The other day, I was checking some shared articles in my PLN, when one shared by George Couros stood out to me. 15 Habits of People with Depression, an article about signs of people who are dealing with depression. I read the article and it is pretty spot on. Why? Because it has happened to me. During my sophomore year in high school, I dealt with the usual problems all 15 year olds deal with. Popularity, grades, learning to drive, peer pressure, ect. However, like some teenagers that age, I was that percentage that was not handling it very well. In fact, I was down to thoughts of suicide, leading to a lot of counsoling and seeking God’s help to get me through those days. Something that slowly started turning things around. However, depression isn’t always something that is cured with time, sometimes the effects can last a life time.
During my undergraduate in college, I dealt with depression again, as I felt I didn’t belong in what I was doing. I wasn’t feeling “the college experience” and kept watching as classmates, friends and others move on in colleges and later careers while I saw: favoritism, bullying in my jobs and blame for things that honestly, I had no control over or wasn’t even involved with, but someone had to be blamed right? I eventually made it through college and was just ready to be done with school, but found very little success after college as I floated from low paying and demeaning job to another. In 2005, I saw a brief turn around as I had met someone, but her parents did not see me as amounting to much, so after we broke up, I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and get my life together. I found a new path in health care, made a decent salary, finally got my own place and later met someone new and fell in love. Life was pretty good until my relationship went south, I lost my job and I ended up selling off my entire comic and my various collectibles to pay off over $8K in debt. Leading me to seek consoling again as I felt that my life was just a constant travel of high and low points and felt that there was no point as when my life would be good again, it was going to eventually crash hard again.
That changed when I met my wife and we were starting our family, and I decided to change career paths once again and become an Instructional Technologist and returned to school. However, that was seen by my managers as a waste of time and they fired me with a baby on the way and taking away my finances that were going to pay for school and we moved in with my wife’s parents. The next few years, it was my marriage and the birth of my son, Tyler that kept me going the next three years as I struggled to finished my master’s with little money, constant jumping through hoops to get my license and finding a job and constant ridicule and put downs by my father-in-law about how I wasn’t doing anything right and needed to grow up.
That changed in 2012, I had finished my master’s, been accepted into the doctorate program and found a full time job as a Technology Facilitator. We moved out, got our own house and I used my experience with depression to help students who felt the same way. I was able comfort many students over the next few years from my experiences and saw many of them find a way through their own problems as saw many of them graduate. Something that has made me smile knowing I made a difference in their lives.
However, it isn’t that depression still doesn’t bother me all these years later, as stated in the article, depression can cause people to over analyze both the good and the bad and think about worst case scenarios. The last couple of months I have had to deal with those problems as my contract was not renewed leaving me unemployed again and I’m currently looking for a new job. My dissertation has been in such flux trying to rewrite and fix and seek editors and more. As I have watched many classmates finish and move on with their PhD.s, and me still taking more and more state tests to get my state license. Having to get a new car and losing my job a week after the first payment, trying to write a teacher book that has been back and forth for almost four years and not finished. My wife’s epilepsy and my son’s sensory issues and a few more things, it makes you feel that the world keeps caving in on you and yet I keep on going.
Truth be told and this was what my counselors told me over the last few years. It is the drive to keep getting up that will get you through days and loving your passions in life and wanting to make a difference for others that will get you through in the end. Something I take to heart even more today. It’s not an easy road, but if I look at where I am now compared to where I was at in my mid teens to now. I have over come a lot and found myself through some very dark days and still found a way. I still strive to help others based on my own experience, whether it is for students, other teachers or family. Depression is a horrible illness, but it can be managed and even cured. I do believe one day, I will no longer feel that constant dread during low times in my life and I will make it through them and as I tell others: “You will too.”