My ups and downs with depression

So I’ve decided to have some guest bloggers lately. From having my stories of Mummy and Klaus on Twindaddy‘s blog, I thought it was most fitting that he be my first guest blogger.  He’s not the only one. AliceAtWonderland will be joining us too! Did you want to share anything? Just send me an email  ( rabbitholesalice@gmail.com), and let me know.

 

Hello. My name is Twindaddy.  Some of you may already know me.  Some of you may not.  Some of you may wish you did.  Most of you will not.

Twindaddy

This is me. I used to be meaner, but now I’m medicated.

Anyhow, Alice threatened to have the white rabbit stalk me  asked me to guest post here, but didn’t really give me much to work with in the way of a topic, so I decided to talk about depression since that’s the theme of her blog.  Or it originally was, at least.  I thought maybe it might help her in some way to share my story with her.  At least, that is my hope.  Some of this she already knows, some of it she may not.

Here goes…

I was originally diagnosed with depression when I was 13-years old.  My dad had just been transferred to Atlanta, GA and I had been ripped from a town, life, and friends that I loved.  That was when I first began to experience the symptoms of depression.  I missed my friends.  I missed my school.  I hated my father for accepting the transfer.  I hated my new school and I hated Atlanta.  I was moody.  I wallowed in solidarity.  I cried.  Sometimes without knowing why.

My mother also began struggling with depression for the same reasons.

We both began seeing a psychiatrist.  We were both prescribed antidepressants. Mine worked wonderfully.  My mother’s did not.  In fact, they had the opposite affect.  They made her manic.  In short, she did things.  Things that she would not normally do.  She ended up getting arrested and placed in a mental hospital.  Unbeknownst to me at the time, I was not far behind her.

This all happened during my 7th grade year.  The things my mother had done were not a secret for two reasons.  The first is because she was a substitute teacher at my school and one of the incidents happened there.  The other is because it was reported in the local paper.

What this meant for me is that all of my classmates knew about it.  I was picked on and bullied because of it.  If not for the special care and love of one of the greatest teachers I had ever known, I might have followed my mother into that hospital.  Or worse.

Things eventually calmed down.  Once my mother had finished all of her legal obligations and had been released by the same psychiatrist who had prescribed the very medicine that damned her, we moved to Ohio.  It was a fresh start for me.  One where nobody knew what had happened, but another instance where I was ripped away from friends whom I cared for and I went through a similar cycle, but this one not as disastrous as the one that had preceded it.

I went through this cycle several times over the next few years.  I would end up going to three different middle schools and four different high schools.  This had a traumatic effect on my social life and skills.  I eventually withdrew into myself. I built up solid walls around my heart to prevent anyone else from getting in.  I was tired of being hurt.  I was tired of making friends only to lose them a short time later.  I was tired of being torn away from things and people I loved.  I was just tired.

I went specifically out of my way to avoid attachments.  As master Yoda once said, fear of loss is the path to the dark side.  And that is exactly where I ended up.  My family eventually moved back to the Cincinnati area when I was 18, just six months after I had graduated from high school.  Two years later I became involved with a woman who would turn out to be a blessing and a curse.

The blessing, quite simply, was my twins.  Every other facet of that relationship was a curse.  We began dating when I was 20.  Three weeks into our relationship she asked me to move in.  I told her I wasn’t ready to do that, but she then laid a huge guilt trip on me and began crying.  She was going to lose her apartment.  She couldn’t afford the rent.  She was going to have to beg her ex to take her back.  I fell for it.  I moved in with her.

I knew right away I wanted nothing to do with this woman.  I had inherited two ill-behaved children along with her.  One of them would end up with a criminal record and spend years in state care.  I also didn’t like her.  She was completely different from me in every way.  We had nothing in common.  She didn’t like my sense of humor so I pretty much had to shelve that and be a person I never was intended to be.  She made her children my responsibility.  I didn’t mind helping, but I didn’t feel like they should be pushed on to me.  They had a father and I didn’t want to interfere with their paternal relationship.

