Depression runs in my family. Many may know this, however you know about my sister and her struggle with schizophrenia. My father struggled with depression much of his adult life. As a culture, through his formative years and into college and adulthood, he didn’t have treatment for depression, but in hindsight, looking at behaviors that we lived with over the years, much of how he behaved was likely depression.
See, my dad lived in a time when it was shameful to admit you had a problem, especially when you were a man. He was wonderfully sensitive and funny, however, he often felt like he was not enough in work situations and church situations. There were many broken work relationships and church friend relationships over the 17 years of my life (before his sudden death in 1990). His death was a result of a brain aneurysm . Diagnosed with high blood pressure that was untreated because of the lack of health care, this likely contributed to his early death.
I’ve worked through 9 years of therapy and take antidepressants to manage my depression. I’m not ashamed. Just like my dad, I am sensitive and funny. I’m proud to have gathered some of his best qualities. I decided long ago that I needed help beyond talking to friends and family. I needed some new strategies for how to think differently and help from someone who had more experience with depression than I did. Years later, I am so grateful that I went to therapy because there have been many situations where I needed to process life in a safe environment. Sometimes I wish my dad had grown up in a different era. But it doesn’t make sense to dwell on the past.
Looking forward, there is something I can change: my health. It’s one of my last frontiers. It’s uncharted territory. Dad, thanks for providing for me and doing the best you could with what you had. Miss. You. Terribly.