Tag Archives: depression

March 7, 2018

And now, the bad news:

Monday morning I received a subpoena from Dawn’s attorney. This was for contempt of court hearing number 5.

The reason?

Because Wells Fargo took $2500 out of my account on February 15th due to old bad debt. The money was set aside to pay alimony and attorney fees. In addition a couple of show checks were chasing me around the country in search of my new address, and they were later than expected. So … I was late on February alimony and arrears. It was paid, it was just late. So they hit me with contempt.

On May 21, I have to appear in Mecklenburg county court to defend myself against criminal contempt charges. I will have to cancel two shows and come up with airfare. I can’t seem to make the opposing party understand that this will cripple my ability to pay my monthly due. I contacted the clerk of court about changing the date, but that was a no.

I just need a break from the persecution … and a few shows to get my momentum back.

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breathe

it is okay for me to be upset when You leave
it is okay for me to want You to stay
it is okay for me to have a hard time
it is okay for me to be affected by my mental illness
it is okay for me to make mistakes
it is not okay for me to throw a fit
it is not okay for me to get angry at You
it is not okay for me to let myself dwell on my emotions
it is not okay for me to pick a fight because of a temporary feeling
it is not okay to for me to hold onto hurt feelings
i can get through these emotions
i can be patient with myself
i can apologize when i make mistakes
i can explain my actions without placing blame or making excuses
i can let go

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Validation

I believe that my work is important, vital even, to some people.

My fellow entertainers and I bring relief to the machine. Levity to buoy the spirit and return it to flying … or soaring. We inspire, we enlighten, we save lives at our very best. We change them, too.

One of the most difficult things for me to handle is praise. I don’t know how to accept it graciously. I feel gratitude and thankfulness for those that take time to tell me their thoughts on the show and how it moved them, I just don’t know how to respond properly.

A friend recently wrote the following on Facebook about meeting me and getting to know me offstage. (We recently worked together in a play about Jack the Ripper called ‘Whitechapel’)

“I knew of you long before i actually met you… but Whitechapel sealed the deal.
Upon first seeing you, I thought: “He really sold his soul to the devil for magic.” And that’s amazing. And pure. And true. And omg that was amazing.
What do i like most about you? You aren’t afraid to bare your absolute soul to the world. You are an artist in the truest form. There was a day, i think it was the second to last or maybe the last day of Whitechapel, i parked next to you over off of 36th by Rat’s Nest, i got out of my car to wave hi to you in your van. You were listening to music, I’m not sure what song, but you were crying. Sobbing. I knew things were difficult at the time…with life and things, but to see you expose the emotions so fully, so unabashed, so freely brought me peace. Knowing that it’s ok to bare our troubles in such a way, to music even. I will never forget the day you made me love being human.”

I will never forget the day you made me love being human.
On the one hand, how do I express how grateful and happy I am that I was able to give her such a gift? On the other … words and letters like this let me know that I’m on the right road, doing the right thing, and using my gifts well.

Don’t be afraid to live fully. And love who you are.

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The Naked Truth 5/5/16

Atlanta, Georgia.

I had an audience of about 40 people. A little above intoxicated, for the most part. Friends, loved ones, strangers.

The ‘Liar!’ portion of the show went beautifully .. new additions of ‘Rugby’ (a multiple card selection) and ring-linking were quite well received.

As I (kind of) expected, this audience had deeper-seeded issues. Some of the language in the photos below is pretty harsh.

For those new to this: I spoke to them about my own issues of body image and being in the middle of a crowd of people. I asked them to think of their own issues and one word or phrase that causes them shame or sorrow. A label unfairly placed on them that mutes their music or shames their spirit. I asked them to give their pain to me, for a little while. Write down their word or phrase on my skin and leave it behind for as long as they could. I took off my clothes and and let the crowd surround me, writing on my skin. I didn’t run or cower, though my mind was screaming at me to do so.

