Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Living Inside Depression

It's been a hard decision whether or not to blog about this.

First, I wonder if anyone cares?  Does anyone even read this blog?  I rarely ever get comments.  I am running a sale on my book for the first 15 who comment on my last entry, and after two days, I have 1 comment.  Most of the other posts have no comments. So it's obviously not high traffic.

Second of all, writing about depression is depressing. Who wants to read that?

Third, this is my author blog.  Most people who come here probably would rather hear about books, writing, etc, not this stuff.  Although my whole life is wrapped up in this current state, still, it's personal.  Do people want to know that much?

I finally decided I'll blog about it because writing is therapeutic for me.  And because I have spent a good portion of my life doing everything I can to serve and help others, maybe a glimpse inside the mind of a depressed person will help someone else somehow.

We recently were forced to give up a home we had hoped to purchase and moved back to a town home.  For 15 months, we lived in a house.  I had not lived in a house since leaving my parents' home.  Bianca had not lived in an apartment until she married me.  The difference in housing types is night and day and we much prefer the house.  Privacy, space, personalization -- the advantages are numerous, but ultimately, it just fits us better.  Now, my part time music ministry job is going away as well, and the options out there are retail at 41 years old, a place I never wanted to return to and which, frankly, pays 1 third of what I have been making and what, up to may, we were used to living on.  Because of the debt load we carry, in part due to medical expenses, in part due to living stupidly beyond our means, taking a retail job at such low pay will require me to work tons of hours to make up for the loss of the part time job income of $1200 a month.  If I work more than 29 hours, I lose my welfare of $880.  So instead of having $2080, I will be providing $1250 or so for us to live on.  We cannot live on that.  I am told I do not qualify for the Federal Unemployment extension because I have "marketable skills," although how you can label something as marketable which no one seems to want is beyond me.

Since being laid off from my lousy last employer in May I have applied for 500 some jobs (rough guess).  I have done 1 in person interview and 3 phone interviews.  I have worked hard on my resume, now in its 9th draft since May, consulting professional sites, advisors, etc.  In fact, I imagine I have spent close to $800 trying to get employed which increased out debt, but the economy is awful, don't let the Obama lies fool you, and it's not getting any better.  My Texas Workforce advisor says most people are taking over a year to find jobs.  Every time I hear or think about that, I wonder how we will survive?  We already are facing potential bankruptcy.  I am ashamed of being such a failure.  I am angry that I have spent 41 years and have no career path, making my job search harder.  The fact that I dedicated much of those years to missions and nonprofit work doesn't seem to matter.  I look like an unstable employee who floated around freelance and never held a job.  That says nothing about my real dedication, effort and capabilities.  It also sucks to not be able to do what you love.

My part time job was supposed to be that.  Church music ministry.  I have been writing and performing songs all my life.  Finally to get paid to do it.  And to lead people into relationship with God, which I love and is a real humbling honor and privilege.  WOW!   But instead, I found myself working for a man who micromanages to the finest detail, doesn't seem to trust anyone but himself, and, despite my 15 year track record, treated me like I just fell off a turnip truck.  People with no experience and less qualified education are allowed to do things I've been doing for 15 years but am not allowed to do at that church.  And despite the fact my worship team are amazing people, whom I adore, it has been a humiliating, hurtful experience with no opportunity for personal and professional growth.  Attempts to discuss this with the boss were met with cold ears and a "my way or the highway attitude."  Here's a man who preaches mercy, acknowledging sin, and apologies but has not practiced that toward my wife and I.  Anything we do to offend him, an apology is demanded, yet in 16 months, I don't recall ever hearing one back.  The wounds we carry for it are deep.

My full time job at the software vendor whose product I had worked so hard to promote and implement while consulting at a Fortune 500 company for four years, was one of the harder places to work.  One moment they praised you as valuable and like family, the next your job was on the line.  No warning.  I never got regular feedback.  I only heard from them when they had some major issue.  I got very little training and yet was criticized for not doing things the way they wanted them.  They put me into positions with which I had little or no experience and didn't do anything to help my succeed.  I was on my own.  Then, they laid me off at a time when they knew our struggles financially from a medical crisis my wife had last fall.  They got mad when I told them all of this, demanding I be respectful.  I was hired for technical writing.  Everyone praised my work at that.  It's where my gifts lie.  Did they really expect they could throw me in unfamiliar territory with no support and I'd be a star?  Wish I could, but it was hard.  They have too few employees for the number of high demanding clients and it's stressful and you're expected to know everything.  Since I don't like to lie and I won't damage my integrity by pretending to know what I don't, it's hard.

