I’m Not Depressed

I was surprised to find out my dad was being treated for depression. After all, he was a pretty laid-back guy who rolled with the punches of life. It’s one of the many things he taught me.

But somehow, at some time, he was diagnosed with depression and started adding happy pills to his medicinal repertoire. It all started after my mom died, and I’m thinking the diagnosis was the result of some answers he gave his doctor. And, of course, he came from a generation that believed the doctor knew best. I asked him once why he took the pills and whether he thought he had depression and if they helped. His response was, “I don’t know. The doctor told me to take them, so I take them.” He never questioned the need for the pills which he took until the day he died.

Mom’s death affected him more deeply than anyone imagined. While he didn’t make any radically rash decisions right away, he quickly discarded most of mom’s things without real thought … her clothes to a thrift shop (with a lot of high-end designer clothes) … her jewelry to a metal collector (most of it not costume jewelry and it would have been nice to send some to his grandchildren) … even her furs (yes, plural, which went to a hospital boutique). In conversations with my aunt, she said he became quiet and more reserved in the months following mom’s death.

I didn’t learn about the hole in his heart until after Karen died. It was then — only then — that dad opened up to me. And I could understand some of what he went through after mom died. They had invested over 50 years and in the waning years, dad was mom’s caretaker. Karen and I had 40 and over the last half year or so I was her caretaker.

He told me you can’t wallow in self pity. People die. That’s just the way it is. But it never stopped him from going to the cemetery every week.

He moved on … eventually sold the house … moved into a senior apartment complex … made new friends … visited with old friends … kept himself busy … and learned how to adapt to being suddenly single. But he always told me it wasn’t the same.

I understand. Even after nearly seven years, I recognize that hole in his heart. I have one too.

Normally, I’m a fairly laid-back guy. I look at the glass half full. I try to encourage others. Even when I’m down — I won’t use the word depressed — I’m not under a black cloud but typically a gray cloud with silver linings. I look for the good in everything.

But I have to admit, of late it has become harder and harder. I still try to encourage others — maybe as a way of encouraging myself. I still try to not let my moods affect others. I still try to stay busy.

Don’t get me wrong. Life is not throwing me a Job-ian curve. It’s just life … but I’m not enjoying it as much.

A friend and some family members have asked me what was bothering me {I guess I’m not that good at not allowing my moods affect others}. Truth is … nothing. Or more precisely, no one thing. It’s a compilation of a hundred {okay, that’s probably an exaggeration} little, inconsequential things that in and of themselves are meaningless. And it has worn me down.

My ambition has gone on hiatus. My drive is stuck in neutral. My patience threshold has dropped significantly. I notice my limitations more than ever. Fear has become a word in my vocabulary … fear of falling and getting hurt … fear of cuts and bruises … fear of what and when I eat {okay, maybe not that one so much}. Until recently, fear was just another four letter word to be avoided. Now I find myself using both more frequently.

dont want to talkSo, to my family and friends, I’m sorry if I’ve been distant. I’m sorry if I’ve been quiet or gruff or impatient. You’re not alone, I haven’t been a friend to myself either. The truth is, sometimes I just don’t have anything to say. This one of those times.

My biggest concern is walking through the rest of my life alone. Sure, I have supportive family and friends but I don’t have my soul mate … and the reality is she is never coming back. Karen was my ground and my motivator. She was high maintenance, although no more than I to her. We had to work together or it would all fall apart … and we knew it. We complemented each other.

Perhaps the funk is because I moved her to Maine a few weeks back. I haven’t been in the gazebo since then. I haven’t shared my coffee over a cartoon. I haven’t listened to her voice through the scurrying squirrels, flitting birds and rustling gentle breezes.

We always kidded each other. I would say “You’re going to miss me when I’m gone” and she would respond, “No, no, no. You’re going to miss me when I’m gone.”

Once again, she was right. And I’m sure she’ll remind me when I get to Maine this weekend.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: God did not create us for any other world than the one in which we live.