They wrote, they purged, they wept.
Two souls left me messages: one wrote, “You are love” and the other wrote “You are beautiful”. It humbled and renewed me.
The results are below. Probably NSFW.

Photographs by Megan sky.

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Damage. (Warning: Intense words)

He sat on his parent’s bed, at the foot, so that the splatter would be bigger and cover both sides equally. In his mouth was the barrel of his father’s revolver. Pearl handles, expert engraving … really deadly, beautiful engine. He had taken it from it’s hiding place, loaded it and spent time considering the best delivery angle. He could feel the front site digging into the soft tissue on the ceiling of his mouth. He fully cocked the hammer and applied slow pressure on the trigger.
He was thirteen, and he was just done. Done with the pain, done with the abuse and the indifference of callous ‘loved ones’. Done with life.

And then a voice. Inside his head? In his ear? Doesn’t matter. Just four words:
“You’re stronger than this.”

And he let go. Removed the bullets and put the gun away. Lived. Today, he told me (and a group of servicepersons) all about it.

USO, day two.

Suicide. PTSD, Depression … and Spirituality.

Dark and grim, at times. Cut through with truth, foundations and real world exercises in dealing with anguish and stresses. I opened today with ‘This Strange Engine’ (the same version I did for the TED talk). I spoke on relationships, passion, and following the road. “There are no useless cards.”
And I did card tricks.
My topic proved apt as the day progressed. Difficult topics were explored. Hearts were revealed, some in between sessions. I listened and I shared. I was able to boost morale a bit with an impromptu show during lunch.

I made friends with a remarkable group of people …

In the midst of my darkness, there is love. When I was at my lowest, I was sent rescue. Strong friends and positive voices in my head. Sure, it’s ‘kinda woo’, but I have faith in the power of love.

I realize that today’s post is rambling, so let me just say:

Communicate.
Reach out. REALLY reach out.
Love, even those who seem unlovable.
Believe in the unbelievable power of your gift, the unfailing direction of your road.
Damage can be healed.

Love. Wins.

h

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Missing Peace

The Naked Truth
September 11, 2015

UpStage, Charlotte, NC

Aftermath

The pictures of most of the words are below. I’ve been struggling with what to say for weeks. Here it is, in all its muddled, ragged glory. On my body, the words literally burned. (This due to toxic reaction from marker ink, nothing woo) In my head … I hear these word yelled:

SLUT! WHORE! GARBAGE! WORTHLESS! COWARD! FAILURE!

These words, these feelings didn’t grow on their own. Someone placed them in someone else’s head. Two things go through my mind:
I hurt for the people who wrote on me. I became the coward, the slut … I felt shamed and humiliated. To carry such burdens daily and have them feed on you … well, honestly, I know that feel.

I hurt for the people who said these things in the first place. What must go through someone’s mind and soul that would cause them to plant such bitter fruit? What had they suffered through that led them to try and slough off some of it to someone new?

I stood like a Shaman and took on the burdens of my tribe. Backstage I had them photographed and read to me. Hateful words. Pointed words. Meaningless words. Meaningless words that have the potential to kill or lay ruin.

Women I love wrote whore and slut. Friends that I love wrote such words as DEBT, COWARD and Damaged. My son wrote MORON, and I knew where he heard it. Callous, unthinking gardeners sowing seeds of shame and hatred. It hurts and those written words have continued to weigh on me and hurt.

My friends, please stop. Stop cutting into your fellow travelers. Stop training them to dislike themselves. Stop judging, especially in your very limited experience. Heal, instead.

There was a kind, loving woman who met with me after. Her family told her growing up that she was inferior and not very smart because she was female. She would never, ever be equal to a man in task because: Women are stupid. Women are inferior. Her male relatives made bets about when she would become a teen mom.
Heinous, disgusting … but they themselves need care and understanding.

