Taking Umbrage

At the request and gentle urging of my trusted beloveds, I began searching for a therapist. One that could understand my unique situation … a little background is needed, I suppose.

I’ve lived with depression for as long as I can remember. It’s not like a cloak that I shrug on and off: more a tattoo that is always there, but sometimes burns and itches like it was still healing. Due to some intense stress over the past 8 months or so, it has redoubled its hold on me, and my sorrow it so great sometimes it worries even my friends.

The Contest is a big one. I’m voluntarily putting my art up to be judged in comparison to others’ works. I had vowed to never do it again, but … peer pressure and pride.
Robin’s suicide. The man I patterned my drive after. He couldn’t make it. His sorrow took him. For all my brave talk about picking up the flag … I’m a fraud. I’m not fit to tie his shoes and … he couldn’t hold on.
Cancer … yeah.
Dawn’s sickness. Slow coming yet sudden in the swiftness in which it took her down. I felt helpless and was then accused of not acting fast enough. This is most likely correct. I’m going to shoulder the blame.
Success. Overwhelming and undeserved, I’m still waiting for the fraud police to show up.

So, I received a recommendation from a trusted friend and made an appointment. I’m going to call her Brady.

She and I seemed to hit it off right away. My first thought in seeing her was that she resembled a very distinct villain from the world of Harry Potter. How cute. How funny.

We started off with her asking some very pointed, direct questions. Events from childhood, life status of my parents, grandparents … tragedy, joys, triumphs and failures. We spoke in plain, raw words for nearly 45 minutes. It was very comforting. We were able to communicate much quicker than other therapists I’ve spoken too. After a short pause, she began speaking.

It seems … I have a generational curse. Now, my health is tied into this. My sickness is hereditary, probably. Something, some defect in my DNA triggered this sickness. It’s probably been in my bloodline for centuries.

My traumas, from the divorce of my parents to the suicide of my hero are my burdens … and my Art is God’s gift to me to help me deal with these burdens. Not eradicate, not heal … deal with.

All the depression, the anxiety, the sorrow … I caused these things by not giving my gifts as a sacrifice to the Holy Spirit.They are entirely, securely, totally mine to bear forever. I own them.

This was all caused by … wait for it … a deal made with Satan. (now, Brady didn’t use the word ‘Satan’, that would be too direct. The phrase repeated was ‘The Enemy’. I swear, you really could hear the quotes around it.) Someone, somewhere, sometime in my bloodline made a pact, whether explicit or implicit with him … and the curse shall be visited even unto the last generation.

The cure may be found in a rigorous treatment of Splankna, acupuncture and chiropractic medicine.

Disclosure here, folks: I don’t believe in the treatment. on the other hand, I don’t have any serious doubts about the diagnosis.

But what I DID get from the meeting was: my misery is real and it’s a part of me because I absolutely deserve it. An honest to goodness professional confirmed what my father first told me when I was eight.

So i went and visited my old ‘hometown’, which isn’t really that far away. I put my feet in the lake in the spot I was baptized in. I felt cold water and … not much else. Same as the first time. (I appreciate the water much more now than I used to, so I did take time to watch for a little while.) I went to the bleachers in the ballpark. On this spot, some forty one years ago, my father (in a very kind, loving voice) proclaimed to me that I could never really hope to amount to anything worthwhile. I was doomed to be a failure and a burden. It was a shame, he said, because he had certainly hoped for a real son to share his interests with.

I feel worse than when I went in, and that can’t be right, can it?

What I’ve written here is just the surface. I can’t bring myself to type all that I’m really dealing with. (Yes … I AM dealing with it. There’s no cause for alarm, please don’t misread my words)
I can’t express it to my family, or my best friend. Not the depth of feelings.

I have work on the stage that still needs to be done. There are things I consider important that I want to say.

But right now? Right now I’m just sad.

3 Comments

Filed under Public Diary

3 responses to “Taking Umbrage

  1. Jennifer

    Oh sweetie, I’m sorry you are going through this. As your audience I don’t see your pain but I see the performer. From Facebook I see you have many friends and I’m sure along with family they will offer support. I wish you the best, hang in there. We love you, Jennifer and Sarah

  2. My dear friend I had no idea that you like my Greg are dealing with this. You are the opposite of him – he is hiding from his where you get out in front of the world bravely sharing your incredible talent.
    I have known you now for over 20 yrs and I am here to tell you that you are an awesomely talented man – a human who like all of us has flows – no one has super talent to see what will happen. Your dad was wrong you have amounted to alot – you make ALOT of people around the world happy with your talent and gift. You get up.in front of strangers and share yourself and talent. I have been to your show and I have heard people say amazing things about you.
    All you can do is DEAL with it – that’s very true it’s what we all do. I deal with the fact that I had triple negative Breast Cancer and the fact that I am all alone in a state I DO NOT like far from home. My photography gets me through it – it’s been my treatment for along time without my camera I would probably not be here.
    You are not a super hero – you are Chris and you are human. You have a wonderful family and you make people like me after seeing your show walk away with a smile.
    They say no one knows what’s going on with a person until you walk in their shoes and that is true. Please know that by talking to this lady – the trained professional – she is just bringing out what you keep bottled up – hearing yourself talk about it makes it more real but also know that you have a life worth living not only for your family, lovely wife and grand baby but for those people in the audience who you help smile everytime you take the stage. For a couple of hours in their lives you are able to take their stress away and that is a good thing.
    Hope this long post has made sense to you. I always try to be there for people and you my friend are a special man with talent that needs to be shared not judged. Remember that.

  3. barbara cody

    Chris
    I am so glad you took that first step to help yourself. Unfortunately, depression is a silent insidious disease. It can rob you of a life that a man as good as yourself deserves. There are many that have taken the words of their father and mother and carried them around d like unwanted baggage. Yes Robin Williams could not hold up under the weight. He chose to end his life and put out the flame of a brilliant man. I don’t know if he sought the help of someone or just let the turmoil inside him fester and eat away at his soul. I pray that you will not let that happen. You are a gifted and talented man. A wonderful family man and friend. Please don’t walk into this therapy thinking you are and anything less than that. You have taken the first big step to get yourself in a better place. Rejoice in the fact that you are loved and supported by many. I wish I had the courage to seek out the advice and help of a therapist.
    Be well, be strong and FUCK the enemy. Your better than that!
    With love and admiration, B

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