I suffer from depression. Well actually it’s “Major depression with anxiety”. It took me a long time to realise it. When I did everything went to shit. I had a nervous breakdown and I lost who I was. I went downhill very quickly, culminating in me getting very drunk and committing a very stupid act. I felt like I was drowning.
I went to see A friend of my Da, an ex-prisoner like him who went on to become a councillor and is a psychologist who has publish alot of papers about suicide and suicide awareness. On my second day with him he gave me a journal called the trouble with men, dealing specifically with men who suffer from depression. It opened my eyes.
There is a certain amount society expects of men. There is this traditional role of the strong man who deals with things as they come and is the one who people depend on. Macho-ism is rife, and other men look at those who show emotion or admit to suffering from depression and other things as weak. Inside I knew I was melting away, but my outside persona wouldn’t allow me to show anyone what was wrong with me. I didn’t want people to worry about me. I didn’t want to be a burden. I didn’t want to be weak. I didn’t want to be a failure. I thought I could do it all on my own and I had never been so wrong in my whole life. To everyone else I was this loud, happy and out going person, but I never was.
Joe helped me alot. I had issues with alot of things he helped me understand. I got better, but I still had no motivation. Joe felt he had given me the tools to deal with anxiety and depression after weeks of therapy and I moved on. But that theme of failure never left.
I couldn’t find a job. I tried for dozens and never got word back. I seen myself as some failure who could do nothing right (a running theme). I didn’t tell my closest that I was trying to find work because I didn’t want them to look at me the way I did. I never once rationalized it with the fact the World Economy is fucked and that was the reason, I just thought I was so useless I couldn’t get a minimum wage admin job. I was having serious issues with my bag which I kept to myself. I kept everything to myself again.
Despite being educated in my sessions with Joe, that showing emotion and admitting depression or when things were wrong is OK, I reverted to how I was before. I shared nothing. I didn’t want people to worry. It ruined relationships, and ruined me.
But this time I took action. Change medication, get back to councilling and get myself physically and mentally healthy. I didn’t want to go back to this time last year when I was a quivering mess who couldn’t leave the house alone. So I’m not. Although I now have developed a serious addiction to exercising (I get itchy if I don’t cycle for at least an hour a day, and I MUST DO ALL OF THE WEIGHTS, I’m like a reverse heroin addict. Right now I am looking at my exercise bike like it was my grá gan chuiteamh, my unrequited love. Incredibly sad) But at least this is positive and should hopefully help me rid myself of this chagrin.
I didn’t write this post as some attention seeking exercise. I wrote it as a warning to all other men. Don’t think “I’m alright, I’ll deal with it” because we rarely do. It is ok to be unhappy and for others to know. You need to deal with it. I just wish I had done it before now. Don’t regret anything, allow yourself to be happy.