It’s been a while since my last post.
How do you tell friends and family that everything is not OK?
We spend so much time saying everything is alright, pretending that there are no problems and wearing our masks that it just becomes our normal behaviour. Thankfully most of you will have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, and in all honesty, I’m truly grateful for that. But some of you will know. Depression is insidious, it seems at times totally harmless, but it’s effects are devastating.
I make no apologies for talking about this illness here. There is a need to do so, and oh how I wish more people would (or could) have the courage to join me. Those coming here and expecting to read my cycling blog may well just turn away, because it makes for difficult reading. A good friend pointed out to me “you need to be more positive in your blog Derek, otherwise you will lose your following!” and he’s right. But I pride myself on my honesty, and don’t I owe it to not just myself, but my faithful followers to tell them just what is going on with me? It’s so easy to write about all the good stuff, yet not so easy to speak about struggling to make it through just another day.
What’s crazy is this should be the happiest of times for me, after-all, I’m getting fit again, my health is improving and I have been granted an amazing gift. And therein lies one of the problems. I have been given so much, yet feel so worthless, because here I am living in The Netherlands with no job, no income and the feeling that I cannot contribute is eating away at me. I’m a house husband. I built a website for my local church, I joined the local cycling club and I’m trying to integrate myself into society here, but still I feel inadequate. I’ve always looked after myself, always been able to provide. On my travels that was so easy, because I never needed much and I liked the thought that everything I owned, I carried on my bicycle. Now I’m here, unable to be the provider and I just can’t seem to accept it.
I said above “one of the problems” but there are others. I should be giving thanks for still being alive, but instead I’m still asking the question “why me? – what makes me so special?” and it’s hard to describe the turmoil this is causing me. Not just because of my faith, but because I’m asking myself do I really deserve another chance, because this will be my third. Many people would give anything to have a second chance, do I really deserve another?
I have a girl who loves me so much more than I deserve and I love her more than life itself. She will find this blog post difficult to read too, because I have become so good at hiding what is going on with me. She knows something of my struggles, because we share a pretty special relationship – we are both victims of our pasts. My one hope is that we will continue to heal. That’s a strange statement given what is written above, but the truth is we have come so far from when we first met, when I didn’t want to live at all.
Now I do. I want to make a difference. I’m not only talking about my difficulties, I’m actively helping others and hope to be able to expand on this by giving more talks and getting more involved with help groups. In doing so, my wish is that I can begin to feel a sense of self worth – a major milestone on the highway to recovery.
Normal blog service will soon be resumed…