I’ve spent almost 27 years on this planet. To be exact, today I am 9,851 days old. 11 more days and I’ll be exactly at my 27th trip around the sun. To say that my life has been a fun ride to this point would be a huge understatement.
I don’t have one of those crazy stories like you see in movies. I didn’t grow up rich, I didn’t grow up poor. I grew up in a normal middle class family with two of the hardest working and most supportive parents you’ll ever meet. I grew up in a small town, far from everything and disconnected from most of the outside world. The internet wasn’t fast and constantly in your pocket like today. Social media was limited to MySpace, and trying to chat with girls on MSN over dial up connections — with phones ringing and constantly kicking you offline. The highlight of owning a cell phone was limited to beeping ringtones that barely sounded like the song they were supposed to mimic and having to hit the same buttons like 500 times to write one sentence. In reality the reason I’m writing this isn’t because tonight was anything special, but I’ve spent the last few days looking back at the last year and think it’s a story worth sharing.
I’ve been lucky. Really, really lucky. If you already know my story I’ll try my best to make this quick and not bore anyone. I’ve always been a little off the wall. I like to call it “creative” – most see it more as “has trouble paying attention”. I’ve never really had a clear path in life, or felt like I knew exactly what I wanted to do. When I was young I was fascinated with cameras. Mainly my mothers huge shoulder VHS camcorder. I would always try to carry it around and film things, which usually ended in my mom telling me to be careful and then me filming everyone in the house with their hand up to the lens. The constant need to film and edit together videos never really went away, but when I started college I decided it was time to “grow up”. I bounced around majors for a few years and ended up graduating with a degree in economics. I did what every parent, teacher, and professor told me to. I stuck it out and got a focused degree in a math related field. I landed a job with the government straight out of college. I took the safe option and was exactly where everyone wants you to be. 1 year and 10 months into that job I was let go due to budget cuts. I was 24 years old and lived in a rural town where higher education is virtually worthless in the job market. I had never felt so helpless. I vowed to myself that I was never going to put myself in that situation again, and that I wanted to be rewarded for working hard. I had hatched the idea for Marks Media a year prior to losing my job and had actually picked up a few side gigs doing social media consulting. I was using my data analyzing background to read insights and help businesses target posts and reach more customers. After losing my job I decided that being an entrepreneur was always what I wanted deep down and that I needed to pursue it full-time. I realized that the number one thing missing from my clients social media was engaging content. That’s how I ended up back in the photographer/videographer field. That was almost 3 years ago, and today I spend the majority of my days filming and editing commercial video work, and helping implement content that gets people noticed on all of their digital touch points. I was also the co-founder of a clothing brand right here in Deep Creek Lake. I saw the potential for a cool lifestyle brand that would create a community of people who all love this place we call home so much. Like I said… I’ve been really lucky.
The last year however, hasn’t really been the glitter and rainbow lifestyle that I try so hard to portray to all of my clients and social media followers. It all started last year around Thanksgiving. I noticed myself struggling in all sorts of things. I was constantly distracted while I was trying to work. I was tired. I didn’t feel like myself in any way. I thought I was just going through a slump and tried to fight my way out of it. This went on for over a month and I kept ignoring it and doing my best to hide it from everyone. Things went from bad to worse, but I kept telling myself I could figure it out and that I was fine. Some days I would stay in bed the entire day and do nothing. I would roll around, stare at the ceiling, answer the calls and emails on my phone that were absolutely necessary and then just go back to that odd quiet nothing. I would wake up and go in my office before my wife got home on those days and pretend everything was fine. I worked and went to shoots and meetings when I had too, but most of my days were spent in this odd limbo. This sounds weird, but I almost felt like I was out of my body at some points — completely lost.
I felt weak, and was embarrassed that I had let it get to this point. The day I finally decided I needed to tell someone — I remember getting up from my office and walking downstairs to our kitchen. I glanced at the microwave when I walked in and noticed the time. I can’t remember the exact time, just that it was something repeating like 11:11 or 12:12 — distinct enough that I noticed it. The next thing I remember is that I kind of woke up and was just standing in the middle of the kitchen. When I looked at the clock I had been there for almost 30 minutes. Just standing. I didn’t remember why I had even walked downstairs in the first place. That was the day I decided to tell my wife and talk to someone about everything. To say something like this is a hack to your ego is the ultimate understatement. I honestly thought this was something that I would always hide from the world, pretend its something I don’t deal with everyday and let everyone continue to think my entire world is perfect. I was afraid to let clients see my vulnerability, and afraid it would scare them from working with me. I was afraid to let people see that the fun happy Logan was sometimes faking that outward appearance. In reality I was afraid people would think less of me. The more I’ve tossed the idea of writing this around the more I’ve realized I feel responsible to share my story. I’m not famous or have a massive social media following, but my business has some public visibility and if I can even get this message to one person that needs to see it — it was worth it.
At the beginning of this year I was diagnosed with depression –More specifically — Seasonal Affective Disorder or (SAD). It sounds stupid saying it. I still don’t like saying it, and I don’t mean because the acronym is “sad”. I always thought depression was because something happened, or had reason. I didn’t think it was something that would just take over you and not let go with no real warning. Unfortunately, SAD isn’t really a lesser version of depression — it just means that mine is more specific and my symptoms are experienced and concentrated at certain times of the year. In medical terms: the reduction in sunlight in winter can throw your biological clock out of whack and reduce levels of serotonin (a brain chemical that regulates your mood) and melatonin (a chemical which regulates sleep and mood). In easy to understand terms: this is serious shit you don’t want to ignore. Being healthy isn’t limited to just your physical state.
I’ll admit it, I was guilty of shrugging off mental health issues. I was guilty of chalking those people up as crazy and not giving it a second thought. That was until I met my wife. She suffers from anxiety that at some points was crippling. I saw how badly it effected her, but still had trouble understanding because I didn’t suffer from anything personally. This last year has really shown me what its really like. The feeling of being trapped inside your own head with no idea which way to go or what to do. The last few months I’ve seen the push to make things like this more main stream and that makes me so happy. I know what it’s like to be embarrassed and afraid to ask for help. I know what it’s like to try and fight it by yourself and I promise you its a road that goes to a place no one should be. Mental health isn’t a joke. It is not something you can shrug off. Please remember that these issues usually aren’t outwardly visible on most. Get educated and please please ask for help.
You’re not less important, you’re not weak, you’re not alone — none of us are perfect.
Keep being weird.
Never let someone tell you that you can’t do something.
– Logan Marks