This is never an easy thing to try and IDENTIFY, UNDERSTAND or DEAL WITH. I can’t break it all down, to some textbook methods, but I hope to try and get a better understanding… so that I can finally see how to maneuver out of it! I mean my hopes coming into this, with the website, was to try and be heard and with any luck… affect someone in a positive manner! The greatest bonus for me is that I may be able to get some positive affect, from my own self-reflection?!
I’ve always prided myself that I was strong and disciplined… seeing something like depression, as a weakness or excuse to avoid dealing with something. I’ve gone through so many different types of trials and tribulations in my life, that I honestly believed I was immune to the concept of depression. I mean, I even surprised myself with how I was able to maintain, when facing a LIFE sentence. I just swallowed it and wouldn’t allow myself to feel those feelings… as I had done, so many times -successfully- in the past. (clearly this was not the best tactic, when it came to my future mental well-being, though)
And for about 12 years, I continued on… even able to maintain a positive & motivated attitude, no matter what dropped in my path. I even surprised myself, at how well I continued to handle everything. I see so many people who have become miserable and lost, in situations similar to my own… you can see the dullness in their eyes… and I always swore that I wouldn’t let myself ever get like that. That I was, too strong, to ever let that happen to me. Then that day came, where all my emotions came to the surface and just flooded out of me… I was unable to even slow the flow of them. Honestly, it was a very scary feeling to have… to be, so totally overwhelmed and outta control, of my emotions.
I mean, this didn’t just come outta nowhere, but I definitely never saw it coming in the same respect. Someone had dropped back into my life, by way of a surprise visit. And, the very second, I saw her, there was a dozen years of emotions that took me over. I didn’t know what to do or how to act? Because I was completely out of my element and definitely outta my comfort zone.
Well, sadly that situation went its course and as quickly as it appeared… it disappeared just as quickly. But, what did remain was the flood of emotions, that wouldn’t disappear. These have been weighing heavy on me, for over 2 years now… and no matter what I do or how I attempt to change my routines, there seems to be no end in sight. For a while I just felt like I had a hole ripped open, that I couldn’t close… no matter what I tried to do. Then I just figured that I’d fallen into a slump or a rut… and was feeling sorry for myself. So, I made every extra effort to just maintain my activities, to some normal level. Almost a “fake it, ’til ya make it” approach, at dealing with how I was feeling.
Clearly, I realized that this wasn’t gonna work… 1 week became 1 month, which then became 6 months and then a year. During that time, my level of motivation and drive was drawing on fumes. I started to withdraw back into myself… my sleep patterns were all over the place… I stopped working out and got extremely lethargic. I was barely maintaining the bare minimums of my day-to-day responsibilities… all the while trying to convince myself, that I was fooling everyone around me. But it became evident that my charade was not as convincing, as I had 1st hoped or wanted to believe. It seemed that everyone could see it or at least see that something was off or wrong.
So, then I decide to take an approach where I just force my actions… go back to trying to bury my feelings… almost strong-arm myself into getting through this. Let me tell you this… that didn’t work either! Yeah, I was surprised, too. (had to smile there a little) And, being a man AND a man in prison… these are not the easiest things to admit. When I said in the beginning, how I saw depression as a weakness and excuse… that is a feeling that is all, too widely, accepted in here. And to be perceived with weakness can be detrimental, in here!
Then, I was transferred to a new prison, last year, and it seemed like everything was starting to change and get better. I was thinking that all I needed was a change of scenery and a few good things to happen, to turn things around. But as the smoke settled from the move and I got situated at the new prison… I began to slide right back into the same old rut. It was so disheartening to realize, that all I did was distract myself for a minute… just to go right back to where I was before.
So, as I said, its over 2 years later and this depression has a kung-fu grip on me, that I can’t shake loose! I can say this though… it took me a long time, just to IDENTIFY that this thing I’m dealing with is a depression. I see that as the 1st step! I’ve worked to try and UNDERSTAND more about the source of this and why I think it has such a hold on me… just what’s at the root of it? I see this as the 2nd step! And I’ve finally gotten comfortable enough with a few people, that I can begin to open up and talk about these things… in an effort to DEAL WITH this depression and its causes. During this process, this website was presented to me and it offered me another outlet to open up and be able to self-reflect. I am confident, that this is the beginning of my road to overcoming the depression, that has had such a tight and crippling hold on me!
Source of featured image: Ben & Jerry’s