Friday, January 20, 2017

An Infected Wound

“I WISH I WERE DEAD!!”  I yelled at my wife in the middle of an argument one morning.  The thing about depression is you don’t want to admit it to anyone.  It makes you feel weak and unable to handle things.  I had her and six kids I needed to provide for. To declare to my wife I am majorly depressed and I fantasize about getting shot at the gas station was never going to happen.  She knew I suffered from depression, but she honestly didn’t know it was this full blown. 

It wasn’t a card I wanted to play.  I’ve been holding that card for years – decades even.  I began to feel like a failure ever since I dropped out of college twenty years prior.  I felt hopeless back then.  I studied the best I could and thought I was applying myself. Yet the test scores didn’t reflect any effort whatsoever. Whatever I was doing wasn’t good enough.

After school, I started to date often and I’d come across a girl I really liked. Yet when I wanted to get serious, they didn’t.  Sure I was good enough for a booty call, but for someone that seriously had something to offer – whatever I was doing STILL wasn’t good enough. No matter what I did or who I was with, this thought would always echo in my head. 

The years that followed, I would often look at myself in the mirror and feel disgusted.  Curse words and degrading phrases would be shouted at my reflection.  Phrases like “You are worthless!!”, “You’re an asshole!!” and “I hope you die today!!” would slice into my image cutting deeper than the day before.  I’d form my fingers into the shape of a gun, point it at the man in the mirror and pull the trigger.  

I’d put a smile on my face, get ready for work, tell my wife bye and secretly hope an 18-wheeler would slam into me on the way to the office.

It never happened.

I tried medication one time and either it didn’t work or I didn’t give it time to work.

Probably the latter.

I also tried talking to a counselor, but we never got to the root of the problem.  It was always, “You ARE good enough.. blah blah blah!!”.  Never finding the infected wound which was causing all the pain inside me.

Because that is what the hurt is – an infected wound.  You can put a bandage over it like I tried for years.  But if you never treat the wound – it will get infected and start to affect other parts of your life.  Then right when someone touches you in that area you have no choice but to lash out. That’s what happened in the middle of that argument.

Upon the confession, my wife stopped.  The anger and frustration was replaced with care and concern. She knew it wasn’t an attempt by me to gain sympathy.  She could see the hurt in my eyes and written all over my face. What she had suspected for years was finally being admitted truthfully. 

She told me I wasn’t going into work.  I objected obviously and exclaimed I have too much I’m responsible for and to miss any time would be anti-productive.  She pleaded with me reinforcing how work wasn’t more important than her husband.  

I eventually relented. 

She took the kids to school and we talked.  We decided the best place for me would be to seek an inpatient behavioral health facility. I didn’t know how long I would be gone so I packed a going away bag.  Before I left, I also made a video confessional for my children to let them know I would be gone for a while, but that I’m okay.

I wanted them to know that Daddy is sick.  It may not be the kind of sick they’re used to dealing with, but sick none the less. I didn’t go into a lot of detail because they’re not ready for that just yet.  One day they will be, but they weren’t then.

Depression sucks.  It sucks for the individual going through it, and it sucks for those closest to the individual.  Its been almost two years since that argument happened.  The depression is still there and it is tough to combat alone.  Which is why I’m taking advantage of medication and counseling.  It was a tough choice - one I probably should have made years ago. Who knows how different I would be today if I had. 

This is from a writing prompt - "Write about a fork in the road in your life, and how you made the decision to go the direction you did."


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