2/22/19 #SameHere Hero: Chris Waymon

Today’s #SameHere🤙Hero: @ChrisWaymon
Chris reached out a few weeks ago about getting involved & shared some of his story with me, but when I read his full submission, I was wowed. A gifted dancer, artist & musician as a child, he worked his way to negotiate a record deal w one of the hottest groups in the industry.  Instead of signing however, his parents wanted him to go a more traditional educational/professional route (even focus specifically on becoming a doctor & dropping music), so he began attending a 4 year university.
He met a woman, had 3 kids in a relatively short amount of time while at school, & knew he needed to provide for them, so he began working odd jobs. From there he turned to the military, but had to leave due to injury & then fell into a traditional 9-5 routine. All the while, he missed music & creativity, & he found himself severely depressed, w difficulty getting out of bed.
Read the story about how he went from a Bipolar diagnosis, w anxiety & PTSD from his time in the military, to chasing his passion & starting his own music company where he is now thriving & again working w some of the biggest names in the industry, & using his work to keep him out of his depressive states:
“Ever since I was a child I always wanted to be in the music industry. Growing up I learned how to play 5 different instruments, how to read, write & produce music. In high school a group of friends & I formed a hip hop band where I was able to negotiate a record deal with Outkast.
Being that I was 17 at the time, a senior in high school, I was offered a full scholarship to Morehouse so my parents didn’t allow me to sign the record contract & wanted me to pursue a more promising career as a doctor. I then started to work for Jermaine Dupri So So Def Record & helped develop recording artist Anthony Hamilton, Bone Crusher & YoungBloodz, & I was always a background dancer for recording artist Nivea.
I didn’t enroll in Morehouse because my heart was always with music so I decided to go to Georgia State University & major in Music Business. While I was in GSU I met my wife, & fast forward 3 years later we were engaged with 3 children. So, I knew at the time I had a family to take care of, & gave up the life of the music industry. I worked odd-end jobs sometimes 3 jobs at a time or 120 hours in a 2 week time period. And…that wasn’t enough so I decided to join the Army.
Due to a high school injury, & from being a dancer I hurt my knees, so the Army felt that I wasn’t fit for duty & gave me a medical discharge only after being there for a year. When I came back from the Army I went back to working a 9-5 job.
But, everyday I was unhappy to the point I quit & enrolled in school, & the military paid for my education. On my last semester before graduation I couldn’t focus, I couldn’t concentrate, & for some reason I didn’t feel like even getting out the bed. I couldn’t sleep – where I would go up to 6 days without sleep & 4 days without eating. I didn’t understand what was wrong, so I just acted like nothing was wrong. I ended up failing out of school & wasn’t able to continue, even with only one semester to graduate.
I felt that I wasn’t happy, so I started my own business in the music & entertainment industry, something that I knew I had a love for. Keep in mind that I had been out of the industry for 10 years so a lot had change & I had to rebuild a name for myself in the industry again. I was getting booked to work with artists, models, actors, fashion shows – you name it, but because I was trying to build a name again I wasn’t getting paid. This caused my wife & 3 kids to be homeless, sleeping on the floor & couch of our family members. I couldn’t get any support from my parents because they felt I should have listened & not pursued a career in the entertainment industry. But, I kept working on my business hoping that it would grow & be successful.
Within the first 3 years of business, I truly wasn’t happy, I was feeling sorry for myself, & I wasn’t motivated. I felt like there was no reason to get out the bed. I missed meetings with potential clients, & I was fired by current clients because I wasn’t doing the job I was hired for. This is when I realized that something was wrong. I went to Veteran Affairs hospital & they diagnosed me with Manic Bipolar Depression. With MBD you have high days & you have low days, so this diagnosis made so much sense to me. When my business was hired for a new job I felt on top of the world. During the process of working with them, the feeling of hitting rock bottom would also happen, & I would miss important meetings because I couldn’t get out the bed. Then the day of a project, I felt motivated & ready to work again. So to make a long story short, I learned that to overcome my mental health complication, I had to continue to work, stay busy, & focus on growing my business. The moment I’m not working, I lose that sense of accomplishment & motivation.
Being in the military I’d also developed anxiety & PTSD, where I was I always on guard. I was always on edge thinking I had to protect my family. When I was discharged I think that was the point I developed depression. I felt the military was going to be the answer to provide for my family, so when I was discharged, I was like ‘What Next’? I didn’t recognize the depression until later.
I realized 2 years ago that I couldn’t continue to have my family suffer because my downfalls & I truly need help. I was getting help about 5 years ago, but with the depression I wasn’t getting out of the bed to go to my doctor appointments. I felt it wasn’t helping & I was in denial about what was wrong. So 2 years ago I realized that things wouldn’t get better unless I got help. I couldn’t provide for my family unless I grew my business & I couldn’t grow my business unless I got the proper help I need to get better.
I had to find my center of happiness again. I had gotten so far away from the things that made me happy. There were so many people in my ear with negative words, that it made me feel worthless & less of a man because I couldn’t provide for my family. I had to get back to the things that made me happy. I was so focused on being an adult & I had to get back to my inner-childhood which was the entertainment industry. So, working different projects such as producing movies, music videos, commercials, going to the studio with artists, even filming my family vacations & making them into movies for keepsakes kept me going.
I feel people will react somewhat positively to my #SameHere story, because they knew I was out of character & this is the reason why. I know there will be some friends & family with negative feedback but I’m at a good place in my life now where it will only motivate me to be even more successful and not allow them or my mental health to stop me.”