My name is Steve, I am 58 years old and I recently sold my share of the machine shop I started 17 years ago. I am doing well today, but if you had asked about my life a couple of years ago, I would have said something different. Because I was struggling with depression, I would have told you that my business was going to fail, my hobbies were a waste of time, and I was certain my wife did not love me because I was such a horrible person. Everything in my life was negative and nothing brought me any happiness.
When I look back on my life, I think that I lived with depression for a long time. My depression made me feel dumb and I never felt like I was good enough to do anything. Even as I started my own business, I had a constant belief that I was too stupid to run this thing and certainly, it was going to fail because of me. I would make small mistakes that everybody makes, but I would turn those mistakes into solid proof that I was stupid. I lived in constant fear about how people perceived me. For most of my life, I felt like a fraud.
Along with the depression, I also lived with constant anxiety. My brain was always racing with worry. No matter how hard I tried to tell myself that things were going to be okay, it didn’t help. I was always looking to my wife to reassure me that I was a good person and I was smart, but no matter how much she told me this, I still felt the pain.
For a while, my approach to dealing with my depression and anxiety centered on taking medications and seeing a therapist. I was with the same therapist for many years, but I did not get everything I needed out of it. One day, my insurance changed and she informed me that since she did not accept my new insurance, she could no longer see me unless I paid privately for the sessions. That was a painful blow. After so many years together, I felt completely abandoned.
After this experience with my therapist, a friend of mine told me about Face It. I gave Mark a call, and he took the time to meet with me one-on-one over the course of several weeks. He never asked for my insurance card or for me to pay for his support and friendship.
After meeting for a number of weeks, Mark encouraged me to join one of the Face It support groups. This gave me access to men who have the same issues that I have. We are always there for each other. They help me stay on track with working on myself. I have learned that I am a good person. This is the first time in my life that I have friends I can talk to about anything. I also feel good about myself because I can give back and try to help others.
I’ve learned to pay attention to my thinking. For so long, I viewed everything as negative. I never was able to see the good in anything and it would get to the point where my head was flooded with doom and gloom. Now I talk to my wife or the men at Face It when I find that I am being negative. They can usually help me look at things from a different angle.
I’ve learned to identify my feelings in a way that helps me deal with them. Recently we had to move my mom, who has Alzheimer’s, to a memory care unit. During this process I was so angry and frustrated. By talking it through with my support system, I realized that there was a big part of me that was just plain sad to see my mom leave the house I had spent so much time in. By acknowledging that I was feeling sad, I was able to let myself grieve and see the benefits of my mom being in a safe and supportive environment.
From where I sit today, I can say that my life looks pretty darn good. I am married to a wonderful woman. My hobbies, such as playing the guitar, woodworking, and traveling with my wife, all bring me a ton of joy now. Face It has been so important in helping me find happiness again.
Learn about the support offerings that have helped Steve and many other men recover from depression.