I wept. I watched the words fade daily and I wept, because these hurts were going back to their owners. Someone asked how I dealt with carrying these wounds. The answer is: I just did it. I surrounded myself with friends who love me and I poured myself out to them. I had a fall, a big one. They were there to make sure I could stand up again. I prayed. Not to a god, per se, but …

You know? Let me insert this right here. Believe how you want to believe. If religion is your drug of choice and it gets you through this insane, painful, beautiful world … I’m not going to shame you or disparage your choice. It’s right for you, and that’s perfect. BUT: if your religion prompts you to hate, hurt or demean another human being? You’re just plain wrong. Be the light. Be the love. Man … I’m dizzy up on this soapbox. Let me step down and wrap this up.

I can’t write any more right now. The pain is too great and my heart is breaking again. So, this (for now):

You can hurl words like spears, you can burn me and brand my pain onto my body. It’s still not me, this pain.

… or you could love.

Brace yourself. And please … let me hear your thoughts. Comment or email me (info@chrishannibal.com)
I really need to hear from you.

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On Splintering

A very good friend wrote to me this morning. He’d caught wind of some of the things happening in my personal life and extended his sympathies.

Off topic: I’m very torn about how much to share via this medium. On one hand I don’t wish to hold anything back; I want to write honestly and with raw feeling. On the other I don’t want to bring pain to anyone, most especially the people I hold close and dear. My personal viewpoint would almost certainly do that. What to do …

At any rate, my friend closed with the sentence: “worlds are collapsing all around me”. This sentiment touched me deeply. The events happening around me are hard and full of sorrow. There are goodbyes and longing and … seeming endless hours of waiting. Waiting for a word, a gesture. But my world, my journey isn’t collapsing. I’m losing some very important gifts. Stories are ending much sooner than expected and I feel powerless to change things, powerless to heal the wounds on myself and on others. It hurts, make no mistake.

But … it’s a semicolon, not a period. My sentence, my story isn’t over yet. There are chapters ahead. I still have my talents, my personal gifts of laughter, magic and storytelling … these gifts are still mine to share. I’ll keep moving forward and striving to love with all my might.

You can, too. This isn’t the end.

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Dear Diary

I’m sitting here, struggling to focus on work that needs to be done, but becoming more and more distracted and anxious.

So … I write.

One of the most horrifying things about living inside of this head is: self sabotage. There are things I know I can do to make myself and the people around me happy, and I watch myself defeating my own plans. I want to drive the people who love me away. Isolate myself. Not because I don’t love them, need them … I DO! I think of these things simply because sometimes my head tries to tell me I don’t deserve them, or (worse yet) that I should push them away because I deserve to be alone and uncared for.

Neither of these things is true, but that’s what I tell myself. Loudly. Repeatedly.

In fact, right now I’m under siege. I have plans. Awesome, soul saving, relationship building plans. I’m struggling really hard to not cancel, pick up a bag and drive somewhere alone, turn off my phone and become unreachable. I’m close to losing.

So … I breathe. And I struggle with my patience. I work on my art and I write. Writing in an effort to not sabotage myself and my loved ones again.

There’s more. There’s HOPE … and I want to write about that, too. And about the amazing emails I’ve been getting and the spectacular people in my life and the verifications and the love.

But sadly right now, I’m too distracted and anxious.

Bear with me? Forgive me?

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Understanding

Let me try to explain: Those of us suffering from various forms and levels of depression aren’t wanting to be sad … We aren’t trying to be sad … We simply are sad.
I hear ‘Happiness is a choice’ quite often, and I don’t argue …. But believe me, if it were only that simple it’s the choice I’d make.
Sadness makes us make horrifying decisions, erodes and even destroys our treasured relationships and isolates us from those whose love and understanding we need the most.
When it is your heart’s desire to create and entertain, to live Art and spread joy …. the sadness can eat at you like cancer on your spirit.
I’m not trying to make any excuses; I’m simply hoping for understanding.

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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. Brady told me in no uncertain terms that my ancestors were likely serial killers, or at the very least made human blood sacrifices.

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.

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