Two months later I was done.  I told her I didn’t want to see her any more and I wanted to move back home.  That night she got drunk and took off telling me she was going to walk to the I-75 overpass and jump off the bridge.  I would have given chase, but her children were in the apartment and I couldn’t leave them alone.  So I sat there and cried.  She eventually came back and I agreed to stay.

We went through this routine a couple of more times before I had the idea to sneak out while she was at work.  I had to do it while she wasn’t there because if she knew I’d lose my resolve when she started to cry.  Somehow she knew what I was planning.  She read it in my demeanor.  She could tell by the way I was acting.  I really don’t know what gave me away.  But she knew.

That night, she swallowed an entire bottle of Benadryl.  I was dumbstruck.  I couldn’t respond.  There are a number of actions I should have taken in retrospect, but at the moment all I could do was sit there and cry.  I couldn’t fathom that I meant so much to someone that they would rather die than live without me.  I know now that I shouldn’t have let that guilt keep me there, but at that moment all I could do was cave.  That was the last time I tried to leave.  I gave into everything, and I mean everything, she wanted from that point forward.

I found out we were getting married when she dragged me over to the jewelry department one day and said, “I like that one,” while pointing to a particular bridal set.  She was so subtle.  So I bought it and proposed no questions asked.

Not long afterward she told me she wanted to have my children.  I didn’t put up a fight.  I didn’t want to have children with her, but I was afraid to tell her no.  So I conceded.   We had the twins.

The twins were a huge band-aid over everything that was wrong in my life.  I didn’t like my wife, let alone love her, but the twins made me happy.  My depressions was largely absent during the first few years of their lives.  They required so much time and attention that I didn’t have time to reflect on my shitty life or my shitty marriage to a shitty woman whom I loathed.

To this point, I hadn’t been treated for my depression since I was 15.  I hadn’t seen a counselor or a psychiatrist.  I was not being treated for it and I honestly didn’t feel like I needed the help.  As the twins grew older and required less attention I was left with a wife who wanted to do things with me and rekindle our “relationship.”  I wanted nothing to do with it and nothing to do with her.  I never had any intention of leaving, though.  My parents were divorced when I was 12 and I hoped not to do that to my children, but I eventually reached the point where I didn’t care.

I couple of months before the twins 6th birthday, at the age of 28, I left my wife.  I was happy to be rid of her, but I was devastated at the same time.  I missed my children.  It was killing me not to see them on a daily basis.  I cried.  A lot.  I sought treatment from my family doctor and he put me on antidepressants.  I took them for a couple of months, but quit taking them when I began to feel better.  I thought I didn’t need them.  I eventually began dating my current wife and was happy with her even though I still missed being with my children all the time.

Over the next few years my wife and I would have our ups and downs.  A lot of it was due to my depression, but I didn’t realize that at the time.  I would snap very easily.  I’d lose my temper over the most minute things.  Trivial things.  Inconsequential things.  Things that weren’t worth getting upset about.

My wife is a trooper in that regard.  She put up with it a lot longer than I would have.  It all came to a head, though, about six months ago.  She left me.  And rightfully so.  One day while wallowing in my grief I began looking at our conversation history on Facebook.  It was at that moment that I realized that my wife was right.  I treated her like shit.  I talked to her like I hated her.  My jaw dropped as I scrolled through pages and pages of me just being a dick to her without provocation.  I was at a loss.  I wasn’t even aware that I was doing this.  It genuinely surprised me to find that I had been treating her thusly.

I sought help from a counselor and my family doctor.  They both informed me that irritability was now considered a symptom of depression.  It all snapped into place for me then.  I began taking antidepressants again and since then I, and more importantly my wife, have noticed a vast improvement in my moods and they way I treat her and my children.  My mood swings are almost nonexistent now and I’m much happier with the person I am now as opposed to the person I was just six months ago.  I’m not perfect by any means, but I’m now a person that I’m proud to be.  Not the unhappy, angry, and often belligerent asshole I was not long ago.

