It's Time I Come Clean About My Mistress, Depression
I need to make a public apology to my wife. I need to make a public apology to my kids. My family, my friends, my former co-workers, anyone whose life I have been a part of.
I have had a mistress off and on for the past 10 to 15 years.
I should have told my wife about my mistress a long time ago. I should have told all of you about my mistress a long time ago.
I should have come clean.
It is very painful to make this admission you see, as up until a half a year ago, I had told no one about it. Not a single soul. Very seldom is someone willing to give this kind of information out. Who really wants to admit to having a mistress?
It was only in the past months my wife learned about my mistress, with our latest trysts ongoing since the spring of 2016.
To be totally transparent, my wife has been the biggest supporter through all of this and to be honest, she probably knew much earlier than I am giving her credit for.
She was understandably angry at first. I mean, who wouldn’t be?
Then came the acceptance that the mistress coming in and out of my life was not necessarily by choice.
Well, that last sentence was confusing.
At least it was if you don’t know what I am talking about.
For my mistress is the one who has taken me from my family and friends far more often than I would like to admit.
My mistress is depression.
If I had to guess, and it is truly all a blur, she first came into my life around the spring of 2003. Actually, the first visit was the fall of 1984 when as a 13-year-old who had just transferred schools, my life turned upside down with the loss of my mother to diabetes and the issues that come along with that. Depression was not my mistress at that time, I was 13 years old and it was the mid-80’s. I doubt I even knew what depression was. She was just a “friend” who came around to check on me and make sure I wasn’t completely healed from such a great loss. You could say I never properly mourned the loss of my mother until very recently, and that probably (read: definitely) had a great impact on my depression.
Back to 2003… I had just been downsized from a company that had held great promise with visions of promotion and a future career. This was about half a year after I had left a job I had been at for two years to grab a piece of this enticing pie. I had sacrificed a good tenure to start over and work up through a company just starting out in Canada and the future seemed bright. To be honest if I had survived their purge, I would have gone far. However, they decided the original pay structure they had imported from the good old USA was not going to work here in Canada, so six months after I had started and was showing great promise, I was called in one day and given the bad news. I will never forget that moment. It was my first taste of what at the time I deemed a failure.
Later that week, I started my affair with depression. It was very easy to go to bed with her, and very difficult to get out of bed from her. While my wife was out of the house, I would lie in bed with my new mistress, actually enjoying her company at first.
Days became weeks, and the affair grew more seductive, so I knew I had to call it off.
My thoughts were consumed with my mistress, and it started to show.
The distance was there between my wife and I. I would be seemingly engrossed in watching television and used that as an excuse for my ignoring our conversations. My expression was continually a state of anger/sadness, but we just referred to it as my “TV watching face.”
Once I had called off the affair, I went back to work at different jobs, never really holding down anything for more than a few months here or there. The veneer of success and false smiles dimly covered what was truly bubbling under the surface. Disinterest took over quickly and I just left the job or was let go as I got consumed by a sordid return to my affair with depression.
Weeks became months and months became years. My affair was a definite on again/off again thing. As time progressed, it became more on again. Along the way, I would find a new job, get excited and my mistress would leave me.
For a time.
Along the way, I would get a new hobby and spend lots of time with friends and enjoy their company.
For a time.
Along the way, my three children entered my world and took me back to my family and my world and normalcy and clarity of mind.
For a time.
Depression can only wait for you so long before she calls you and calls you, and the next thing you know you are back in bed with her for days at a time, wondering if you are going to get up and do the dishes that day or if you actually are going to make something for dinner instead of calling your wife to bring something home.
The thing about this mistress in my life that’s the most frustrating is the number of fights we have. We argue all the time. We argue over my wife, we argue over my kids, my career choices, my friends, my family, everything. There truly has to be a disconnect with the rational side of my brain. I mean, I lay in bed with my mistress and tell her I need to get up and do something. I scream at her that I have to get up and do anything. But the iron embrace of her arms combined with the warmth of the comforter, more often than not, keep me from my duties as a husband, as a father, as a person.
Sometimes when she lets me, I also went on walks with my mistress…
I would attempt to trick her into these grandiose hikes through local terrain, trying to lose her along the way. Most often, she would fall behind and for a while, it was just me.
I was alone.
I would get home from these walks, feeling powerful, feeling like me again. The feeling would not last.
The depression, my beautifully haunting mistress, would sneak back into bed with me and lock me in tight and whisper sour nothings in my ear until I succumbed to her hold.
So yes, I have seen high points in my life and I have seen more than my share of low points in my life. I have been in and out of joy and pain and happiness and suffering and the good and the bad and the past 15 years have been a ridiculous struggle.
But here’s the thing…
I have news.
I have good news.
It took me far, far too long to do it, and as someone who has cheated on their wife with the cruelest of mistresses, I have done what all cheaters should do — I have sought out help.
Back in October of last year, I went and talked to someone about it. I swallowed my pride, what was left of it, and visited someone I knew who would be able to help me with my affair. This doctor told me what I already knew, that my depression was not seasonal, was not just being sad and was definitely not just being “down in the dumps”.
He told me I have depression.
He told me I have had it for a long time.
He told me it comes and goes.
He told me I am not alone in this.
He told me there is support for you in the most unexpected of places. Everywhere.
Just visiting the doctor, I felt such a release. It felt so good to talk to someone other than the woman I was cheating on about my depression. He also told me there are things I can do to keep my times with my mistress at a minimum.
So it seems I need to apologize to my wife again as I may have a mistress for the rest of my life. If the plan my doctor and I put in place comes to fruition, I just won’t be seeing her nearly as often as I used to.
I would like that.
It would make me happy.
We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.