Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Storied Mind: Why Depressed Men Leave - 2

Written by john on February 21st, 2009


Some Rights Reserved by nyki_m at Flickr

Some of the comments on the last post in this series hit hard on two issues. First is the question of personal choice: is a man supposed to escape responsibility for destructive behavior by attributing everything to depression? The answer is no! Depression is never an excuse for inflicting pain and loss, breaking up families, violent rages or destructive behavior of any kind. The other compelling question that is asked over and over again, often in desperation, is: What can I do?

I’ll try here to deal with both of these issues here rather than put them off to the end of the series, as I had originally planned.

1. Responsibility

Whatever might roil me internally in the midst of this condition doesn’t change or lessen my responsibility for the harm my behavior is causing. My wife hasn’t kept silent but has confronted me whenever she needed to about what I was doing to our relationship and everything I was putting at risk. Hearing that from her was not enough by itself to shatter the power of denial, but it was essential to be confronted with the facts of her feelings. That truth needs to get through the layers of depressive self-absorption and isolation in order for recovery to begin, but it is knowledge that has to be put to use by me. I had to decide to take responsibility for my own recovery.

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