Depression has always run in my family. Before they talked about it, most people would just call it alcoholism or addiction. Depression is the cause and alcohol & drugs were just attempts to self medicate. The need to feel good out-ranked the after effects. My dad always had an addictive personality, whether it was Pepsi or partying or drinking. My folks divorced when I was two, and until I was eight, I went back and forth between them. I don’t ever remember my folks being together.
I never saw my dad drunk or out of control. Though around the time I turned eight, he and my uncle started to struggle with drugs and alcohol. It was at that time that I lost contact with my father. I wouldn’t see him again until I was 35. He had been clean for over 20 years and sober for two. He was frail and looked so much older then he was chronologically.
The years of abuse had taken its toil. We talked and the years melted away. I had long forgiven him and was happy to see he had gotten his life together. Sadly, it was short lived as he died in January of last year. I had only gotten six months with him after losing almost 30 years. I had become a teenager and then a man in that time. To be honest, I looked at it as a blessing. I got six months to get questions answered and say the things I had wanted to, and I know the last words I ever said to him were that I loved him.
I got the call at 3am from my uncle the day he died and that was my first thought. It wouldn’t hit me till the next day. Flashbacks of things we said and other childhood memories flooded me. It was overwhelming. The first few days were hard. I think after that I just suppressed the pain. I had to travel for work and just dove into my job. It would be months later when I was off from work that the depression would really hit. Not dealing with the pain right away had come back to haunt me. I became distant with friends and family. I didn’t go out. I mostly stayed at home and laid on the couch. I put on weight. I had become paralyzed from depression. This would later cost me my girlfriend, as shutting down emotionally became the final straw in a rocky relationship . When losing a parent, the pain never fully goes away. Though it does get easier with time. It has been a year now and I got the help I needed to pull out of my depression.
Everyone deals with pain and sadness differently. Looking back, I honestly don’t think I could have dealt with it any other way. I know the way I handled it wasn’t the healthiest way. I’m not sure why I’m writing all this. Maybe to help others or maybe to help myself. Depression can take many forms and effect people differently. I hope that if you are struggling you find the help you need. Don’t let it linger or go untreated. Take the time to deal with it. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.