Depression doesn't care if you're Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, fat, skinny, tall, short, wealthy or poor! Depression has no race, political or religious boundaries - it can effect any man, especially during and after divorce.
My dad had always said “you‘re not depressed, you just think you are, stand up and act like a man.” He had always felt that depression was a sign of weakness or a way to hide from reality and garner sympathy from people. It wasn‘t until later in his life that he discovered that depression is a REAL thing. He started experiencing depression himself and he finally came to understand that it is not a sign of weakness, but can be a sign of strength. “How can depression be a sign of strength?” you ask. Once you accept that depression is real and that it is a sensation that can invade your thinking process, you have an opportunity to acknowledge depression and then do something about it. Accepting that depression is real, addressing it and overcoming it will build your strength as a man and build your strength for future battles with depression.
Depression can be caused by real events that are taking place around you, or it can be brought on by things that you perceive are happening around you. Getting a grasp of actual events is far easier than controlling what your mind perceives. Perceived problems are more debilitating than actual problems.
Remind yourself that a lot of things are completely out of your control. Attempt to clearly see and determine what things are within your control and what things aren’t within your control. Seeing events and conditions clearly will help you analyze whether an event or a situation is legitimately worth being depressed over. “Let go and let gravity“ is my saying. Some things will fly and some things won’t. Make your best efforts and allow nature to take it’s course.
I will not insult you by saying that you can simply “talk yourself out of depression.” Going through a divorce can be extremely depressing. You feel unloved, sad, angry, weak, lonely, worthless. These are legitimate feelings to have. Allow yourself to feel and experience these emotions. It’s okay to cry if you want to. Harboring or hiding from these emotions can be detrimental to your health. Some of the side effects of depression are heightened blood pressure, poor eating habits, excessive drinking, disrupted sleep patterns, irritability, lack of concentration, poor job performance, lowered libido.
Medication can be helpful. Sometimes an antidepressant is useful in getting you through this period. A pill will not magically make all your problems disappear, but some medications can help you get back on track. Antidepressants can sometimes help you focus your thoughts better and give you a boost of enthusiasm. Depression saps energy and enthusiasm. It’s like this: You know what you should do, but you just don’t have the energy or you don’t feel like doing it. Everything seems like a waste of time or energy. You tell yourself “what’s the point, I can’t do anything right, nobody cares, my life is useless.” That’s depression!
Do not hide from depression. Accept that you are experiencing depression and do something about it. Go to a doctor and find out if he recommends an antidepressant. Going to a bar and complaining about your divorce will not address your problems or make them go away. People may act like they feel sorry for you, but guess what? Some people revel in your misery. Stay away from depressing people. Surround yourself with people that make you feel good. I’m not talking about people who feed you false flattery or that boost your ego. I’m talking about people who are genuinely happy, energetic and proactive towards life.
As you are going through the divorce process you might start reflecting on what you think you did wrong. It’s good to accept responsibility for the things you may have done wrong. Learn from your mistakes but don’t constantly “replay” bad scenes in your mind. Honestly accept what you did wrong and think about how you can make yourself better and how you might handle this event if it ever comes up again in the future. Replaying bad scenes and visualizing bad events will only depress you further. Just as I mentioned in Controlling Yourself, you may have to consciously say “stop it,,, stop thinking about this.”
Being depressed and staying depressed will make you weak and you are more prone to give in to bad temptations. Depression tricks you into rationalizing that you “deserve a drink” or "another hit." Don’t let anger or depression trick you. Catch yourself and decide to do something else other than drink or do drugs. Do something that requires you to be active to get your mind off of anger and depression, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Wash dishes, clean out your fridge, return some phone calls, take out the garbage, wash your car, go for a walk. Those few seconds when you can still say “I will not think about this” are the most important seconds in winning your battle over depression.
Depression almost killed me, or I should say, I almost killed myself due to depression. I was so depressed before, during and after my divorce. I was living a 24-hour panic attack! I went from 145 pounds down to 122 pounds. I couldn’t focus on my job, I had no energy to do anything, I couldn’t sleep and I had absolutely no appetite. I had stopped exercising and my house became a mess. My house was so cluttered that it made me even more depressed. My whole life started becoming a cluttered mess that was getting overwhelming. I felt useless, weak, lazy and unlovable. I no longer felt like a man. Days and nights became a blur. Time dragged, but I also had no consciousness of time. Weeks would pass and I had no recollection of what I did or who I talked to. My eyes were always red and burned from all of the crying. I felt bad about myself, I hated what my life had become and I welcomed death.
