Growing up I was hit with many challenges to overcome. I know everyone has their own problems growing up, I’m not saying mine are worse than anyone else but I feel like it’s time to get some things off my chest. I also think that without all that has happened to me has made me the person I am and I am grateful today for the things I have and people in my life.
First, my life brought death along with it, and I have been reminded of it since I was born. I was Born in July, and my grandma died in August of the same year. My family always reminded me how I was born and she got to see her last Grandchild before she died. I know it wasn’t meant to but every time I heard that and was reminded of it, it made me feel like in a way i was the reason she died. I know it wasn’t, I know she was very sick and it was her time, but when you are reminded of it over and over when you are growing up it makes you feel like everyone blames you. Even today I get reminded from time to time about it and it still hurts.
Second, on a nice September day, I got off the bus from school. I had a great day that day it was a Monday and my Grandfather lived with us and I would get off the bus and he would watch me until my mom got home from work. He was 77 and it was only about 20 to 30 minutes most days. I was in 1st Grade and 6 years old. I walked into the house like I always had put my book bag down like always and ran in to the living room to talk to grandpa, but when I ran into the living room and said “Hello Grandpa” I got no answer. Looking at grandpa he just looked like he was sleeping. I tried to shake him and wake him up, at that time I didn’t realize he was dead. After trying to wake him for a short time it became apparent to me something was wrong, his tongue stuck out of his mouth a little and there was a fly on it. At that point is when my heart started to race and I feel like I’m going to get sick. I backup over to the couch and sit down. Tears start to come to my eyes but I hold them back knowing no one is home but myself. Like I said from the start it was only 20 or 30 minutes for my mom to get home but it felt like days. I sat on the couch looking out the window waiting to see my mom pull into the drive way and back at my grandpa. I have no clue how long it was for her to get home, I have no idea how many times I turned my head between the window and him. All I remember was finally seeing her pull into the drive and running out of the house tears running down my cheeks and saying to her “I think Grandpa is Dead”. From that second on I don’t remember a think about the next couple days. It was all a blur but I still see his face both when I found him and when he was laying in the casket at the visitation.
Like my Grandma over the years I get reminded all the time about how at 6 years old I found my Grandpa dead. I know people don’t mean anything by it when they bring it up but when they do it brings back all those feelings I had sitting on the couch staring out the window waiting for my mom, and staring at my grandpa wishing he would wake up but knowing that’s not going to happen. Because of the way both of them died and being reminded of it when I was younger even today when someone just talks about them or if I see pictures of them it brings back those old memories.
Third, shortly after my Grandpa passed away my mom and dad got divorced. I know it happens and its sad that in today’s society we think that way, but it’s not one of those things that should be thought of like that. When someone gets divorced and they have kids even when you tell the kid “it wasn’t your fault”, “it has nothing to do with you”, or “mom and dad just can’t get along or work things out”. No matter what you tell your kids or how much you stress that it doesn’t have anything to do with them. It messes with them and no matter how much they say they are ok with it, or it doesn’t bother them. It does, I know because I was one of those that was told it wasn’t me and I even knew it wasn’t me but it still messes with me still today. I fight it every day even though my mom and dad have cell phones and don’t live that far from me I resent them for not trying to make it work and I feel it has damaged my relationship with both of them. I don’t hardly talk to ether one of them or see them unless something comes up like holidays/birthdays, they need something, or I need something. Growing up after the divorce I would only see my dad on every other weekend or during the summer for a week, it was hard not seeing him all the time. I also know my mom had to work two jobs to help take care of me and I don’t blame her for that at all, but because of that I lived with my Aunt and never seen my mom that much. The only time I would see her is on her days off, I knew she had to work but still not seeing her felt like I had no mom and dad. I know they didn’t mean to make me feel like that but that’s how I felt not seeing your mom and dad daily hurts no matter how old you are or how many times you are told their separation had nothing to do with me.
Fourth, because my past was the way it was I suffer from depression daily. I know some of my family know I had to see a physiatrist in high school but I don’t know that they all know just how bad it can be some days . The dr. came to the conclusion back than that I had problems sharing my feelings and have a problem with loss because by the age of 13 I had in a way lost my father figures my Grandpa, my Uncle who was like a dad after my parents divorce, and my dad from my parents’ divorce. He recommended I go to group and share to get things out. I did not attend group but I did get to the point that I could talk about my losses and share how I feel. It helps from time to time but it always comes back.
With my depression over the years I also have grown to dislike Holidays and Birthday’s because they were not fun knowing other family’s were together having dinner opening presents spending time with each other and I had to split my time between two different places and with only half a family each time. Also my birthday is July 1st and for my birthday we always had a party with fireworks and a big party at our house but it was only my birthday every few years, because my birthday was always celebrated on whatever Saturday or Sunday was closest to the 4th of July. We always called it Mike’s 4th of July Party but everyone just thought it was just that a 4th of July Party. More than once one of my aunts would come up and wish me a happy birthday and another relative would then say “oh it’s your birthday”. That really puts you down to know all the people at your birthday party are there just because it’s 4th of July. Even today my aunt has Mike’s 4th of July Party but everyone thinks it’s for the 4th of July and has no idea it’s my birthday.
Another thing that contributed to my depression when I was in school I had to go to Special Ed because I could not comprehend what I read and was treated as such and was never pushed in school or encouraged to do anymore then just get by. Also being overweight didn’t help when kids made fun of me, I tried to make it better by doing laughing with them and making up nicknames like “Fat Daddy” or “Fatness”. It made it seem like I didn’t care and was ok with the joke’s they made, and in some ways I am now but back then it hurt every day.
My depression got so bad in high school I broke down and had to see the Physiatrist and that helped a little but what no one knows is after high school I took off one day and just drove I ended in Lincoln and was planning on leaving from there and just keep driving to anywhere other than home, I did end up going home after some thinking. Many times I have felt like it would be much better if I was dead or gone and thought about killing myself or run away but never brought myself to do it. I know everyone in my family will think he was so happy all the time but in reality I have been putting on a show.
Depression is hard to deal with, talking about my problem seems to help and I’m hoping this will help even more getting everything off my chest all at once. I’m sorry if I upset any of my family for things I have said. I know I could have come and talked to some of you in person but that’s the thing about depression face to face is harder than anyone knows.
One of my Aunt’s made the comment at our wedding she had never seen me so happy or smile so much, and she was right. I had gone to school with Jennifer and we reconnected 6 years back and got married. She has helped in so many ways, I still get depressed around the holidays and Jennifer understands and helps me as much as she can. She has helped me come out of my shell a lot, I don’t feel as depressed as I once did, no more needs to leave or think about death, but I still get down from time to time.
My hope is writing this and putting it out will lift some of the weight I care every day. I love everyone in my life and that has been in my life. I also hope that if someone reading this having a hard time or that has had a hard time it helps inspire them to seek help, or let them know thinks can get better sometimes you just have to wait for the right situation to come along. Mine was my wife, every day I have a bad day she is the one I talk to and makes me feel better, she has even learned how to spot when I have been having a bad day and knows just what to say to help me though it even if I don’t feel like talking.
If you are depressed and feel like hurting yourself or running away, don’t! Just try and find someone that you feel comfortable to talk to and talk about it. I had a lot of people that I could have talk to, but it took a long time to fine the right person that I could open up completely.
Thanks for Reading
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