Parental Advisory: Explicit Content
I had no intentions of making a video for the collection. I just wanted to put my art up on Instagram with brief descriptions of each piece, but Teez saw its potential before I did and put the idea in my head.
Everything included in the Depression Onset by Personal Experiences video has meaning, from the audio to the graphics, it all tells a story about my encounter with depression. It starts off with me talking about something I hear too often from people who really don't know any better. "Kofi, I'm tryna get like you." I've heard that saying more times in the past year than I've heard someone ask, "Kofi, how are you?" I felt like me reiterating it was the perfect way to start the video because anytime someone says it to me I analyze my life and begin to think about all the long nights I've experienced in the past year. The nights that were full of me crying, screaming in a pillow, banging my bed, talking to myself, throwing things, and pacing.
I would wake up the next morning and tell myself that I was okay and that the night before wasn't that bad, then go to school and smile for people who thought my life was somehow better than theirs. I decided to name this phase of my depression, "Sunken Place" (SP) because it got to the point where "I literally felt like dying." I remember telling Teez, "If God was to come down right now and give me the choice between dying or living, I would choose to die immediately." It was that real for me, and that's why I used I Feel Like Dying as the audio snippet for SP. The snippet was the epitome of how I felt at that time. It was the first time in my life where I felt that way about death. Every time I got home after school I knew I was going to face a wave of extreme sadness due to how often I cogitated about the past.
I knew there was nothing I could do to change my reality, but every day I had mental battles with myself. I would replay situations over and over and try to come up with better ways I could have handled them knowing I could never actually go back and enact those new solutions. "I kept reflecting," because I wanted to solve the problem. I thought that if I came up with a solution to the problem that acted as the catalyst to my depression that I would feel better, but that was a lie I forced myself to believe. Eventually, I realized there was, "No Turning Back" (NTB) and that I could reflect all I wanted to, but it wasn't going to help me grow and learn from the situation. I used Voices In My Head/Stick To The Plan as the audio snippet for NTB because during this stage of my depression I talked to myself a lot. Someone's thinking, "Woah, he's crazy," and you're probably right.
All those conversations I had with myself made me conscious of the fact that I had no clue who I was anymore. I told Jay one day, "I don't even remember my life before depression, like I can't even imagine living life without depression," and that's when I knew I was in a new stage in my battle. The, "Who Are You?" (WAU) piece embodies this stage where "I barely recognized myself," and questioned everything I did because I didn't trust myself anymore. The only thing I knew for sure about my pre-depression self was that I tried to treat everybody with the respect I wanted to be treated with regardless of how they behaved towards me. There were many times where I wanted to change that about myself, but I knew that wasn't a step in the right direction. I kept telling myself not to change and that's why I used the True 2 Self audio snippet with WAU. Towards the end of this stage, I learned to think about my mistakes as lessons rather than setbacks.
Also, I learned that there were people around me willing to help and I refer to these people as my support system. I learned that I needed to do a better job of opening up to them if I wanted to, "make it through," and so I did. I talked and talked and talked. I sent voice notes, paragraphs, screenshots, pictures and I just vented every day until I felt better. I, "Let It Out" (LIO). I let out everything I was feeling to the support system and they worked with me to help me grow from my experiences. Heaven or Hell was the perfect audio snippet to go with LIO because it talks about what people do to make it through the circumstances they're faced with.
I was going to use a Yall Dont Hear Me Tho audio snippet for the credits because there are still people who will look at DOPE and choose to disregard its message. There are people who will choose to believe their preconceived notions about my life or someone else's rather than digging deeper and trying to understand why. However, I didn't make DOPE for those people. DOPE is for the people who will resonate with its message and learn from it. DOPE is for the people who want to help, but don't know how. DOPE is for the people who want to start the conversation about depression.
With that in mind, I decided to use the Everybody Dies In Their Nightmares audio snippet for the credits because I resonate with XXXTENTACION's message in the song. He poured his heart out on his project, 17, and that song is a perfect example of how I feel. I'm tired of having to deal with depression and I know there are millions of people who feel the same. I felt like it was a perfect ending to the video.
Moreover, for those wondering, the syringe graphic that is displayed with the title text is meant to symbolize DOPE as the antidote to my depression. Everything has meaning.
This video, brand, and collection gave my life purpose for the past six months and really helped me to learn about myself. I hope it helped you too, and if it did or didn't tell me about it. If you're struggling with any aspect of your life right now I want you to know that you'll be fine, and I'm here to help, which is the main reason why I created AKB.
I'd also like to publicly apologize to anyone who was offended or felt disrespected by my actions in the past year. I know I have been a handful and I take full responsibility for my behavior. Moving forward I am trying to become more patient and understanding in all aspects of my life, and I pray you bear with me throughout this process.
To those of you who read this entire post, I would like to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. It's you who I do this for. I truly appreciate you.
The idea for this piece came after I watched the movie, "Get Out," and realized that I oftentimes felt like I was in my own sunken place. When I first made this piece I was so insecure about my art that I didn't even like it.
The idea for this piece came to me either when I was sitting at home or in class, I really can't remember. It was originally supposed to just be a graphic made for fun, but then I realized its true meaning.
The idea for this piece came after Curt called me "moon boy," when he saw me in Photoshop making a graphic using the moon. I wanted to make a graphic using the moon and a boy to be petty, but it became so much more.
This piece was a graphic I made in Photoshop as practice and I initially had no plans of putting it on a bomber. I'm glad I did though because it is now my favorite of the collection because it tells a story and offers hope.
Click each graphic for a better look.