Saved Me From Depression.
I know it might sound a little extreme because depression is a severe mental diagnosis. With that in mind, I’m going to write from very personal experience in hopes of reaching the right person that is suffering or having a tough time finding the right outlet in life.
Depression is dangerous, so I won’t hold back when writing this post.
When I first started my career as a barber, It was a magical feeling to finishing barber college. I never thought I could actually accomplish something with my life, based on my previous track record.
Rewinding The Tape.
Taking it back a few years before Barbering school…
I was married, divorced, and remarried again all in 4 years… I suppose that’s what happens when you live in a small country town with nothing else better to do. After going through some personal issues with marriage and having an Abusive father growing up. Not to mention living miles from the actual city, it really played games with my mental state.
The mind is a powerful engine that helps us solve problems and push through adversity. The brain controls how the body reacts to these various situations. If it’s not getting enough recovery time such as; proper hours of sleep or a healthy diet, It will slowly wither and die.
A lot started to build up in my mind, especially living under extremely stressful situations. I had too many emotional connections to each moment, I felt like my brain was working overtime, and I had no control over it!
Such as my family or people I love that was killing me from the inside out. I didn’t notice the toxicity until it was too late, and by that time, I didn’t have the mental capacity to pull myself out of the grips of despair.
During this time, I started developing “Safety Habits,” looking back at it, which seemed to be the only way of keeping my sanity throughout the whole ordeal.
It was fascinating for me to think about; that even though the mind is giving up and the body is too weak and malnourished to fight. There’s still that small voice telling you not to give up even when the odds were stacked against me. While this was happening, I started developing strange habits, like obsessively washing my hands after everything I touched. I would get nervous and vomit, I’d even use my fingernail to draw made-up invisible shapes on my hands to keep my mind busy.
I become O.C.D. because my father would have a habit of break things around the house, which caused me to be controlling towards the little I did have control over. He would ruin my clothes by completely dousing bleach over top of them. The entire closet and floor around my bed would be drenched in bleach at night while I would be sleeping. Forcing myself to Wake up coughing and running outside my bedroom to catch my breath.
Needless to say, I absolutely hate the smell of Clorox now. Funny how that works, right?
If it wasn’t the bleach that woke me up, it was the lighter he would light under my feet. Sometimes it was the screams of my mother down the hallway as he would beat/strangle her or my other siblings. Whatever it took to get his power trip, he would do it. I remember a few times when I was much younger, he ran after me and grabbed me so hard I peed on the floor while he dragged me across the living room, whooping my butt like a scared dog. See, my dad wasn’t an average man, he was a world-class powerlifter, and we were all much smaller than him in size and stature.
When he grabbed you, it was better to just take the damage than risk him getting angrier and hurting another family member. I remember it clear as day, taking a shower. Although nothing would be happening outside the bathroom door, my brain would be on high-alert and create toxic scenarios of “What could be happening” outside. I would hear people arguing that weren’t really arguing just from the water hitting my face when I closed my eyes. The smallest sounds would play out to be the most prominent and scariest events in my mind. Most of the time, I would keep my towel on the lid of the toilet to continually go out of the bathroom door to see if everyone was okay.
Although there were a few times, it would be real. So, I went with the idea, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.” even tho my skinny little ass couldn’t do much anyway…
Which later turned into me working out hard-core in my highschool years. To someday whoop my father’s ass in the future. Turns out time as a funny way of evening out the playing field. Working hard outside doing farm work was expected. I started working for a construction company, It was easy for me to pick up; having been doing that type of work as a kid for as long as I could remember. But quickly realizing, this wasn’t going in a good direction for my life and ended up being taken in by my youth pastor and his wife. Who he later started instructing at a barber college and wanted me to follow in that career path. I learned everything I could and found myself for the first time as if I had a purpose.
Fast Forwarding My Life.
My mother was later diagnosed with “Dementia” at the ripe old age of 50. Which apparently, it’s almost unheard of in the Mental Health Community with her being so young. Due to the server trauma of living with my father, and undergoing constant verbal threats, night terrors, and abuse for 30+ years finally took its toll.
I suppose the human brain can only go through so much before it is Short-Circuited. The final stages of dementia are rather grim, my mother was unable to spell words, eat, or even speak. She had a perfectly healthy body but a broken mind with every diagnosis. The thing I will say about my mother is this; She is an angel, and she did her very best to raise all four of us boys. She never gave up, and even when her mind was slipping away, I’d catch her writing bible verses in her notebook. With each passing week, the writing became more sloppy as the illness progressed. She was a saint and didn’t deserve any of it. If there’s any good found in me, it’s because of her, there’s no doubt about that.
