I know what depression is from a clinical stand-point and from my parents battling this insidious creature, but I, in my naiveté, thought I was immune from the serious level that my parents lived at. I was wrong. Hugely wrong.
When my friend Bill passed away in July of 1997, I was bereft. I had known this man since we were 16. He spent the last 4 1/2 months of his life with me because I couldn’t bear the thought of him dying alone in a hospital somewhere so I had him move in with me and I took care of him. I didn’t know the toll it would take on me.
I was exhausted: physically, emotionally and spiritually. I drifted in and out of days with no thought of anything. I was still working night shift right after he passed but that ended with me getting fired. Losing my job was ok though, my body couldn’t do nights anymore and I needed something new.
A new boyfriend took advantage of my weakness and moved in with me. I said yes because I was lonely and knew somewhere deep down that if I didn’t have someone around me, I might not make it. So I let him move in. I let him do what he wanted. I didn’t have the energy to stop anything. I was already sucked dry and he drained me even more.
When I threw him out of the new apartment we had moved to, I was an automaton. I woke up, went to work, came home, vegged out, and slept. I also ate. A lot. Carbs are my go-to. I also gradually stopped doing anything around the house. Cleaning took a backseat. This is not something I had been before, but I was a slob now. Oh, the dishes got done, as did the laundry but major stuff didn’t. I just stopped caring.
I stopped caring about a lot of things. Work was my life. Home was where I lost myself.
I had been a person whose home was a source of pride. I was able to decorate even under poor circumstances. It was clean, organized, and pretty.
But I had changed. I didn’t recognize that I was depressed. I just didn’t care about anything. I didn’t clean, buy new clothes, new décor for the apartment, nothing. I watched TV, ate, and sat. Slept. Repeat.
I had a Spiritual Healing of a great emotional wound incurred when I was 19 by my father. Dad passed away when I was 23 so we never got to repair what had been broken. This was a major root of my depression. Tendrils were formed from it with every relationship I had with a man because I was searching for my father in them and they always let me down. The Shadow grew.
Once that wound was healed, several weeks of processing later I realized that I was no longer attracted to men at all. I am gay. Always have been. I just didn’t know.
Since that Spring of 2015, I have slowly crept out of the Shadow of Depression. It hasn’t been easy. I didn’t know how far down that hole I had gone. But looking around at my apartment, I can see that I was pretty bad.
My wife helps me now. I help her too. We are good for each other because we recognize the beast in each other. I have a life now and am working to clean up the mess of my life and my apartment.
I have always felt that a persons living situation is an exterior portrait of how they are feeling about themselves. My own life has borne this truth out.
I still feel the tendrils of the Shadow Thief around me and around my wife. It’s so easy to let go and let it take over. To just let entropy suck me down into the quiet nothingness where I sit. But that’s not living, it’s just existing. And that’s not something I want to do anymore.
I hold up my light to the Shadow and say “NO MORE!” Not an easy battle to fight this is true but one that I must tackle every day. I have many reasons for living and striving on. I know there will be times when it’s just too much and I need a break but that’s when I need to be hyper aware of the trap. Taking a break now involves a more healing self-care perspective rather than a “I just want to disappear” thinking.
I can do this.