So here I am, feeling like a failure.  Wondering why my life sucks so much.  Why was I born?  Why in the world am I supposed to have hope when everything gets worse and worse?  I have not even mentioned some other issues, but, trust me, they are one disaster after another.  Why is it that I am called overqualified and underqualified but can't seem to find myself qualified?  How am I supposed to feel when I can't provide for my wife?  When I can't seem to hold a job?  Or when I get one I have passion for, why does it have to suck?  When I can't get anyone interested in my "marketable skills?"  Why am I doomed to jobs that are not my passion where I struggle with focus because of ADHD and lack of true passion and end up regarded as unsatisfactory or expendable because of it?  Why was I cursed with ADHD?  Why can't I do what I love?

I don't know the answer, and I don't expect you will either, but I can tell you that when I mentioned to my friend that I was lying here feeling like a worthless lump and he told me to get up and go outside, my response was:  "If I go outside, I'm afraid I won't stop walking until I reach Interstate 10 two blocks away and throw myself in front of a car."  Right now, I can't even find the motivation to do that much.

So, if you want to know how it feels inside depression?  Here's your glimpse.  Hope you don't think it's pretty.  It's not.  It's a deep, dark pit where the sun's rays can't penetrate and event he Almighty God himself doesn't have arms long enough to reach.  Welcome to my world.  For what it's worth...


  1. Bryan,

    First of all, Big HUGE hugs to you.

    I really wish that I could say something to make things better for you. I can't. No one knows where life is going to lead us. No one knows what trials we will face.

    What I can say is have faith. No I'm not a Christian, but I do have faith that things will be better. Maybe not tomorrow, or the day after. But it will be better. You just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

    I've been there. Working jobs where you don't have support and no appreciation for your hard work. But you have to keep at it. Things will change, often when you least expect it.

    I'll keep thoughts of you going. Good job thoughts, money thoughts, healing your heart thoughts, because you WILL get through this. (Even if your friends have to drag you through it)

  2. I have noticed that a lot of writers--actually, a lot of creative people--are suffering from depression. I'm in several writers groups and see comments about depression frequently. I think it has to do with creative people feeling things more intensely, and while our ups can be crazy high, our downs go low, low, low.

    It's a hard thing to battle. And I'm sorry you have to go through this. I've had very low times in my life, including while I went through cancer treatment. But that kind of situation offers a clear view of the light at the end of the tunnel, and it sounds like you don't have that view.

    I can't offer much as far as advice, but I can offer some prayers.

  3. Hey Bryan: Thanks for sharing where your at right now. People are gonna want to "fix" things for you, and maybe you want them to fix things for you (Lord knows I did).

    Just remember your on a journey. This is not your destination, your just currently residing in "Shitville". I lived there for a good 3 years after we lost our record deal and I had to become a courier to pay what bills I could. It was humiliating.

    Recently with the economy tanking, and my business being "Book Fairs", I saw my income shrink by 2/3. I had a lot of pissed off conversations with God. "Come on, Man! When churches want to add a wing to their already "Mega-Dome" cathederals, the money pours in and everybody praises You. I'm begging you on behalf of my family here...throw me a bone, Dude!".

    I got to thinking about how it must have been for the believers during the great depression. You know people were begging God to come through for them. I believe several probably lost their faith, others were strengthened. So I asked myself, how can someone be strengthened in the Valley of Shit. I came to the realization that my focus was all wrong. I can only do what I can do. If others see me as a failure, I don't care. I know God, my wife, and children do not. So I do the best I can. If I lose my home, cars etc yeah, that would suck, but I'll survive.

    Bryan, you can only do the best you can. Remember, your occupation doesn't define you (a mistake I made for too long in the music field) Keep writing!! Keep loving your wife! and just do the best you can...that's it.

    Soon that shit will become fertilizer. OK, that was cliche. you get my point. If people don't respond to your writing doesn't mean we aren't reading and thinking of you!!

  4. I agree with Bret--this is NOT you being a failure--you can't define yourself by your occupation. NOT with the economy the way it is. Not with sooooo many people out of work.

    Does it still suck? Of course. But you can't let it define who you are. Your skills, talents and passions define who you are, not the act of getting paid for those things.

  5. Well, now my wife lost a client and may lose hours. Just gets better and better. Bret, Kat, Shadow, thanks for your kind words. I appreciate the support and encouragement. This has been the worst 18 months of our lives and I am just exhausted. Not sure how to keep going because I'm worn out. But I appreciate it.

  6. Bryan, you are the beautiful creature that God has made you to be. This sounds like a test of your faith that God will take care of you! I want you to know that I am praying for you and Bianca, not just that you find a job, but that you find God's will for your lives. That you trust Him with everything you are and what little you have, and that He will direct you, provide for your needs, and place people in your path to be a blessing and to give you a helping hand. Seek out a good Christian counselor, because you are definitely depressed and you need to talk through this (not just on your blog, but to a live counselor who can help you through this dark time). My heart aches right now for what you are going through. I will continue to pray for you and your wife and for God to restore you and have His own way in your Life!

    Love, Rachael


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