Bryan Sammis, one half of La Bouquet and the man behind Olivver the Kid, battles clinical depression. In his own words, "dealing with depression alone can be terrifying." He wrote this letter to share how he copes, adapts, and most importantly, how this feels.
Depression is a funny thing.
Well, it’s not funny at all...it fucking sucks, but I’ve found that one of the best things that I can do to normalize & infantilize my demons is to laugh at/about them.
I don’t know if it works, but what else am I going to do?
I’ve refused to take clinical meds as I’ve always heard they make you a bit foggy. I hate being foggy. Being an artist is hard that way, wanting to get better but not wanting to lose that edge of your mind that makes you who you are.
There’s a delicate spark that fuels the creativity in our brains & I believe that my depression has been an integral, although infuriating, part of that cocktail. Or am i just making excuses for myself?
The truth is I need to feel like i’m in control of what’s going on inside my head, even if i’m not.
I don’t think I could pinpoint a time in my life where I wasn’t depressed. Maybe when I was a pre-teen. I know there have been bouts of avoiding it, we can call those my “vacations”. I haven’t had a vacation in about six years.
I think as i’ve gotten older, & responsibilities have piled, & failures have accumulated, I have definitely had to go to war with myself on a daily basis. It’s hard going to war WITH yourself & go to war FOR yourself at the exact same time.
I’m 28 years old. My hair has been going grey since i was 23. I don’t fully mind how it looks, but It’s definitely not genetic, it is fully stress induced.
It’s a stress I feel from a lack of control.
I’ve always said that a lot of the time depression makes me feel like I am an observer in life, rather than a participant. It’s already foggy most days for me. You can imagine how frustrating that can be for someone who needs to feel in control.
“There is a strength born in misery. A focus cut of this insanity. A body, locked in the vice grip of conflict. A mind, sharpened on the shards of disappointment.”
Living with depression is not easy, & everyone has their own way of dealing with it. For me, I’ve had (or *chosen* depending on the perspective) to deal with mine alone. That’s not to say I don’t have friends & family who love me & would be there in a second...but it’s not that simple, it rarely is.
Dealing with depression “alone” can be terrifying for most people, & don’t get me wrong it’s been an absolute nightmare, but it has also sharpened who I am and what I can handle. I am no longer the doughy, kind-eyed, lovable class clown I was when I was younger.
The truth is I don’t recognize who I am in the mirror anymore.
Hardened, cold, battle-tested, earnest, broken.
I’m scared of this person in front of me, but I trust him with my life. Someone like that has been through some shit. Surely that’s not me? What have I ever wanted out of life but kindness, love & the ability to be creative?
Honestly, who I was would not be able to handle what I go through, or what I’ve been through. I have seen my mind change, develop & strengthen itself to adjust to the ever growing depression & anxiety. My survival mode kicked in in a non-physical way, we can call it “Emotional Darwinism”.
Where does one go from here?
How do we get better?
Am I lumping you in with me to feel less alone?
Honestly, I’m not sure I see a light at the end of this tunnel. Does that mean I will go my whole life chasing? Chasing what? What would happen if I found peace? What would happen if I found whatever it is that I don’t know I’m looking for? Would I even know what to do with it? Or am I so mired in the struggle that at this point it’s become an essential part of who I am?
That’s the interesting thing about writing about something like depression, I can write about it all day but I don’t have the answers, only questions.
I don’t know what to do with it, I don’t know what to tell you to do with it. I can only share how i’ve learned to cope, how i’ve learned to adapt, & share with you how I feel.
I’m the type of person, I’m sure, you’d meet and think was fine. You might even like me. We might even just become friends. I mean what’s not to like on the surface? I’m social, I’m funny, I’m creative, I’m nice, & I am also clinically depressed.
I’m not ashamed of it.
It is just plain & simple a fact.
I can be happy, I can feel love, I can feel something sometimes. The difference is they are few and far in between. But, hey, maybe that’s just me. More than likely it’s not.
Either way, I need a vacation.