Thursday, May 15, 2008

As with my previous post, I've been looking back at my life recently in an effort to assess where I've ended up. The past two or so years of my life have been two of the most difficult. It was a little over two years ago that I was diagnosed with clinical depression. I keep looking back, hoping to find answers to the why of this illness but have found few answers. In my research and understanding of gay Mormon men I have found that, for many, depression seems to be a natural occurance. Some would argue that the depression is rooted in the conflict of having feelings of SGA and trying to live a life based on the teachings of the church. For me, the correlation doesn't seem to exist, at least not as the root cause.

Before 2005 I would never have imagined that I would be diagnosed with clinical depression. I had no symptoms before 2005 and was mentally healthy. But when it hit, it hit hard. One day I woke up and couldn't go to work. The thought of doing so caused severe anxiety, which led to depression. Initially, I blamed my career. Then I blamed my propensity toward introversion as the cause of my illness. And yes, I did blame SGA to a certain degree. I learned that I had parts of my personality conflicting one with another. My career was conflicting with my desire to be an artist or a musician. I felt like a part of me was dying internally - a part that I didn't want to lose. This alone created a lot of anxiety and depression. In general, I learned that my anxiety was playing a huge role in my depression.

Now today, having gone through the healing process, I see that in most respects I was mistaken. I actually enjoy my career. I enjoy the life that I have built and find great satisfaction in my successes as a father and husband. I feel the old self coming back to life after being submerged for more than two years. I still have days when I feel like a failure, but now, instead of these feelings taking over, I simply move forward, knowing that I'm doing okay.

I have begun to accept where my journey through life has taken me. I kept fighting against (and still do to some degree) the life that God has given me. Overall, I'm where he wants me to be right now and I'm headed in the right direction. I don't know why I fought it so much. I kept saying to myself that I wanted something different - a different career, a different life. I would ask myself, what happened to my childhood dreams? For the most part I fealt that my dreams were never going to become a reality, that they had been taken from me, and I began to panic, grasping for a glimmer of what I wanted, trying to hold on to the last remnants of who I was and what defined me. For two years I panicked and tried desperately to move back onto the course I wanted for myself. I believed that what I wanted is what God also wanted. It has taken me more than two years of kicking and screaming to finally realize that I'm okay, that this is what God has planned for me. I constantly want control of my life and try everything to maintain this control.

It seems like such a simple lesson, one that we've all been taught since childhood. We will never have complete control over our lives. Some things have to be left to God and his divine plan for our lives. But why is letting go of this errant control so difficult? The control that I thought I had was never really there. I was illuding myself. So here I am, the beginning of the new me - or is it really the old me, the one that was always there, but refused to accept. We are all divine. My focus now is to hold onto this divinity and cherish it more than I have in the past.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Like many of us, I have been going through a transformation for the past two years. The transformation stems from many variables: our gayness, growing older, going through trials, and just life in general. But what if we're not happy with our transformation. I don't feel like I've reached where I want to be in terms of being gay, married, a faithful member of the church, a husband, a father, a friend. I had a different picture of where I would be in my life right now. I think we all did. How could we have ever imagined our plight as gay married men. I say plight, focusing on the trials. But, there are the positives of being gay, right?

The majority of us just want to be right with God. Meaning we want to be where He wants us to be. Is my life on the right path? Is this where he wants to be right now in my life? I just want to be able to serve him and help others. I don't want to have to worry about myself and my own struggles anymore. I won't even get started on my other trials of work and mental health. Maybe if I just focus on others, instead of so much on myself, I will end up where Christ wants me to be. Maybe everything else will miraculously fall into place if I just forget about myself.

When I start thinking about where I want to be and what I want in my life, I just get stressed out and depressed. When I look at myself, I see a big failure at my career, a gay man who is afraid to tell his wife, a husband who can't please his wife, a Father who isn't much of a role model, a friend who is really quite boring, and a member of a church he loves but is falling very short of being a very good disciple.

I started this post thinking that I would make a pledge to myself to be a better person, a better disciple of Christ. I was going to set goals and begin another transformation, but this time a transformation that I had more control over. We've been instructed to not just "go with the flow", but it seems that the "flow" is the "refiner's fire" that is molding me into something else, that I just don't understand right now. I'm having a hard time seeing the big picture anymore. Is this the way it's supposed to be?
Since July 15, 2007