Before I say anything further, it should be noted that I have absolutely no medical credentials. I have no certifications. I have also not been treated for depression. I am a man who has experience with depression.
As such, the purpose of this post is to address the topic of depression in the event that there is someone out there, male or female, working parent or stay at home parent (like myself) who is “down in the dumps” as the vernacular goes.
A little about me.
In terms of my genetic make up and heritage, there’s absolutely nothing remarkable about me. I’m a white male, of Irish descent. While I don’t like to bandy about cliches or stereotypes, what they say about Irish men being emotionally retarded is fucking true.
We don’t like our feelings. We don’t like talking about our feelings. We certainly think that there should be a medical procedure to remove the little buggers so we can live the rest of our lives in drunken ignorance.
I am no exception to any of the above.
I don’t like talking about myself PERIOD. I never have. As I am usually loathe to deal with anything feeling related, it can be safely assumed that I have never given it much thought. In general, I have always preferred to listen to other people talk about themselves. What’s at work there, is the fact that most people, LOVE TALKING ABOUT THEMSELVES.
Perhaps I’m a coward. Perhaps it’s a level of self consciousness that I’m not willing to deal with. Maybe it has something to do with some childhood trauma that has been buried deep within my dome. I just don’t know.
From ages 12 to 35, there have been numerous points in my life where I have been depressed. This isn’t the “boo hoo I can’t get laid” type of depression (even though some of it was). This is the “being a lone peach in a can full of syrup, fully realized” type of depression. Everything is awful. Every movement feels like trying to walk through waist deep water.
For the record, this has lessened substantially within the past 12 years.
What I am getting at.
As a parent, depression is a relatively easy trap to set for yourself.
Kids are fucking expensive. They’re not “gifts”. They are people. People cost money. Kids need money in order to grow. That right there is fuel enough to make any parent, new or seasoned, feel like they are in a race that they can’t win.
As a parent who stays at home (especially if you are a dad), it’s even easier to feel the wastes of depression seep in. YOUR JOB DOESN’T END. You don’t get that moment to look forward to when you realize that your workday is almost over and you get to go home. You are all ready there. Nothing ever stays clean and simple things like your asshole kids turning off the fucking bathroom light upon exit amounts to you asking them to build a goddamn rocket.
What’s worse is the fact that all of the parents around you are either bad at parenting or they are just assholes. Effectively you are on your own.
“In the event of fire”.
It’s ok to fall down every once in a while. What you have to keep in mind is that you can’t be the person your kids need if you can’t pick yourself up off the ground. Being depressed is ok. Letting it control your life and inform your behavior in your immediate environment is not ok.
If you need help, ask your significant other. Don’t have one? Think of the one person that has been close to you all of your life and ask them. That’s what they are there for.
If you are like me (emotionally stunted) and you don’t want to due to whatever cockamamie excuse you’ve cooked up, you still need to do something about it.
This is where the Tumblr comes in handy. Don’t fuck around with the internet. That’s just asking for trouble. On tumblr I see a lot of posts about depression and what to do when you’re in it. A lot of them seem like they are on the level. As far as I know, you don’t need a tumblr account to use tumblr. Why not give it a look?
What I do.
My general rule when it comes to dealing with anything negative is that I am allowed 20 minutes to feel sorry for myself. Sometimes I can manage and get my shit together in the time allowed. Sometimes, not so much. The important thing is to recognize the behavior (hopefully before it starts) and take action. Usually this amount to me:
- Letting my wife know what my fucking problem is.
- Writing a telephone-book-sized journal entry about what my fucking problem is.
- Resort to OTC’s like Sam-E or St. John’s Wort.
- Work out and managing my food intake with Swiss precision.
Whatever you’re feeling, whatever you’re going through, it is temporary. While it may seem like “it’s easier said, than done”, it is the truth. What you need to do, is to have the courage to admit that something is wrong. But what you need to realize and accept is that you need to take that step a bit further and correct ‘the wrong’ that is making you suffer.