To proud to be healthy.
I said that in passing, last night- I was hanging out in a support chat room, for people with mood disorders. We get all kinds there, depressed people, bi-polar people, schizophrenic people- and, I think, a few who aren’t any of these, but perhaps come by out of love, just to try to be a caring presence for those of us that need it.
We were talking about how hard it is, sometimes, for people to ask for help. One of the people there commented that they “can’t do it alone, anymore”… and I reminded them (forgive my vagueness, but we don’t always know from the nicknames whether the person is male or female, and real names are not required) that there is all kinds of help available, if they would but reach out.
And it hit me, how silly stupid I’d been, for so many years. Help was available to me, too, with a phone call, a stop by the church, any number of ways.
But not me. As much as I know intellectually that depression is an illness, that mental illness is an illness like a cold or a squashed disc, or strep throat, the emotional tough-guy response still came to the fore. I can rationalize, or did rationalize, that “it will just go away, it always has” all I want. But the bottom line is that my silly pride was in the way. I can try to put better spins on it, I can try to explain in convoluted thinking that it was this, that or the other- but really, when I look deep in my heart it does come down to that.
“Real men don’t need help with … heck, real men don’t even have emotions, right?
So proud, I let my mind and guts get twisted into almost dying.
So proud, I let myself close off from everything I hold dear, from my wife and my kids, from any friends I could claim (not many, but I’m getting better in that area). From my God, completely. From any real life that was at all worth living. From things that I love, from things that challenge and excite- I closed myself off, because of a silly belief that I could do it myself.
I wonder sometimes, about myself. I’m not really a stupid person- I’m a college educated, reasonably intelligent person, able to do my job and succeed in things that I try to. I can fly an airplane, sail a boat, program a computer, design a network, listen to friends that need me, all kinds of things. I’ve built a cabin out of logs, and another out of lumber, and wired and plumbed and roofed and all that goes into those things. I’ve maintained houses and repaired cars (back when I couldn’t afford to pay Achmed to do it, thank God for Achmed, because I hate working on cars). Heck, if I really really put my mind to it, I can even take a fairly decent photograph, once in a while.
But, I can’t- or rather, couldn’t- reach out when I needed a hand. Knowing better, deep down, I still was unable to do the simple little things that I could have done to avoid so much pain.
Pride… Too proud to be healthy, I said last night.
Well, ta heck with that.
Misplaced pride nearly destroyed my family; nearly destroyed me, twice. Nearly cost me my marriage, my kids, my hopes and dreams and my life. I think of the things that would have been, had I not felt God’s hands that day, and I shudder.
Hopefully, I’ve learned something. Hopefully, I’ve learned that there is no shame in admitting that I can’t do something alone. I pray daily, that I can put aside pride in self, and be open to what I need to do, however hard that may be. I’ve decided that I also need to add to that: Please give me the strength to be open to ask, should I have too, should I need to accept a helping hand.
Even the title of this blog, I chose in a fit of angry hurt pride. One of Lynn’s boytoys had come across it via some interlinking somehow, and had read a bit of the old blog; and so I moved to this address, a while back. At the time, I had to come up with a name, and I was feeling a bunch of mixed emotions, some of which I didn’t feel all that comfortable with, so I was shoving them down, savagely, viciously. Not a great idea, to try to shove them down, and pretend they don’t exist, but I don’t need anyone, right? I’m an Island, a Rock, and therefore, it won’t cause me any pain. Hence the new address.
Now, today, just over three years, since I mostly missed the bridge… almost three years, since the first time I knew of just how fractured my marriage was… year and a half, since I spent a week in the nut-hut… mixed in all that time, the ups and downs and tears with Lynn, the pride (good kind) in the kids’, the worry about Rob and the joy he brings, I just try to remember, that I can’t afford that kind of pride, not that bad kind.
After all, I had my fall, so doesn’t that mean that the pride went before it, and now I don’t need it? Not that kind of pride anyway.
So now, I guess I can hope that I have enough pride in living my life- to reach out when I need to, and ask for a bit of help when it’s appropriate.