Wine Is Fine, but Whiskey’s Quicker: A Father’s Lament
Pain and depression keep this husband and father from doing what society’s gender norms have told him he should do for his family.
I live with severe depression. It is a blessing, and it is a curse.
My worst enemy is my own thought process, always dragging me to hell, always telling me how worthless I am as a human being.
My biggest strength is my thought process. I experience extreme empathy for others who suffer. I live life in a great deal of physical pain, and I use this experience with pain to write about others who suffer, and I try to encourage compassion towards others who are sometimes unfairly judged negatively.
As a man, friends, family, and society, in general, have an expectation that I work and earn an income, especially considering I have a wife and three sons. Throughout my 20s, going to work every day was my strength; it was what I did best. I was reliable in that way.
Then came pain, stress, and depression. When the ability to work for a living was taken away at age 30, as my optimism for healing faded, the depression strengthened. Eventually, depression took over my entire thought process. My number one priority was to set a good example for my 3 sons. What kind of example am I setting by not going to work every day? My mind worked overtime to make sure I knew that I was setting a terrible example. My mind told me I should leave, get out of the way and let them move on, perhaps a stepfather would set a better example than I could. My mind told me over and over again what a loser I am.
I quit answering the phone because I did not want to have to deal with the inevitable question, “How are you healing? Are you able to work now?” I was, and still am, too ashamed to answer the question saying I do not work, I do not earn an income. I don’t get in a car very often, but when I am at a grocery store, I avoid former co-workers as if they are threatening me with a contagious cocktail of Zika virus, West Nile virus, and some ebola for good measure. In fact, what I fear are their judging eyes. I can almost hear them thinking, “If you aren’t able to work, why are you…