All she does now is watch family feud every day, and the nurses take care of her. She barely recognizes me anymore. It’s a cold and lonely feeling when your own mother forgets her own children’s faces. I wish that type of pain on no one. In 2018 my younger brother was killed in a motorcycle accident. (Which wasn’t his fault, the woman driving pulled out in front of him.) He hit the back of the woman’s car so hard his neck and head separated from his spine internally. The medical term was “Internal Decapitation.” I asked the mortician if he felt any pain.
“No, it was like flicking Off a Light Switch.” She told us.
It was hard to believe because he was a monster, and by that, I mean he was benching 400 lbs; he was only 20 years old. Known for beating up bullies in high school defending the Nerdy kids, He was a hero to some and a villain to others. I ended up taking care of my youngest brother, whos, now 19 years old with my fiancé in our one-bedroom apartment.
During all of this, I continued to question both my own existence and God’s ultimate plan for my life.
While going through the trials and tribulations. There was a dim light that always kept burning deep down inside of me. No matter how much crap piled up, the profession of “Barbering” was still something for me to escape too.
I’ve come to terms with Death and valuing the gift of life. I learned to not harbor the angry and confused. Like a therapist once told me, “Death is like a pile of Cow Shit, it’s ugly, nasty, and smells like shit. But once you learn to accept it as shit, you start to realize it’s good for growing plants and new life.” A change in perspective if you will.
Understanding this helped me to magnify my course of life, and add vibrancy and beauty to the world around me. It’s not to be feared, but to be held in a “Reverent fear,” which is a “respectful” understanding for its purpose.
Whichever physical or mental I was in, it didn’t matter because I learned that struggles and deep-rooted issues only gave me more of an advantage in life. Compared to the others around me, that lived the so-called; Normal Lives.
I understand why I act the way I do now and ultimately have come to terms with the chaotic life I once lived in. It’s infrequent to find both stability and order on this planet. But whether or not I do, I’m grounded mentally, and fully grasp the fact that nothing in life lasts forever. So, it’s better to go with the flow and do the very best you can when you have the reigns of life in your hands. Being beaten by the waves is hard, until one day, I learned how to surf.
How Barbering Saved Me.
What did barbering do for me? Barbering gave me a “Chance” to function as a normal human being despite the obstacles and allow for me to express myself when every other outlet was barricaded.
I learned about people, their dreams, fears and related them to mine. Which gave me a sense of hope, and that I have a purpose.
I don’t just “cut hair,” to me barbering was way more!
It was my therapy, that helped me to connect the missing links to become “Human.” I was an empty shell, confused and lost. Yet, God made a way for me to expand and grow even when the soil was too damaged to take root.
Being raised in a small town in the middle of the woods, barbering opened my eyes to a lot of new opportunities that I didn’t know existed.
I worked really hard to become “The Best” and that attitude accompanied by the understanding that “Death” is the least of my worries.
Gave me a new “power-house” mentality and I moved to the big city ready for anything.
“You can’t scare somebody who’s not afraid of dying.”
I became great in my craft, was gifted the influence to share with many barbers.
Later I became a barbershop owner, a brand creator (Cyclops Brand), an online influencer on Instagram reaching over 24k followers.
I lost more than some people can ever imagine, Of course, I’m speaking for myself, each person has their own personal demons they fight with daily. But the answer to winning the battle is deep within yourself, you have to change your circumstances one tiny, almost insignificant move at a time.
I miss my mom, my brother, and every day I try to forgive my dad by the grace of God. My father still lives in that old broken down house; my mother still suffers daily. The brother That was killed came to know the lord months before his motorcycle accident. These are things I’m grateful for, my youngest brother is growing and learning the value of becoming a man taking on his share of responsibilities. If there’s any Silver-lining in my story, it’s that barbering helped me keep my head up when I stopped believing in myself, with God’s grace and determination. I’ve concurred depression, and so can you.
I started writing this barber blog a little over a year ago, please note I’m no better than anyone reading this post, you too, can do the exact same with your time and talents. I was just a broken man, trying to learn to value life more and help others along the way. When Jesus Christ is the only thing you have left, you quickly realize he’s all you ever needed.
I’m no longer afraid of dying, I’m scared of not living the best life I know I can, Using the tools the Lord has giving me. – Cyclops Brand
Follow us on Instagram: @CyclopsBrand If you ever need somebody to talk to, please feel free to D.M. me on Instagram. I’ll be sure to respond as soon as possible. Thank you for reading!