The pain has finally stopped: My journey of how I grabbed my depression by the horns and told it ‘No More’.
Today I was supposed to go to my very first psychologist appointment to begin the process of finding out what mental illness I have. Most likely I have depression mixed with anxiety. Both sides of my family have bipolar tendencies (tendencies not actual diagnoses because in my family back then, you never admitted you had a mental illness, you just drank and or abused your spouse/kids). All week I was thinking about that appointment. I had recently turned 29, but the appointment became the popular topic my brain chose to focus on. “I’m 29 today, but really next week, I go to Dr. (Name Removed) to finally figure out what I have, if anything.”
Then earlier today, about 3 hours before my appointment, I get a call from the Doctor’s admin. “Hi, just wanted to let you know that the Doctor is out today, can we reschedule?”
Somewhat relieved, somewhat disappointed, I ultimately rescheduled for a few weeks from today and sat on my couch wondering if this was some sort of sign. Was I not supposed to find out today?
Now that I have a few weeks to marinate on what (if any) deeper meaning this will mean, I’m even more confused because as of this month, I’ve taken strides to overcome my depression. I’m not saying I don’t need to go to the psychologist (I do), I’m saying I may have already started defeating my demons.
“Defeating my demons” is a bold statement for me to type because for literally my whole life, I never hit back. For 29 years, I let my depression win without fighting back. My brain would sabotage my heart with words and phrases that damaged not only who I am but also what I could/could’ve become. My wife saw it, my friends saw it, my coworkers saw it and of course, I saw it.
As a child, I learned how to misdirect my anger from my Mom and also became a martyr like my Dad. Between the both of them I learned all of their bad traits. Turning 29 opened my eyes to who I was becoming and it scared me because I realized I was becoming just like them. That scared me.
My Mom learned disrespect, guilt trips and bullying are the only forms of love that are to be given out. My Dad learned to say “yes” to anything even if it meant going against what you believed in. His knack for avoidance and her flair of being a control freak caused me to have a manic childhood. As an adult I think about the household in which I grew up in and I can’t believe what was said and done.
This is where I made my fatal first step. Rather than looking at my parents and family and deciding “It ends with me, I can and will overcome this”, I carried the cross, became a martyr and said “This is me, this is who I will always be.”
It took me 29 years for me to realize how wrong I was in thinking/believing/feeling that.
Now the biggest challenge for me has become trying to figure out how I can capture this positive yay-me mentality and implement it on a daily basis. This is new territory. The old me wouldn’t be typing this, the old me wouldn’t be thinking like this, the old me would already be in bed during the day crying my eyes out because I’ll “never find a way to be happy.”
The old me has been the culprit to many a deep-discussions with my wife and our marriage. Its not to say I’ve never truly experienced happiness, I have. My brain just chose for nearly 3 decades to acknowledge the sad and never the happy.
Reading other medium posts, I’ve read the phrase ‘start small’ in almost every single one of the self-help/motivational posts. ‘Make checklists’, ‘Give yourself compliments’, ‘Find what you love’, etc.
Depression, sadness, anxiety, anger. The 4 horsemen of my apocalypse. I carried those 4 with me where ever I went. You could see them crystal clear in my eyes when you had a conversation with me, saw photos of me or even looked at me. That guy looks sad all the time. I truly believed those 4 elements were personified as me because I was never taught that I could rise up. Due to the fact that I was never shown or taught this ability, it took me 29 years to figure out on my own the secret code to unlocking the truth in that I can rise up and overcome what has made me so despondent all of my life.
I realize the tears that fall from my eyes now are tears of the small voice that would nurture me after a night of hearing my own brain tell me how much of a shitty person I am.
Its going to be okay. One day it’ll be alright. One day we’ll find a way to win. One day.
I have so much work to do to improve myself. So many decades of grief and so much to process out. The road to my redemption and rebirth will be a long and hard road, but for the first time I can truly say, I’m ready. It only took me 29 years to get to this exact moment.