Thursday, June 16, 2016

My Journey

Part 1 “The wise Doctor”

Doctor F sat on her stool directly in front of me. I was sitting on the examination table. The nurse had already taken my blood pressure, heart rate and temperature. Patrice noted them on her computer. “How are you feeling?”

“I’m okay.”

She looked in my eyes and said, “How are you feeling Robert?”

“I’m okay, but…”

“You aren’t the same person that you were when we first met. What’s going on? Physically you’re fine, but you’re not okay are you?”

I said, “No, I don’t know what has happened to me. You’re right I have changed, I don’t like what I’ve become.” Then I told her, “I took the Kaiser Depression Index and..”

“What did it tell you?”

“That I was severely depressed.”

“Tell me how you think you’ve changed and why.” She asked.

“I don’t sleep anymore, I wake up after a few hours and can’t go back to sleep again, so I stay up, by the middle of the afternoon, I’m exhausted to the point I start to nod off, I usually nap for an hour or two.”

“Yes. What else is happening?”

“Some days I don’t shower or shave, in fact I’ve gone two or three days several times and haven’t gotten cleaned up. My wife will leave in the morning and when she comes home, there I am in an old t-shirt with bed head at 5 in the afternoon. I think she thinks I’m disgusting.”

‘Are you?”

“Yes and that’s not all.”

“What else is happening?”

“I’ve turned into a total dick with Jan, I argue, I cut her off. I yell. I’m angry even when I have nothing to be angry about. My daughter has noticed it and brought it up with Jan and with me.”

“Were you surprised at that?”

“No because it’s true. I know I’m an asshole with her. When I’m being harsh and angry, making mountains out of nothing, I know I’m doing it but I can’t stop it. It’s like I'm watching it happen, I want to stop but I can’t, part of it won’t let me stop.”

Are you mad at Jan about something?”

“No, I’m not mad at her.”

“They why do you verbally abuse her?”

“I think I’m mad at me, myself…she is my outlet.”

“You think that’s fair of you to do?”

“God no, it isn’t fair or right, it’s a terrible thing to do.”

“How long has this been going on?”

“A long, long time. It’s gotten really bad over the past year, year and a half. I’ve done some reading about depression and I’m a classic older male example.”

“Have you ever thought about killing yourself?”

“I have.”

“Have gotten to the point of planning it?”


“Is that what you want?”

“No, it’s not, but when things are hard it’s easy to think about-it seems to be a solution for a moment or two anyway.”

Doctor Patrice F rolled her stool back, looked me in the eyes and said very softly, “Let me help you. Will you do that for yourself?” she waited for my answer.

I took a long time to answer and finally said “Yes, I will.”

Patrice smiled, “Good. You have too much to live for Robert, a good wife, children, grandchildren and friends. You’ve gotten your health together over the past couple of years. You’ve been one of my few patients that seldom frustrates me. Remember when we talked about the people you see in the waiting room?”

“Sure I do.”

“You told me that you didn’t want to end up like that, you didn’t want to be another sick old man didn’t you?”

“Uh huh, I did.”

“I believe if you don’t get some help you are headed in a direction that doesn’t have a healthy ending, a good ending for you and you need to fix it now. It isn’t going to be easy. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and honesty on your part. I’ll get things set up for you. When I do the office will call you and give you a number to call to set up your intake interview.” Patrice smiled and said. “Do it Robert, I know you can.”

“I’ll do it because I hate what I’ve become.”

“When you go home tonight, apologize to your wife and tell her what we’ve talked about today, okay?”

“I will.”

Driving home I thought about what she said. When I got home I rubbed the dog’s ears and looked into his eyes. I made myself a Jack on the rocks with a splash. I sipped it on the porch. I thought I’d better put down my shovel and stop digging. I finally looked up and a long way off was a touch of blue sky. I hadn’t seen it for a long, long time.

Major depression. Type: Term. Definitions: 1. a mental disorder characterized by sustained depression of mood, anhedonia, sleep and appetite disturbances, and feelings of worthlessness, guilt, and hopelessness


  1. Bob, you have many, many friends out in the world that are rooting for you. I am one of them. Be well, amigo.

  2. Bob, Lana told me of your call. Good to hear your appraisal of all.
    Your post carries honesty with power and clarity. Illuminating.
    Take good care. We are in that rooting section Bruce writes of.

  3. Thanks to everyone who sent personal messages of support. I'm grateful to all of you. It's nice to have friends who care. I'm going to okay.