The Road to Depression

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This will be a 2 part series starting with The Road to Depression and finishing with The Road to Recovery. This is deeply personal and is a view of the world through my eyes.

I don’t want to completely blame my childhood for my experiences as an adult, but those experiences molded me into the person I am today. My parents weren’t god awful parents. They ensured food was on the table, cloths were on my brother and I’s back, and there was a roof over our heads. They were there for my brother as he did his duties for the high school band, and were chaperons for the band as well as school dances.

My step-father (adopted-father) worked as an over-the-road truck driver and my mother worked odd jobs like in Sears, McDonalds, and as a gas station attendant, and sometimes she worked two of those jobs at the same time. Due to them living busy lives, it was really up to me to ensure my brother and I did our homework and our daily chores.

Granted that’s a macro-view of our lives and some would say, “what’s the problem here?” I get that. I really do.

The thing is, when they were home, they constantly argued with each other and anytime myself or my brother had issues, those issues were very much ignored; therefore, I had to come up with my own ways to vent out my frustrations as a youth. One of those outlets was writing poetry, but as time went on, I simply just bottled in my frustrations with life and think they’d just go away.

After high school I moved to Florida and tried to do the college thing. It wasn’t that effective, and my grandfather talked me into joining the Navy.

My time in the Navy was very good, although I did experience times of depression as I missed my friends in Pittsburgh and hearing about some childhood friends passing away. I think a lot of my issues of depression could’ve been avoided if I knew how to reach out for help; I felt if I was disregarded as a kid the same thing would happen as an adult.

Fast-forwarding to today: For the past month, or two, I’ve been in a deep depression. I can’t pinpoint the exact reason for me me falling into the pits of darkness. I had a few things go down these past few years, from my mom passing away to my step-dad passing away (this year), and simply being frustrated with my life in general. I’m thirty-three with no wife, no kids, or even in a relationship that’s heading in that direction. Plus with me attending Pitt and driving to and from there, I’m dealing with being completely out of money. Then adding in those factors, I dealt with some car issues, a tube busting, and needing new tires.

Because of my depression, I pushed away a good girl. I practically treated her like shit (for a lack of better words). I reacted the wrong way and literally left her at the arena Pitt plays their hoops games in (Peterson Event Center). I felt awful for letting my personal life just push her away.

In-between the car issues and that occasion where I left that girl hanging, I self medicated via the usage of alcohol. I went to the point of completely blowing off my classes simply to “drink the pain away.” I knew I was doing wrong and felt guilty about it. It wasn’t until Thursday that I had my “wake-up-call” and I reached the darkest point of my life. I contemplated suicide and actually thought of the means of how I’d carry it out.

It was that moment that scared me. I hit up some friends in a group chat on Facebook and let them know what’s going on. All of them in the chat has been really supportive. From there I wrote a generic message on my Facebook wall and had tons of people reach out in support. It will be a long road to fixing myself. Since then I’ve been alcohol free and I’m started to reacquire an appetite. I will be myself again, it’s going to be a long road, but then again, me writing this has already lifted some of the burden off of my chest. Also I plan on getting counseling as soon as I can. I do need to learn how to be more open about my issues, and not letting things get to this dark place. The light is getting brighter, but yet it’s so far away.

(Note: to the woman I left at the Peterson Event Center, I hope you understand I was in a dark place and find a way to forgive me for what I did.)

Joe Niklas

Twitter: @JoeNiklas

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