Sep 13, 2015
"Your past is never far behind you" is something I heard in Italian. When spoken, it was beautiful and when translated it really hit home for me. The saying evokes a lot of emotions and made me go back and relive some very difficult times. I think most people with depression will understand what I mean. I am real glad that I went through therapy in order to better deal with these emotions.
For many years I dwelled in my past. I played every bad thing that ever happened to me over and over in my head. Naturally that made me feel despondent. Over and over I would run these things through my mind and it had me focusing on anything negative that happened in life. Those were the things that I help on to. I slowly began to separate myself from all of the good things in life. The people, the things I used to enjoy were becoming memories. Distant memories. Unimportant and insignificant memories that were of no use to me.
Yet there I sat focused on the past and manifesting negative things. It got to the point where I would truly experience something I enjoyed and not be able to enjoy it because I knew the next big let down was right around the corner. This was my life. I was depressed....
My wife, even my little kids knew something was eating away at me. I was becoming a shell of my former self. They wanted to help me, but I couldn't let them. First off, I didn't know what the problem really was and secondly, no way could I let them know I had a problem. My ego wouldn't allow me to do that! It would mean that I was weak and they are expecting the big strong guy I used to be.
As time went by, the problem only got worse. Every day I was throwing more baggage onto the over loaded cart that was my life. Not only was my personal life a ticking time bomb, I was struggling harder than I understood on a professional level. I once had goals and expectations. At one time I had a personal moral code and that too was slowly eroding with time. Each day, I slipped a little deeper.
I began taking on this careless/aggressive behavior. Although I never struck my wife and kids, I did lash out verbally, angrily. I no longer had the ability to take responsibility for the things happening in my life and the things I was doing. In my head, I had to blame someone and I was wrongly blaming them. Continuing with this behavior, I put myself on the shakiest ground I had ever set foot on. It was like I was standing on a fractured glass floor right in the middle of the San Andreas fault and it appeared as if I didn't care.
At the same time, I could feel this little part me standing in the core of my being, screaming for help! With its little tiny eyes it couldn't see that the first step to help was right there in front of me. That probably had a lot to do with the bigger, madder, more depressed me acting as the judge, jury and executioner keeping the one thing fighting for justice on the outside of my lives courtroom.
My kids were teens by now. My poor wife sat in and battled with me, for me and even she couldn't see the adversary. With my moral code completely eroded, I hit rock bottom. I was on the pivot point of giving up. The worst thing I've ever done in my life took place and I was looking for a place to hide from the lives I was destroying. Somehow, some way, I managed to find a glimmer of hope.
For the first time in years, I felt the love from my family. I knew they were on my side and I knew they accepted me even after being this nightmare of a being. Because of them and timing, I found that little me at my core screaming for help and I was going to give him the reins.
I threw myself into the mercy of doctors and therapists. I remember being so reluctant. I knew that therapy was going to mean telling my life story over and over. I knew that it would probably conjure u[p some of my darkest secrets. I found it easy enough to accept all I did immediately preceding getting into therapy but I didn't want to own up to things from my childhood. I didn't think I could.
We were working with a family therapist as well as me seeing a personal therapist. Those 2 professionals were working together. Time and time again, I would explain my whole life story and not being able to see the amount of anger I was holding on to for things that were done to me. It never dawned on me that I had repressed all of this anger and that it was a big portion of my problems.
One day in the middle of a personal therapy session, I was getting worked up and my therapist stopped me. She stopped me and simply said, "What are you getting from this anger?" I totally understood the question and in a split second I said, "nothing" It was the most profound moment of my life. Years and years of me repressing anger seemed to be lifted from my back. I literally felt lighter. I felt younger. I realized that I could be able of focusing and then it was pointed out to me that I was indeed focusing on the things that were important to me and for me.
In the following months I learned so much about me and about life. I learned that my personal moral code was still intact and it was something that I could easily focus on. I learned that I had to accept the things that happened to me and that I was ready to do that and hold people accountable, on my terms this time. I learned that I had to take responsibility for all of the things I did and I found that so easy. For the first time in decades perhaps, I was being completely genuine and me being true to me was at the top of my list. No lies. No secrets. No holding on to anything. I was living life as an open book and it was cathartic!
By no means was I "cured" but I did manage to rise up because of the help of my family and a couple of therapists. My life was rearranged on the inside and that opened the door for complete acceptance and it enabled me to embrace each and ever situation for what it is, recognize it for what it really is and put it away for good... in the past.
My battle with depression continues to this day and I do have an occasional down day. I think we are all entitled. I am so far beyond where I was. My personal growth has helped my family grow as well as helped them grow as individuals.
To anyone battling any depression disorder, anxiety and PTSD, you need to know that there is help out there. it might take some time to find the right fit, but its there and never stop looking for it. Help might require you to do things that you are uncomfortable with at first. Do those things. It might require you to take some meds. Take those meds. You have to step in and become your own best advocate.
You can do this and I wish you all peace.