I’m sharing this deeply personal story here on Alice’s blog in the hopes that she may see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, even if she may not see it.  I know my past is not as harrowing as hers.  I have not been through the trauma that she has, but I’ve dealt with the same emotions, the same sense of hopelessness, and some of the same trials.  I have not overcome them completely and it’s entirely possible that I never will.  But what I have done is make progress.  I’m a much happier person.  More importantly, I’m a more loveable person.  My wife and kids actually enjoy being around me now.  I’ve also made a promise to myself that no matter what happens, no matter how good things may get, I’m not going to let my guard down on depression again.  I’m going to continue seeking help from my doctor.  I’m going to continue talking to counselors.  I’m not going to let complacency set in again and risk losing loved ones again while telling myself that depression isn’t the problem.

Depression sucks, but it can be tamed.  I hope that soon, Alice, you’ll be here with me.  That you’ll be where I am now.  That you’ll be able to look back and say, “Yeah, I have depression, but I made it my bitch.”

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70 thoughts on “My ups and downs with depression

  1. Reblogged this on Stuphblog and commented:
    Today I make an appearance in one of many rabbit holes here on WordPress. This is a very serious post. A very personal post. Please give it a read and then give Alice some love, would ya?

  2. Such a powerful post, twindaddy. I’m sorry to hear you went through all this, but SO happy to hear you’ve found that light. There’s always a light. Wishing you nothing but happy days from here on out.

  3. Wow….that was extremely emotional. I cried and still am a bit. It’s very heart-warming that you would share such a deeply personal story to help others through a dark time. You really are one of the good guys, Daddy. I hope you don’t ever forget that.

  4. Thanks for sharing that. You don’t realize how many people are in the same boat until they open up about it. I’m so glad you’re doing better now. If you ever need to talk about it, I deal with the depression demon too. We can support each other. A therapist of mine said “We are all so different, only the depression is the same. It’s a lie. It does not define us.”

    • I don’t want to let it define me or what happens to me. I’m sorry it took so long for me to realize, I just kept telling myself I was alright and I really wasn’t. Better late than never, I guess.

      • With the stigma against depression, it’s no wonder we don’t want to admit we aren’t okay. We’re just supposed to “get over it”. Like you can “get over” a heart problem? There’s a lot of opposition to medication. But for some people, like you and me, it works. I’m glad you got help.

      • Yeah, it does. It has helped me a great deal. But as you just read, it can also have an adverse affect on some people. I don’t know if that’s why I was so adament about not taking it or what, but I’m just glad I’m passed that part now.

      • True. You have to have the right combinations. For some people it takes trial and error. For others, it just doesn’t do it. I think your mother may have had manic depression – taking antidepressants can send someone with that into a manic high.

      • Yeah, it certainly did. Luckily she’s being treated by less of a quack now (that doctor didn’t do much to help her afterward) and she has been stable for a long time now. Hopefully, I’ll gain the same stability that she has and don’t ever end up going through a debilitation self-discovery episode like the one I just endured again.

    • I hope so, too. That’s ultimately why I shared this story. I feel ashamed of some of the things I did, but if someone will read this and see in themself the symptoms that I did not then hopefully they can seek help before they lose those dearest to them.

      • I would suspect that there is more shame in not acknowledging (at least to yourself) in things we handled poorly. This is a great service. Great job with it as well.

  5. It is such a touching story. I was relieved to read the new happy beginning and I hope you continue to feel better and improve your relationships. It is good that you’ve realized that you found yourself a keeper 🙂
    I have had a different past which was difficult for me to handle as well but I’m stronger, wiser and strangely more fun because of it. I have stopped taking life very seriously.
    This was my first time on Alice’s blog, going to check it out.

    • Thank you, Ritu. I hope my story continues to be happy from here on as well. I’m definitely much wiser now and more resolved to keep the same mistakes from happening again.

  6. Wow. Just wow. That ex sounds a lot like my ex. It’s a horrible way to be treated. It takes a lot of strength to get out of an abusive relationship. It takes a lot of strength to look at yourself the way you did six months ago. It takes a lot of strength to battle depression. That’s a whole lotta strong going on. May it bring you peace and a happy marriage.

