Before I relate my experiences about depression. I want to thank and express my gratitude to Robert Anaya Ramirez for writing NDepression Can Be Deceiving. It's about time someone wrote about it. As my subtitle suggests, depression does manifest itself differently for all of us.
In my case, I now know that my depression started before I hit puberty. I was born with a mild form of cerebral palsy and in the years before puberty, I wore orthopedic shoes. Because of this, my peers sometimes perceived me to be slow, so I began to withdraw from a lot of peers. As I moved to my teenage years, I struggled with self-esteem issues and I began to have same-sex feelings towards other guys. I knew instinctively I could not act upon these emotions, so I said nothing. In addition, I endured emotional abuse from many people, including family members. The emotional abuse was sometimes as simple as someone responding to an opinion given by me, by saying either, "Callate", "Hablas Mucho", "Stupid", or "Shut Up".
I might add that a lot of times, these words that caused me to doubt myself were spoken by women. I always believed girls and women who reacted this way sought to control and have power over men, because heaven forbid you not be boyfriend or marriage material.
In my twenties, I decided to come out. In hindsight, that part of my life was easy, because my identity was clear and was accepted more in the GLBT community than I was in the Spanish-speaking/Latino community. As prevalent as drugs and alcohol are in the GLBT community, I did not drown my troubles in either. Even with the acceptance of this community, the emotional abuse both at home and in the workplace continued.
It was not until I decided to complete my Bachelor's Degree in my late 30's, when I read Foccault's, 4 Principles of Power, that I began to consciously assert myself.
Being Mexicano and raised in that culture, I am aware that we are taught and place a high value on respect. However, respect is mutual. The new immigrants to this country may have some issues with this idea, but that's the way it is. I have come to champion the idea because, I know that one of the justifications for the abuse that sometimes leads to depression is so the young can learn respect for their elders. What concerns me is that the after effects of the abuse are never considered or ever talked about because of the constraints of our culture.
As I am well into my forties, my regrets are that I did not know about power sufficiently enough to assert myself and also I regret that more of us did not know about depression to identify and seek help from it. I am grateful that I am no longer deceived about depression and would encourage all to write and express your own stories
Carlos Chavarin Chavez:
Carlos Chavarin Chavez is a bilingual, 41-year-old, native of Tijuana, Mexico. Chavarin is a resident of San Francisco and is a 2007 graduate of San Francisco State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Speech and Communication Studies.