Monday, April 3, 2017

And the award for 'Father of the Year' goes to...

Not Me

I'm not a horrible person. I know there are children worse-off than mine, with appalling circumstances. I don't abuse drugs, alcohol, them, or many other things. But I do abuse myself. They don't get a whole father. They get a remnant. 

I gained my older two children when I married, and I was lucky that they accepted me. But I told my wife I never wanted to have a child of my own until I could resolve my psych issues. At the time I obviously believed they could be cured. But as things go, a surprise was presented to us. And as time went on, my mental health continued to decline. 

I tried to kill myself when my daughter was 3. Depression warps your mind into believing lies, and I truly believed that my family would be better off fending for themselves than living with a shell of a person that had to be watched after. I was just another child, or perhaps a pet. 

The Bridge to Nowhere

But I'm still here. My wife refused to give up on me. I am lucky. And yet I still feel like a piece of glazed pottery, spider-webbed with cracks. At any moment, the entire thing will explode into hundreds of pieces.

I am not an honest person... not completely. I am somewhat honest to myself, my wife, and one of my best friends. (Oh, and honest on these posts.) Beyond that, it is smile and wave. Although I have supportive friends and family, I do not want to burden them with long-term troubles. "Hey, Jason. How you doing today?" "Oh, just trying to suppress feelings of ending my life." The harsh reality is that, well, reality is harsh. I cannot complain about my personal support structure. I have known others with little or no support. But, in general, our society wants to believe that everyone is strong, well kept, and impervious to mental fatigue or, god forbid, anything worse.

Again, I am a liar, but in another way. By not telling the world, my friends, and my family what I am going through, I am perpetuating that same lie for everyone. I hurt others living with similar troubles when I refuse to accept and bring mine to light. Damn that burns like salt in an open wound. And I hurt my children. More salt.

Crossing Over

My children know some of what I've done or been through, but not the entire story. They range from 6 to 16 years old, and are therefore capable of varying levels of understanding. It is hard for me to be 'human' and to them. In my mind, I want to be the impervious superhero, wearing my red cape. Instead, I feel like a living corpse, devoid of complete human abilities.

But it is important to show my kids, friends, and family that one can be truly human and survive it. I would hate for any of them to think they were the oddity and go it alone, and suffer for it. I know my son has suffered from depression. For different reasons than me, but I find it difficult, if not impossible, to talk to him about it or help him with it. I feel that I am letting him down. I have to try more.

The Truthful Lie

And yet, I don't want to be a hypocrite. I haven't survived it all. Will tomorrow be the day that the voice of depression finally crushes my will? Probably not. But it isn't too far of a fall for me to be flat on my face in despair and hopelessness. It is a precarious balance to me. I am never convinced that I have broken free enough to rejoice.

An Interesting Anecdote
(about the bridge in both banners)

Many of the banners I start my posts with are simply found online and represent my mood or subject for the blog. But some of the images are mine. These are both mine. The Golden Trout Wilderness is my favorite place in the world, and this cattle bridge is in that hallowed land. When I was a young adult, I was a group leader for a great camp that brought in at-risk teens and taught them important things, such as hard work and purpose. This involved difficult back-country hikes with teenagers that had their own personal troubles and issues.

At one time my group was camping on one side of this bridge and another group on the other side. One of the young men on the far size decided he was through with his group and leader and was leaving. I helped the other leader by blocking his path over the bridge and refusing to let him by. Somewhat desperately and vindictively, he said that he was going to jump of the bridge and kill himself. I don't think he expected my response, "Go ahead, it's not far enough for you to die. You will probably end up paralyzed, with someone else wiping your ass. A burden to everyone." He looked over the edge and stepped back. The trouble, for the moment, had diffused.

What I said was harsh, but I wonder how I would react if I (or someone else) spoke similar and brutally honest truth to me during suicidal moments. I find it hard to believe that I would have as wise a reaction as that immature, young man. That speaks volumes and makes me ponder, as these posts usually do.

No comments:

Post a Comment