Part 2. “The Group”
A week after Dr. F gave me her gentle, but firm push. I had an appointment for the next Wednesday with my new therapist. It was suggested during the “intake” session there was a group meeting I could attend on Thursday at Kaiser’s Woodland Hills Behavioral Science Center. It wasn’t mandatory but I went.
There were six men in the group. All former business guys, all upper management types. They ranged in age from 66 to 73, I was in the middle. I was welcomed and I told my story. 47 years in the broadcast business, in management at 24. When my last stations were sold, I walked out the door with high hopes of getting into ownership. I spent time, money and effort trying to get it done. It didn’t happen. I did a consulting project and didn’t get paid, more time, money and effort wasted. I looked for jobs in radio. I shortened my resume and applied and applied and applied. Nothing, I was puzzled, then I got mad, then I got angry. They all nodded their heads, smiled and almost in unison said “Been there pal.”
The group leader, an older psychologist said. “It’s a bitch to go from an Alpha male to an Omega, isn’t it?” I hadn’t thought of it like that, but it was. It was hard, the rejection was harder. He said, “Nobody knew your name, right?”
“And nobody returned my calls either. All my mentors are dead or retired.” I said.
“Let me guess, you kept on trying didn’t you? How long did it take you to stop beating your head against the wall?’”
“A year. It took a year.”
“Then you stopped?”
“I didn’t stop. Not for a while and I did get a job offer in New Hampshire. I seriously thought about taking it, but at the time my wife just started a new job, she loved it and it wouldn’t have been fair of me to drag her all the way across the country. So no, I didn’t take it.”
“How do you feel about it now?”
“I’m glad I didn’t accept it, it was really a lousy job. We both would have been miserable.”
The oldest guy in the room asked me, “How do you feel about your old business now?”
“I don’t give a shit anymore.”
They all laughed and agreed they felt the same way about their former careers.
“You can only get kicked in the nuts so many times.” One of the guys said. He’s absolutely right.
We BSed for a half hour after the session ended. I left Woodland Hills feeling better. For the first time in a long time I didn’t feel alone. I felt stronger. The piece of the blue was a little wider, not much, but I could see the difference.
I went home and cooked a great dinner, I still couldn’t eat, but what I did taste tasted good and my wife cleaned her plate. We went to bed at ten. I woke up at 3 and couldn’t go back to sleep. I guess momentarily feeling better and getting better are two completely different things.
“Male depression is a serious medical condition, but many men try to ignore it or refuse treatment.”- Mayo Clinic.
Next “Sitting down with Erica”