Depression in Gay Men
I wonder why?
Could it be because so many of us grow up inside a deep dark closet and the only tools we have developed to cope with this thanks to society and the church are isolations, repression and self-hatred?
For me, it has not been clinical depression. I think it's more situational depression...or what I would call the blues.
Before marriage, I would have periods of self-loathing....and I would want to be by myself. I wanted to hide. I felt so all alone....and unwanted. I just didn't seem to feel like I could ever fit in. Even in a crowd of people...I felt the coldness of being alone.
When I got married....all that went away. I was busy about getting my life in order -- establishing my family -- climbing the corporate ladder. Who had time for the "blues?"
But then, as I reached my 40s and beyond, it suddenly started to reappear. I started erecting walls of isolation...and would feel rather antisocial. I detested being around my wife's family. They all had such wonderful social whirls...and I felt like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. I felt nothing in common with them. Family gatherings were a source of tremendous stress for me.
Then the separation and the divorce happened. Honestly, I felt like I was losing my mind. The period of 2005-2007 are perhaps the closest I have come to a nervous breakdown.
My world simply fell apart.
Not only did I lose my wife -- the one person I was taught to trust beyond measure. The one I could tell my deepest and darkest secrets to -- the one who knew me warts and all -- betrayed me. All my secrets became public knowledge...
I felt naked and alone.
At that time, I also lost the man in my life that I considered to be my soulmate. He was the love of my life...but for reasons still not clear to me....he could not deal with my divorce and he was not prepared to leave his wife. (I never had wanted him to.)
As time has passed, I got up the courage and the strength to pick myself up.....dust myself off.....and then begin again, but this time as a relatively out single gay man.
And here I am...
So I suppose I have earned the right to be blue now and then. It doesn't mean I enjoy it. It doesn't mean that there is something wrong with me.
It means I am human and that I still have a few demons to work with.
Yesterday after lunch the blues hit me -- like a ton of bricks they hit...without warning. I still smart a bit from their arrival...and am working quite hard to extricate myself from the pit.
It's very slow going.
It may sound funny.....but when I have these fits of sadness....I look for the triggers. I want to be able to shore myself up so that I can rise above them.
Yesterday, the main trigger was something totally silly. At lunch, I had time to look at Facebook. I sort of have a love -- hate relationship with the social networking site.
I have now had my account for almost two years. Oddly, in that time I have amassed just under 500 friends. Not too shabby for a man that complained just a few short years ago that I had no friends.
But here I am...with almost 500...people that I really have relationships with...people that I know....people that I care about and they care for me.
So, how did the sadness occur?
Well, I had seen that my ex-brother-in-law (he's the ne that's mom recently died and I moved heave and earth for to attend her funeral last week at Arlington National Cemetery.) had joined Facebook. So, I sent a friend request with a note saying, "I really hope this finds you well. I am so sorry about your mom. Let me know if there is anything I can do."
I submitted the friend request for his review and approval.
Yesterday at lunch I found out that he had ignored it.
So even though it's silly.....and even though it's just FACEBOOK....it erupted the avalanche of the blues that came cascading upon my life.
This morning, I only added to this by listening to a Wynonna Judd song, "Is It Over Yet?" It came up on the I-pod while driving into work this morning. It's about the break up of a relationship...and everytime I hear it...I go back to the day of Lovey's departure, which I was not present for thankfully, but the song brings back that time period quite effectively.
I was right there again.
Standing in my empty house remembering what had been and wondering what would be.
To live again.
So here I am at my desk, about to begin a new day. It's hot outside. It's 2010.
Time to move on....and pull myself up off the floor.