General Advice Warning. The information on Dad Mode is intended to be general in nature and is not personal financial or product advice.
I never thought I would be depressed.
It was always something for those other people, you know, the ones that actually had difficult lives. The returned soldiers, the drug addicts or the abuse victums. But not me, a middle class white man that has always had a roof over my head and food in my belly. Some people really struggle, with really difficult things.
I had nothing to complain about. So why did I feel like an elephant was standing on my chest? Something wasnt adding up.
For years, I felt guilty about not being happy. I couldnt tell anyone, they would think I was being stupid. So I leveraged my patriarchal conditioning and stuffed my feelings deep down where no one could find them. Not even me.
The problem was, the feelings grew.
That's what darkness does you see, it creates the perfect conditions for depression to grow. Like a mould spot in your shower needs cold, dark and damp, depression needs you to hide it where the sun doesn't shine.
Slowly but surely, the feelings I hid grew. Becoming so heavy I could feel them right in that spot above my belly button, choking me slowly with every laboured breath.
Maybe thats just the way people are supposed to feel? After all, 'life is hard' right?
I pushed them down further, "the darker it is, the less I will be able to see", I told myself. I was happy anyway, life couldn't get any better.
I wasn't depressed, it's normal to feel like this.
Problem with that plan was that I was giving it exactly what it needed to come back stronger. Darkness seeks darkness, untill one day, thats all you are.
It takes over your life.
This happened to me a few months after I met my wife and I was a mess. I couldn't be intimate with her, I was selfish, I was angry and worst of all I couldn't let her in. I was on my way to loosing her.
The thought of telling her how I felt was so march scarier than not being with her. If I opened up, I thought, she would see who I was on the inside and leave anyway. Best if this ends on my terms. The work could be pushed back further, I would be fine..
Eventually the effort to hold the lid on it was too much and everything came spilling out. Like that scene in spirited away, my black goo spilled out into my life. I told her everything, expecting her to run for the hills.
But then a weird thing happened, she didn't leave.
She held my hand.
She listened as all of the shit I had compacted down within myself came rushing out. It was pooling on the floor between us, dappled by the sun coming in through the windows.
Depression is a funny thing, it thrives in the darkness, wanting us to keep it to ourselves forever. But as soon as you talk about it, share it and expose it to the sun, it looses its power.
I have my wife to thank for that
It may not ever go away completely, but by showing it the sky, I can finally breathe again.
Time to pull back the curtains.
Cya in the next one x
Want to learn more about depression? I couldn't recommend reading Lost Connections by Johann Hari enough.
If you're feeling suicidal, call lifeline in 13 11 14 (aus) or head to Beyond Blue for more support.