I have faith that things happen for a reason, but sometimes it’s hard to believe. Sometimes I want to say “F*&^ this S*%#!” and just allow myself to go down the rabbit hole of misery. I’ve been there before you know. It’s not a pleasant place; I don’t recommend it, unless you need to go there to create a comparison of how your normal life is versus the dark rabbit hole.
In 1994 I went through a severe state of depression. I had just moved to Los Angeles and was so alone. I had no friends my age, and I was lost. I had just graduated from college and wanted to conquer the world, if I could just get the energy to do it. I spent days in bed and worried the heck out of my grandparents. They wondered what was wrong with me, and I wondered what was wrong with me. I eventually snapped out of it by listening to self help tapes. Yeah, I did that. Being that I had no friends, no one to really talk to (there was no Facebook back then) I relied upon my imaginary friends of Tony Robbins, Brian Tracy and Zig Ziglar. Soon I got a job, enrolled in acting school and spent my days working odd jobs and auditioning for parts. I was the stereotypical 20 something living the Hollywood Sunset Boulevard life. It was good.
Let’s fast forward to marriage, divorce, travel, speaking, deaths, friendships blooming, friendships dissolving, my dog, my dream car, my bike and let’s land in the 2nd quarter 2013. It happened again. Severe depression. I could feel it creeping in, it was like an old acquaintance that I didn't want to see, but knew it was going to happen. I really tried to avoid bumping into it, but eventually I surrendered. I was out for 2 weeks, maybe a month, I really don’t know. I tried to keep it to myself, I cut myself off from the world, including my friends and family. I spent most of my time in bed, I became a nocturnal creature so I wouldn’t have to see or talk to anyone. Happy normal people pissed me off. I could hear them, I read about them on Facebook and all I knew was that I was not one of them. Sure, I posted some random stuff on Facebook during that time, I liked people’s posts and commented, but inside I was in a dark hole. Remember, I have acting training, I went to the Stella Adler Academy and The Groundlings, so I’m pretty good at improv, smiling and pretending.
Only one person actually approached me and didn’t even ask what was wrong, they knew something was up. We went out to see a movie. We sat in front of the theater and talked for a bit before they said, “I think something is wrong with Jen”. I said yeah, there is, I’m depressed. I’m not really sure what came out of my mouth after that, but I let it all out and it felt good. I did the ugly cry. I couldn’t breathe, I just ranted, I laughed, I yelled and I have no idea how long I went on. No one was telling me what to do, how to correct it or how they went through the same thing and this or that worked for them. No, just good old fashioned listening. And real listening. Not checking the phone, looking around to see if something more interesting is going on, just focused listening. I verbally and emotionally threw up and they were there to hold back my hair. Thank you Universe for sending me such a good friend!
Slowly I crawled out of my dark cave. Things started to move forward and I was participating in life again. I was getting my groove back, literally and figuratively. Then I had a bike accident that grounded me. I wasn’t able to walk, run or ride for almost a month. Damn it! I just went through all this shit and now you are going to take away from me one of my most prized activities? What the heck! I leaned into meditation; I believed it was going to be ok. Then I got sick. Ok, I get it Universe, I really need to just be still, to be around my house, to regroup and re-energize. So I did. All was good. I saw a light at the end of the tunnel and headed towards the light.
Then, December 2013. I just suffered another incident that threatened to have me turn tail and head right back into my cave. My 19 year old nephew, Thomas “T”, was recently a victim of racial slurs and violence. He was attending a party with his basketball teammates in Oregon, when a fight broke out. Someone then hit him over the head with a bottle and then AGAIN with a crowbar. WTF?!! The incident made the local news, was all over Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (most of his friends are well versed in social media). He was in coma, needed machines to help him breathe and eventually was able to move his right arm, both his legs, but not his left arm. He’s not out of the woods yet, it’s too soon to tell. He had brain surgery which led to swelling. We won’t know for awhile, the human brain is tricky. He has his youth and strength on his side, he also has an army of people praying for him and his mom (my sister).
This is one of the times where it’s hard for me to keep the faith, to believe that everything has a purpose and that things will be ok in the end. But as I look back on my life so far, I have evidence that yes, it’s going to be ok. Instead of throwing my hands up and going back into my cave, I courageously head towards the light. I can feel it, something has changed in me. I don’t know if that means that I’ll never feel severe depression again, but I do know that it’s not going to win this time.
To the woman that wielded the near fatal blow, I know that the amount of anger and fear that was in her when she struck T, is equivalent to the amount of suffering that’s going on inside of her. I went through a brief period of anger that I directed at April Brown, but now have quietly resolved to pray for her. As she realizes the magnitude of her actions, I pray she is able to forgive herself and come to terms with it. I pray that T pulls through and is a testimony of faith in action. I pray that somehow this incident strengthens my sister and her family, and I pray that as the human race continues, that we one day will know a time without violence against each other.
Thank you internet, for allowing me to purge my thoughts to a faceless audience. Getting it out is healing. Man, I need to do this more often.