In Their Words…Doug T.
We have come to learn just how much men appreciate reading/listening to the stories of other men who have dealt with depression, anxiety, and the challenges that go along with these conditions. I have reached out to the 140 men who attend our support groups and asked them if they would be willing to share a story that was important to them that relates to the struggles they have had. I have made no edits to the content of what they wrote and the words that follow are those of the man who wrote them. Today I am sharing the story written by Doug T which you find below.
I really think I have been depressed most of my life. At least the parts of my life that I remember. Although, born September 9, a long, long time ago I must have felt pretty good, no depression, no self-hate, no sadness, no sleep problems, in fact, I slept like a baby. This was the case for a few years and I know this to be true because my mother told me so. As I got into late grade school and my teens there was stuff happening that I did not have the skills to process. These traumas, ranging from trivial to terrifying, made an impact that stayed in the back of my brain and often controlled my actions.
Worse than the trauma was my reaction to it. That’s when my search, my addiction, for “happiness” (false happiness) began. First began with food! What a spiritual awakening, a narcotic rush of total fulfillment. Bowls of ice cream were the ticket; also, bread loaded with peanut butter. Yummy. Supper would barely be digested, and I would be sneaking around the kitchen for food. It filled that void so rooted in my conscious and unconscious memories. Of course, shortly after I would realize my mistake, feeling stuffed, and worse. The addiction would widen.
While in high school it became difficult to maintain friendships. I had a couple close friends who “understood” me and thanks to them, I did have some pleasant experiences. But mostly I was selfish; dismissive of people, would not pay attention nor interact with them. I was in my own world of sadness, feeling sorry for myself, figuring that whatever they were saying was better than anything I was going through. Because I knew this, I felt like a jerk! My search for the “false happiness” was making me feel worse. I was compounding my depression. A stupid jerk!
Feelings of solitude and despair continued. At seventeen I discovered alcohol. Another spiritual awakening that made all life’s obstacles go away; man did I feel great, for a few hours. Alcohol and dependency continued for decades and caused more problems than could possibly be shared in this writing. I would need a book. Booze was my depression’s best friend as I was slowly killing myself, perhaps my goal. I finally hit rock bottom! “My rock bottom” and was forced to face my demons. Between maybe losing my loved ones and losing my fight with health I stopped!! I got scared . . . of everything I was throwing away.
I told my wife, my daughter, and two granddaughters that I had to seek help. Thankfully I still had their full love and support. Even more reason to get well. After professional help and continued after-care and self-care I am a much better man. I still struggle with some depression, but, I now have courage and am learning the skills to “Face It!”
“Change is never painful, only the resistance to change is painful” – Buddha
Please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or thoughts and I will pass them along to Doug T.