Updated: Mar 2, 2018
Christmas was going to be a chance to recuperate and regroup before returning to work. The past couple of months had been particularly hard. My work product was declining, my mood ever somber and a mental fog that seemed to swallow rationality crept in at an alarming pace.
"It wasn't the work that was getting to me, but the depression."
Truth be told I had prepared myself for the inevitable. That I would return to my cube desperate and hopeless. The work I left behind, the work I was struggling to engage with, would be waiting for me in ambush.
It took all of eight hours back in the cube to realize that it wasn't the work that was getting to me, but the depression. I couldn't escape it and I had fought it in secret for the past two years.
When you go to therapy and talk to your doctor about depression (which you should) there are the standard run down of symptoms. Do you sleep poorly? Check. Are you irritable? Check. Are you having trouble concentrating? Check. The list continues until of course you are asked when the problem started.
I don't really know.
I can say for certain depression plagued me for a lot longer than I probably realized until it peaked with a mental collapse at work. Twice. But for the previous few years it had always been there. A shadowy specter haunting my life spurring indecision and doubt into my daily life. I had always counted on my personality to lift me above the fray.
The Final Charge
Eventually, this type of treatment fails because you rest too much on your own laurels to compete. My time came on January 2, 2018. I had received a performance warning from my manager. The list of items were basic in nature, but when your mind is in a fog that doesn't matter. I remembered not being able to focus on anything at all that I was reading or listening to anything she was saying. The depression took a final charge up the gut and knocked me on my ass right there in the office.
"The depression took a final charge up the gut and knocked me on my ass..."
I'll admit it. I cried at work and spilled my guts to my manager that I was losing a battle with depression and deeming myself a failure. She did her best to console me with the fact that my tears were merely reflective of my passion for the job. In all honesty, I hated the job, but I needed to pay the bills. No it wasn't passion. Depression struck my mental state like an avalanche and I was buried beneath it.
The car ride home was a blur. A line between constant tears and racing thoughts. I thank God I wasn't the one driving.
Remember Your Allies
Despite everything. Despite the overwhelming feeling of hopelessness and failure. There are always going to be people out there to help you out. Never forget that. My allies came in the form of friends and family. My wife is my rock. We spoke at length the road that led me to my collapse. It wasn't a mystery to the person who knew me the best that I was suffering from depression.
She was a shoulder to cry on and a wise sage. We talked through my issues and determined that together we can help me overcome. The deciding next steps to recapture my life. For myself, for my family and most of all, for my son.
I decided to resign from my position so I could regroup mentally. It was hard to walk away, but I felt confident it was the right thing to do. I called my parents and told them of my struggles. As expected they were supportive and offered only hopes of recovery. As the word spread, I recevied offers to help and a ear to listen.
These were my allies.
Navigating the Future
With my support network locked arm in arm, I am able to pursue my dreams. I'm continuing to write. I have taken up real estate as a profession (so if you need someone wink..wink ;) ). I still struggle with depression. That doesn't just get up and leave, but with the strength of the world around me I am able to carry on with a sense of hope. The road will be winding and the signs will be blurred, but my faith in my family, my friends, God and myself will see me through.