[A Note From The Author: This article deals with Depression, specifically my own current battle with it. The article is of a very deep and personal nature to me. If you feel that this artcle isn’t for you then please feel free to skip it. I promise I’ll be back talking and swearing about comics and movies again in no time]
There are times when everyone has a moment of clarity. When the chamber of the mind puts the puzzle of the human psyche together to give a person clear, unmaligned vision into their problem or problems. We are all Saint Paul at some point in our lives, all having that epiphany on the metaphorical road to Damascus. We never know when it will strike, when the mind will allow us to have that revelatory moment that makes everything so pristine in our head, so obvious. Sometimes we get to that answer on our own and sometimes we need a trigger to get there. I had one such moment just a few hours ago and there was a trigger involved. It was a somewhat moving experience but it came about in a way that left me thinking “That was an odd thing”.
I have been dealing with a lot of personal stress from a variety of areas in my life for several months now. These are the usual things that give people stress like work (or lack thereof), relationships of both a personal and romantic nature, money and general things that we all deal with everyday as part of basic human life. Well all these factors have been butting heads against each other with me for the last 6 months or so. Lack of job led to lack of money. My relationhip with one girl went south and it affected not just my relationship with her but relationships with a large chunk of my circle of friends. This affected my home life since I lived with some of these people and it affected my overall attitude and behavior. I had slipped from being a somewhat jolly curmedgeon (an image I actually tried to cultivate) to just being a flat out utter asshole and douchebag (images I, in no way, wanted to cultivate).
Today I went to get assesed mentally in order to get some counseling. This was no easy thing for me to do because I basically renounce the conepts of psychotherapy and psychiatry outright as sheer Carny nonsense. I maintained that Psychiatry and its relevant fields were akin to modern Alchemy in the fact that they were guess work and fraudulent. It isn’t like the concept of depression just came into existence becasue Freud and Jung, or any of their disciples, wrote them up. To suggest so is not only idiotic but a staight fallacy. But my viewpoint on psychiatry isn’t the crux of this article. My moment of clarity is.
When I leave the house my iPod tends to travel with me. It doesn’t matter the mood, I need some music. I was sitting in the office Central Access, where one goes to get their Assesment done in Toledo, Ohio. I was sitting there listening to my iPod and I sat as “Gonna Knock A Little Harder” played. The song is composed by the ever talented Yoko Kanno with Tim Jensen and performed by vocalist Mai Yamane with Kanno’s backing band The Seatbelts. I sat there and listened to the song and it just mgiht have been the first time I sat and identified with its meaning.
Now I’ve sat and identified with songs before. Hell I’ve identified with songs when I’m sad or depressed and completely gotten the meaning behind the piece. I just never sat up, at one of the lowest points in my existence and said “Shit, this is me!”. “Gotta Knock A Little Harder” wasn’t written for me, I know this. It was written for a movie. But something about it held me and moved me. This isn’t the first time I’ve lisened to the song. Hell it has played on my iPod more times than I can count. But this time, of all times, it became the most personal of songs. It became the anthem of what I had been putting myself and friendss through for the last 6 months.
The song itself plays out as one giant metaphor, as many songs do. Using the imagery of locking oneself into a room to keep out things like pain and suffering is all fine and good on paper but in practice is a terrible way to live your life. Shutting the door and locking it so tight that it won’t open actually prevents the people who want to help you from getting that help to you. Shutting the door also leaves one isolated with one’s self. It forces confrontation with one’s failings and shortcomings. Let me tell you, I’ve got plenty of those!
The reality of being locked mentally with yourself in a shut and locked room is that you’alive got nowhere to run to. You have to face yourself and the reality of facing oneself is usually ugly and harsh. Facing the reality of your trueself is enough to send anyone scrambling to that locked door that is sealed shut. It is enough to make you pound on it over and over again for someone to get you out. You’ll scratch and claw at that damned thing so bad that you will shout for the door to get broke down, just so you you can get away from the person you’ve been that is looking you back in the face. In the end, the door will come down but the only one who will break it down is you. That only happens after you come to terms with the person you’ve been and recognizing that changing yourself, conciously and voluntarly to be a better person, is the key to your own escape from that sealed and locked room.
This is what I recognized today, sitting there while waiting to be assesed. My situation, at that moment in time, was because I had this moment of self-actualization. It doesn’t mean I’m instantly better. It also means that I am not solely to blame for things as well. But at least I am aware of my complicity, of my shortcomings and failures and accept them. I was afraid to do so before because it conflicted with my world and spiritual view of things. I was afraid that by making amends and apologizing to those I had hurt and denied that I taking responsibility for my choices and thus becoming someone who was inauthentic, a phony so to speak.
The fact is that by actually confronting myself and admitting my faults and apoligizing for them, I take responsibility for those actions and in turn, validate who I am presently. I still do not revel the idea of consuling, my view of Psychiatry has not changed. But I do need help and I need to start somewhere, so for now I’ll put aside my distrust of these “Scientists” and see what can be done. I just no matt er hat, I’m not going back to that room with the locked sealed door.
“Gotta Knock A Little Harder” appears on Cowboy Bebop: Future Blues OST.