My ex-wife has no idea how our divorce shattered my life. She ripped my heart out and tore me apart emotionally by having her affair. This was someone that I loved and that had loved me! I was convinced that I must have been a really awful husband. I began believing that it was my fault that she did what she did. I blamed myself - that’s depression!
I had quit drinking almost a year before our divorce. I wanted to drink so badly, but I knew I couldn’t drink my problems away. I knew that if I started drinking again, I would kill myself with Scotch. In hindsight, I am lucky that I had quit drinking before the divorce. If I hadn’t, I am confident that I would be dead right now. Alcohol and depression do not mix well together.
What follows is the story of my turning point out of depression:
I was sitting alone at home just waiting and hoping for death to take me from my misery. My best friend Mike called me and invited me to go get something to eat with a couple of buddies. I had to force myself but I decided to go. It's a small Sports Bar and we got some Hot Wings and the other guys had a few beers. While I was there, I ran into my friend Lou. (I used to workout with him at the gym.) He looked at me and said “what the fuck happened to you? Have you been sick? I haven’t seen you at the gym for months. My God,,, you’re skin and bones!” We talked for a while and he threatened me (in a guy’s way) that “I better get back to the gym or he would kick my ass.” That was when I realized that if I was ever going to gain my self-worth back as a man, I had to do something about this myself.
The next day I started working out again. I set a goal to workout on a regular basis and that I wanted to get back up to at least 140 pounds. Putting weight back on required me to eat, so I made sure I stuck to a healthy diet. I would make lunches for myself the night before work. I made sure that I ate well every day. Strenuous exercising helped me start sleeping better. I would spend a few minutes here and there cleaning my house or doing yard work. Then I asked a woman that I worked with if she would be willing to help me clean and redecorate my house and go clothes shopping with me (women love doing this). I rewarded her efforts by cooking for her and taking her out to dinner. This began helping me feel like a man again. She has now become a very dear friend of mine. (Men and women can be good friends without having any sexual tension between them)
By becoming physically stronger I was able to take control over the emotional weakness that comes with depression. I eat well and exercise regularly. I keep my house clean, I dress clean and I keep my body healthy. I had consciously told myself that I will not lose to depression and that I will rebuild my life. I took control. Every little thing helped and slowly I started feeling stronger and better about myself.
My advice is that you stay active, even if you have to force yourself. Do not take your sadness out into the world with you. Don’t take depression to work with you. Don’t bring your family down, don’t bring your friends down. When I go out in public, I am happy. I’m vibrant and people like hanging around me. I am not hiding from my issues, I’m just trying to live a normal life. Yes, it’s true, you are depressed and you are going through a divorce. You already have enough problems, don’t bring any more drama into your life or the lives of others. Just because you feel like God pooped in your coffee cup doesn’t mean you should bring everyone else down around you.
I may be struggling inside, but I won’t bring others down. Here are some suggestions for controlling how depression effects you.
#1 - Don’t take depression with you out into your life.
#2 - Don’t cry your “tale of woe” to everyone you run into.
#3 - Do your best to always be in a good mood while you’re around people.
#4 - Get a pet. Become a dog or cat owner.
#5 - Do something nice for a friend. Go over to their house/condo/apartment and help with a project.
#6 - Exercise! It really does help you feel better about yourself.
#7 - Surround yourself with genuinely happy people.
#8 - Force yourself to eat properly.
#9 - Don’t “replay” or relive mistakes that you have made.
#10 - Read books.
#11 - Get involved in a sport. Golf, tennis, basketball, swimming, just participate in a sport.
Depression still grabs hold of me every day, but I am strong enough to beat it down into submission. Some days are better than others, some days are worse than others. But I will NOT allow myself to lose to depression. Accept that depression is a reality, then prove to yourself that you are a strong man by grasping depression, taking action and doing something about it. Don’t hide from it. Approach it, grab it and beat the crap out of it!
Mark A. Tuschel.
I welcome your questions. I do NOT offer factual legal advice - I am not qualified in this area. I do offer a compassionate ear and can give some constructive feedback to problems.
All information, names and email addresses are kept strictly confidential. You will NEVER receive junk mail from me. If you want an email response, be sure to add my email to your address book - otherwise overzealous spam blockers may delete me.Mark@freedivorcesupportfor men.com
Living Sober Sucks
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Living Sober Sucks (but living drunk sucks more) - is an alternative to the typical recovery model or "program" system. This book is based on the premise that drinking is a CHOICE. It is entertaining, funny, sad, controversial, profane, inspirational, thought provoking and REAL.
Just by following one of my strategies in Chapter #13, you will end up with over $3,600.00 in the bank after 1 year of sobriety.
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Published by: CW Media, Inc.
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