For a long time after I was first diagnosed, I thought it would be better to go it alone.
My parents never mentioned it to me, or my sister, or the handful of friends who knew about it. So, as long as I didn’t bring it up to anyone new, it would be pretty easy to do it alone.
From the time I was 17 until I was 22 I was completely silent about anything that had happened in my past, the suicide attempt, the hospitalization, the diagnosis. Only for a brief period in there was I medicated. And for the most part I was in remission. I would have depressive flare-ups every so often, but the amount of work I was doing for school, plus working, plus living in an apartment, plus trying to have a social life, everything just kind of stayed at bay.
But around the Christmas of my senior year things started to get bad, very bad. I pushed through school but no longer really cared about it. I didn’t want to graduate do to fear of the real world. I had no girlfriend to confide in. I withdrew myself from my roommates. My band had dissolved. There just wasn’t anywhere to go.
So I started drinking.
This was the first time in my life that I turned to a substance looking for an answer. By the time things would hit their bottom, sometime around August, I was easily consuming half a fifth or more a night, three to five nights a week; blacking out instead of going to bed.
None of it really affected my life, so I hesitate to say it was a problem in that way. But my depression was deepening with every ounce I consumed.
I went on a camping trip with some friends, my best friends. And one night I got insanely drunk and just started to let it all out. I just remember balling my eyes out for hours while I talked to two of my friends in particular. I remember talking about suicide pretty heavily, but I cannot remember much else. When I woke up the next morning I had resolved myself to try to improve what was happening.
When I got home I stopped drinking almost entirely. I started rollerblading the 10 mile journey out to metro beach and home nearly every day. My depression continued to get worse for a couple more weeks but it wasn’t long before I started to see an end to it. I went to a concert in late August with a few friends and I really feel that day was my turning point. I felt better immediately after that concert.
If you are in love with sappy endings, this story has one. After the concert, the last one I ever went to where I bought a band shirt, I went on a little shopping spree and purchased some clothes. I remember the shopping trip very vividly, and how good it felt to spend some money on myself for something other than liquor, and I thought I looked great in all of my clothes.
I bought a green hooded zip-up sweatshirt that I loved, and still have today. I thought I looked incredible in that thing. So I went up to my work, even though it was my off day, just to show my new clothes off to the only friend I talked to regularly about my drinking. She liked my sweatshirt too and thought it was an appropriate time for me to ask a girl out that worked there but I had only met a couple times. That girl came out to where I was standing, me feeling great asked her out, and now we are married.
- My wife still wears that concert shirt I bought as a night shirt, a constant reminder of what I went through just to find her at the end of it all.