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About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
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5 Responses to I’m Not Depressed

  1. Jim Matthews says:

    Last night I drove my old 68 VW bug to pick up my son at Christian Brothers Academy. I jump started it since the battery or alternator has been bad.
    Upon him jumping in the car at 7:30 in Lincroft NJ , I remembered my wife texted, me needed supplies from supermarket.
    Running to ACME nearby , I asked Sawyer to stay put in the car while I run in. I did not want to turn the engine off.
    So, I quickly went about the list and returned. Attempting to back up the old 4 speed , the engine stalled as I let the clutch out.
    Eeeh Gadhz what am I to do. I franticly jumped out knowing it would not start. A shopper leaving the store nearby going to his car chagrined me by
    Stating it was not his car. He could not jump me , even though I had cables. I woman in a jeep , said she would do it. As she pulled over since she was next to me,
    I connected my cables. My son helped hold the hood since it had no rod to keep it open. It took a few minutes but miraculously it started. All along the mid 60’s man
    Who had told me he could not help….. He waited as if to protect this lady from me and my son. He came over to me and forcefully told me that this woman
    Should never have agreed to help me. I was a stranger at this ACME coming from 15 miles west. I should get AAA and have them jump me. I was offended
    Since perhaps he was correct. The area in front of ACME was so well lighted and we literally were on a major road. We Sawyer and I were stranded. I was
    An assistant scoutmaster. St Leo’s was the big Church next block. The man chastising me claimed to be a retired police officer. My bug started and the lady went on her way.
    I was happy and totally ready to race home to my Family. However , all along racing the four speed clutch up the road with dim lights, my mood was somber.
    I just kept thinking about this woman, yes I was the victim , she could have been a victim as well. If it had not been for a parking lot so brightly lighted bustling with business,
    More than anything I would have called someone. This man haunted me, he was taunting me saying I was cheap. Triple AAA was the only way to proceed.
    All way home Sawyer and I discussed this man. Were folks really that paranoid? Yes, did I grow up in a bubble. I came from a world that was changing so drastically.
    No man can be trusted, is everyone ready to steal or ransack our lives? I felt this man may have been tainted by society being a cop so long. I guess my feelings were hurt.
    Jesus teaches us to put our Faith in Him. I prayed for healing and hope. The news and the course reality of our surroundings beckons my Eagle scout world.
    Vaya con Dios, Jim

    jim@champtrading.com

    • Yes, my friend, times have certainly changed … even in my podunk part of New York. You got to have faith, brother. It’s the only thing that keeps us going. BTW my son and I are restoring a 71 Beetle. It was my wife’s that just sat in the garage for too many years.

  2. Joe Nozzolio says:

    Joe, I sympathize with how you feel. It’s trite to suggest that everyone, at one time or other has “low periods”, but it’s probably true. 21 years ago, our son who was our pride and joy,and was about to graduate from Cornell Engineering, and be commissioned a Naval Officer, was struck suddenly dead from spinal meningitis. There is not one day that passes that we don’t think about him, miss him terribly, and ponder the wonderful life he would now be experiencing, with my wife and I sharing it along with him. Certain days are worse than others: his birthday, Mother’s Day (his first Mother’s Day gift was a painted rock/paperweight that he made in kindergarten), and that most dreaded day, June 13, when he went to heaven. The day my younger daughter underwent the surgeon’s knife 6 years ago to remove her cancer, we desperately prayed, not to God necessarily, but to our son to help our daughter, his sister, in her darkest hour. We think he heard us; she recovered, the cancer was contained, and she today she took her youngest away for her first year of college. We continue to “speak” with him, usually in church on Sunday with the communion wafer’s taste still on our palates.

    May you have peace.

    • Thanks, Joe, as always. I do have peace … but I’ve been in a very “quiet” place lately. Death, unfortunately, is part of life. It touches us all. But we have a good God … and that, my friend, is what keeps us going.

  3. Pingback: Five Minute Friday — Alone | Father Says…

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