I’m a child of the 60s…born in 1965. I will save you the math and say that I am 51 years old. I’m from the “rub some dirt on it” era. When I was young, obnoxious kids were simply considered disruptive and often spent more than their fair share of time in the principal’s office. Soldiers were “shell shocked” but most of us cheered when General Patton (performed superbly by George C. Scott) slapped that one soldier for “being a sissy”. There were students who excelled, those that existed in the middle, and the ones who just never seemed to get. Those ones were also often the disruptive sort, and so it was all tied in with their “bad” behavior.
What we didn’t have were ADHD, ADD, PTSD, and lots of other capital letters that were used as labels to diagnose and change behaviors into supposed disorders. My own personal views on the subject often ranged from ignoring it, to seeing it as people making excuses, and even a bit of annoyance.
Maybe you didn’t notice the past-tense form of the word “range” in that previous statement. That is because I am here to finally admit that it is possible I have some issues of my own. I ignored the fact that I haven’t slept through the night without waking (often due to nightmares) for years, going all the way back to my time in the military. I shoved aside my anger issues stemming from an childhood packed full of all manner of abuse. After all, I often told myself and anybody who would listen, I’ve worked through it…took some anger management classes, so I’m fine.
However, the past couple of years, my bouts with depression started to get heavy. I often shoved it away (or thought I did) and told myself to buck up. There were plenty of people who have it worse…tougher…more dire than me. Quit being a baby. Man up, you big sissy.
Only, things didn’t get better. My successes started to mean less and less to the point where I could not see them. Then, it simply reached a point where they vanished and all I saw was failure. I could never do enough. It became more pronounced when events that once made me feel good started to mean almost nothing. I would finish writing a book, but instead of allowing myself to celebrate that moment, I simply moved on to the next one. I told myself that it was no big deal. It was what I did, so what was there to celebrate?
All the while, sleeping became more and more difficult and the feelings of failure mounted. I found no joy in ANYTHING. Now, what were simple setbacks started to become massive blows. It all came to a head a few weeks ago. I had a heart-to-heart with some people that I was beginning to consider friends. It ended in what I consider total betrayal, and now all of those people are simply gone. The details are unimportant, but in the end, all I saw was a reason to never let another human being into my life…much less allow them to get close to me. Making new friends was officially off the table forever.
Only, my head got more and more clouded. Things that were easy started to become difficult and my norm was now to consider myself an utter failure, not worthy of friends. No…suicide was never an option or a thought, so don’t ask or assume. However, I realized how bad it had become when I considered giving up what I’d always considered a dream come true: writing. Thoughts of finding a drone job and just grinding out my existence started to filter in, and that was when I knew for certain that I had a problem.
Wednesday, January 18th, I went to the doctor. It is only the first step, but I have finally accepted that sometimes a person needs help to get back on track.