    • Yes, my ex was horrible. She was emotionally abusive and, on occasion, physically as well. Leaving her was the best thing I ever did for myself.

      • Well, their mother sought treatment after I left and even though I still hate her for everything she’s done to me, she’s gotten better. She’s been on prozac pretty since the time a left her and she doesn’t treat them like she did me. I feel sorry for the idiot that married her, though.

      • To the best of my knowledge. During the year after I left I reported her a couple of times to CPS. She knows that if she steps outta line I’ll take the kids from her in a heartbeat. They’re safe. Anyone else in that house however…

      • Adults are one thing. The idiot that married her will either stay an idiot or wise up and walk away. The kids are in a different position. They’re lucky to have you as a safety net.

      • She really does tread carefully with them. My now ex-step daughter has bitched to me countless times how they get away with shit that she does not. That’s not exactly what I want for them, but it’s better than them seeing their mom being a complete psycho all the time.

      • As long as you stay consistent, that’s really all you can do. It sucks. I know.

      • I read this, and I learn about you and what you’ve been though, and it makes more sense how you seem to know what it’s like. Wise you are.

  7. Wow, Twindaddy. Thanks for sharing something so personal this with us. I can’t even begin to imagine how you wrote it. I’m happy for the ending, especially the last line. I hope you have nothing but good, happy days ahead.

  8. Twindaddy what an amazing post. Thank you for sharing such a personal story. It must be hard to put it out there. I have also had experience with mental illness. I blogged about it recently. I felt better for having just written it all out. If you want to, you can check it out http://stephrogers.com/2013/01/15/starting-over-a-journey-back-to-reality/
    Thankfully I have been well for a long time now (almost 15 years). “Well” is always a relative term and by that I mean I am managing my illness day to day and have been successfully functioning in the real world.
    What strikes me about this post is what an exceptional father you are. You have endured a lot for your children. By the way you have owned your mistakes and corrected yourself and the way you treat your wife and children you are showing your sons how to be men. It is an admirable thing. You really are a great dad. You also can’t beat yourself up about things that you do and say while you are unwell. You are not always in control of that the way you could be were you feeling well.

    • Well, my wife at one point suggested that my depression was the culprit and I totally dismissed her. That’s where most of the shame comes from. That and not seeing what I was doing was shameful, as well.

  9. I agree with a lot that has already been said, TD. You are an incredible man. Any lesser man would have given up years ago. It takes a lot for someone to realize that they have been abusive to a loved one. I had a similar realization recently. I am happy that you have finally found happiness. The lessons you learned will hopefully keep you smiling. Thank you so much for sharing this very personal story. {{{Hugs}}} from the Rebel Alliance.

  10. Depression high five! I’ve had major depressive disorder for as long as I can remember, but I’ve only ever been medicated for the last two years. It has made a world of difference. Cheers for sharing such a personal story, Twindaddy. I know it isn’t easy.

  11. Brave. Powerful. Emotional. Strong. Bold… and so much more. This is so inspiring for me, as I am in recovery from substance abuse that nearly stole my life/soul/my very last breath of air… I fight everyday, the battle of sobriety, though I am coming up on my first one year sober in, nearly a decade. As each day gets easier, I never forget where I came from. I need to read things like this, it’s so helpful for me, and though we have never met, the connection through words is so powerful. Thank you for sharing this. ~ Jen

    • Thank you, Jen. I wish you well on your own road to recovery. Perhaps, if needed, we can lean on each other for support in dire times. BUT, I’ll just pray neither of us experience any more for now.

      • Absolutely!! You know where to find me, yes? I am always always here for anyone who needs some TLC in recovery/support/ or a good kick in the arse!! And vise-versa.. I’ll knock on your door if I feel a slip and you can kick my arse! 🙂 ~Jen (I really enjoyed the reading I did last night.. good stuff! Some funny, other so real-life.. Bueno!!)

  12. Once again a awesome post!
    I’m glad that you are happy and now your wife’s bitch,,lol.

    It feels great when you finally realize what’s wrong, that people understand and you get the help you need. And, then you move on and be happy once again 🙂

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