
walked before you with your name. you feel the cold seas overlap some
days so much that you can’t believe the time that was lost. and yet,
you don’t understand how your tears, when they do arrive, can be so
HOT. and filled with so much searing pain.

and then you break through the surface, and take in all of that fresh
air, you realize and reaffirm, again, that you ARE valuable. you are
precious. you are worth it. i’ve only now realized that i have had
these spells on and off since 2009. and i’ve only now been in a space
where i can freely admit the effects these spells have had. it isn’t
anything to sneeze at. it isn’t anything that can be immediately seen
as ‘being overly sensitive’. nah man. depression is serious. and now
having experienced it, even in a tiny dosage, i can really see how
much it can alter lives.

so the question is, why am i talking about it?

i’m speaking on it only because i’ve had people close to me and others
share their experiences with depression openly. i want people to just
truly understand how it can leave you drowning. my will, my heart and
my dreams have helped me enough to make it a temporary thing. there’s
millions who can’t say the same. all i can ask you if you’re reading
this is to understand. be aware. be honest, without being cutting. with
others and mainly yourself. learn to see the signs. understand the triggers.
i wish i did earlier, if only to save a couple of people back in the day.
if i did, one cat would be around to see his three kids on the verge of
college. depression is a cold, cold sea that can swallow you whole if
you’re not careful. we’re all each others ships. make sure the ones you
love can get to calmer waters.

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