Releasing his guilt and shame and opening his heart saved his life.
I had just quit my job as a General Manager for a major retailer and moved home to start over. The first thing I did was admit to my parents that at 47 I was lost and suffering from severe depression, so severe that suicide was a daily thought. My depression wasn’t new, it didn’t just happen, it had manifested over years of denial, drinking, drugs, and womanizing to mask the pain I was feeling. Those years finally caught up with me.
Living alone, with no way out, I succumbed to the pain and made the best decision I had ever made. After moving back home and admitting my depression it was time to find someone to help me through this. Many men, including myself, saw therapy as weakness. It wasn’t normal for a man to talk about his feelings, to be vulnerable, especially to other men. But it happened and man was it the best thing I’d felt in my whole life. Releasing the pain that first session, the tears streaming down my face, the walls starting to crumble — the feeling was amazing.
My therapist, Jacob, spent the next twelve weeks helping me break down, making me see my own value, my own self-worth, and opening my heart. He made me admit my fear, my guilt, and my shame that had been trapped inside of me for years — exposing myself for everyone to see.
You know what happened? Everything. I became alive, I saw life with so much more clarity and beauty. Better yet, I wasn’t afraid. I didn’t fear human interaction, I didn’t fear what people might think about me, I welcomed it. Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle, but now I know the signs and how to embrace them. The feelings I had been living with, the guilt, the shame, and the fear are feelings that I am not alone in having. Many men are suffering and they don’t have to.
Would you like to help us shatter stereotypes about men?
Receive stories from The Good Men Project, delivered to your inbox daily or weekly.
Photo: Getty Images