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.


robert said... are an interesting fellow. I am really interested to know how you would counsel your own son if he confessed to you that he was gay... given your own experiences.

Would you encourage him to take the same path as you have?

Forester said...

First, I would let him know that I love him unconditionally. I would let him know that whatever decision he made, I would always be there for him. My path may not be the right path for him. For me, getting married and living a straight life was the right thing to do. I would let him know that nothing is impossible. If he wanted to follow my same path I would completely support him, but I would never try to force it on him. I think in some ways it would be worse to get married, have children and then leave your wife and kids than to live a gay lifestyle from the beginning. I would never want him to feel or be alone. We were not meant to be alone. Everyone deserves to love and be loved in return. I chose my path because I believe it is the right thing to do in my case. At times I struggle to make it work, but I couldn't imagine life without my wife and kids. Overall, I guess I would lean towards encouraging him to follow my path.

robert said...

Thanks for the kind reply. I think it may be that in the not so distant future gays and lesbians will enjoy the same civil rights as everyone else. In this way, all beings will be free to live as they choose without prejudice. This acceptance may well have the effect of allowing all persons to simply be who they are in this life without labels. It is our inability to accept differences that seems to polarize beings into one camp or another. May we all live in freedom.

One of So Many said...

It is difficult to arrive at knowing the will of God in our lives. I'm still trying to arrive at that point.

I do love the "illusion" of control I have in my life. I've been forced to let go of control in so many ways. The results seem to have been disastrous so I'm unsure as to the losing control part.

It's awesome that you've reached that point in your life though! Keep on truckin'!

Silver said...

I relate so much to discontent in current circumstances. I guess it is healthy to be dissatisfied with the status quo at times. It may lead us to stretch and search for more meaning in life or a new path.

It sounds like you have come to terms with your current life and what simply "is". I relate so much to that. There is power in just recognizing and accepting what is and being grateful for the good that is there in spite of what isn't.

I have also suffered from drpression for much of my life. I am thankful to say that it has lifted a great deal. My wife now knows and I'm no longer in hiding from her. That has it's own pain and challenge but, there is relief in her knowing. I would never advise another on these matters since our circumstances are so different.

I strive to have God direct my life but my own ego gets in the way all too often. It's a daily challenge to trust Him to run my life. When I do, it really helps.

I wish you well and I respect your good heart. It is obvious that your desires are good and that you seek what is best for all. There is peace in doing what is right. I think you are on track.


J G-W said...

That's a profound insight... It's not the things around us that make us happy or sad. It's us, it's how we see things, how we relate; whether we connect to some divine, stable center, or whether we center our hopes and dreams on the ephemeral things that grab our attention because they're most visible and tangible.

Since July 15, 2007