I should start out this article with a disclaimer. I am not a Mental Health professional, nor will I claim to have any special insight beyond my own personal experience.
I was going to write more about the future of the Geeks, and I will come back to that soon, but something else got brought up that is very near to my heart. A friend mentioned their family had ostracized them because they had attempted suicide in the past few years. Hearing that caused a tightening in my chest and welling in my eyes. While I try very hard to keep my emotions hidden and a pleasant mask on for the world, sometimes I can’t help it. I don’t typically talk about it in public, but I suffer from depression.
For those that don’t suffer from depression, it can be hard to describe what it is. Not everyone suffers the same way or to the same degree. Not everyone reacts the same way, nor do we all express it the same way. I can only tell you how it feels to me.
Some days I wake up and nothing feels right. Maybe it’s just a general gloomy feeling. Nothing in particular is wrong, but I don’t feel quite right. Sometimes that feeling goes away after a nice hot shower (sometimes singing along to some geeky tunes). Other times it lingers, like a shadow has been cast across the day. I try different things to cope, sometimes a distraction helps, so I’ll play a video game, or work on a project. Sometimes that does the trick, other times it just makes it worse. Sometimes talking about it helps, my wife is very understanding and listens very well. But sometimes talking about it just makes it worse.
See, when it’s really bad, it’s bad. I feel like a cinder block is sitting on my chest. Breathing is harder, as is just about any physical activity. But the worst part is the internal monologue. When I get into a really bad depression, I make myself worse. I tell myself how stupid I am, how worthless I am, how I should have made better decisions and choices. I tell myself that it’s my fault that we’re struggling, that I should be a better man, that I should take care of my responsibilities. I beat myself for every little thing that goes wrong, whether I have any measure of control or not. I should have been better, I should have seen it coming and done something to stop it. And then all that leads to me feeling like maybe I should give up. Maybe I should get out of the way, stop being a burden to those around me.
I’ve never had the guts to attempt suicide, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t crossed my mind many times. I wouldn’t say that it takes courage to attempt suicide, but when I get in that place of darkness and despair, it’s just one more thing that I can’t do. Inside my inner voice is saying, “you can’t even do that right.”
I’m not writing this for sympathy. I’ve done a pretty good job building a strong support network and I am able to push through most days.
I’m writing this because I want people to know that they’re not alone. Depression is easy for us Geeks. A lot of us tend to be loners and struggle to make friends. While a support network is not all we need to keep depression away, it certainly helps. Along those lines, I am going to start a private group for those Geeks that would like to connect with others that share similar issues and maybe meetup occasionally for support. If you would like to be a part of that group, please message me and I will add you.
As always, your comments and feedback are always welcome. You can comment here or email me at MFord@GreatBasinGeeks.com.