Taken By The Wind (A Personal History, Part 2): Bad Vibrations

A day later than planned, but here we go…

I was telling you about my father, and all the great times we had when I was a kid. And I said the next post would be one particularly entertaining anecdote. In today’s very special episode of Taken By The Wind, I’ll tell you about the day I effectively became an orphan.

Here’s the scene:

Afternoon. Me, at sixteen, reading on the sofa in the living room.

My father and his wife, my second stepmother, are in their bedroom.

Their door opens and my father steps into the living room, glaring.

“You stole something from our room,” he says. “Give it back.”

I’m at a loss, since I have not, indeed, stolen anything from their room. I say something to that effect.

“Yes you did,” he tells me. “Get it.”

“What did I steal?” I ask.

“You know,” he says. And he’s very angry.

“I have no clue what you’re talking about,” I say.

He fumes. “You know what I’m talking about,” he says. “I’m going back in the bedroom. I’ll come back out in ten minutes, and you better have it.”

And he disappears into the bedroom.

I go back to my reading. Can’t do much else.

Ten minutes later, he returns. His thick leather belt is in his hand. “Where is it?”

“I don’t know. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

He glares at me, looking like he’s trying to solve an algebra problem that keeps kicking him in the nuts.

“I gave Pam a gag gift,” he finally says. “You went in our room and stole it.”

And then I realize what he’s talking about.

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Taken By The Wind (A Personal History)

Okay, so here’s the deal…

I suffer from depression.

To the unenlightened out there, that means I’m moody or lazy or mopey or too sensitive or whiney. I’m none of those things. I’m not even really sad, for the most part, though after suffering this affliction pretty much all my life, there is certainly a constant hum of melancholy way back in my mind. And despair. And anger.

On the plus side, I’m 6′ tall, naturally fit, agile, and strong. The baldness that colonized my father’s head has found no home on mine. I’m blue-eyed, square-jawed, and apparently reasonably attractive. I’m highly intelligent, and can write very well. These things and others I’m grateful for.

In overwhelming opposition to those blessings, I apparently have the genetic bug that makes you vulnerable to depression. Apparently, though anyone can get depressed (usually through some sort of trauma), most people are innately capable of recovery. But when you have the gene for it, it’s harder to recover, and if you are repeatedly traumatized, the depression can settle in for good.

Kids, especially very young kids, with this neurological fuck-up are particularly susceptible. Their brains are still forming and such trauma can do permanent damage. Kids who lose a parent early or who are abused are at really high risk.

I was both. Continue reading