I am 39 and I survived Depression
This is going to be difficult for me to tell, and perhaps difficult for some of you to read, however, my story needs to be told as well. Like so many others, my story begins when I was very young. My mother and father divorced when I was 2 or 3 due to my father’s homosexuality. My mother, who had custody, eventually remarried a military man, and when I was 5 we moved to Germany for the first time. While we lived in Germany, my younger sister and I were sexually abused by my older brother. I still suffer from those emotional and mental wounds, and if I let my mind wander back to that time, I can still experience the physical pain and the desperation in pleading with my brother to please just stop. His acts were eventually discovered, and he was sent back to the United States without his family, and had to live with his stepfather, who is my biological father.
When we came back to the United States in the mid-1980s, my father sat my sister and me down (and yes, I remember this conversation like it was yesterday), and as we were sitting on the steps in his home, he disclosed that he had contracted HIV. In the mid-1980s, due to its relative “newness” and lack of truly effective treatment, as well as all the stigma surrounding it, HIV and AIDS was a death sentence for a homosexual man. So at 8 years old, I researched everything I possibly could in regard to the HIV epidemic, and all I was reading said that my father was going to die, and it would not be a quick, merciful process. Fortunately, here we are 30+ years later, and my father is still with us. But that’s a big burden for an 8 year old to shoulder.
Growing up, I was always complimented on how intelligent I was. I’m not bragging, I just remember adults talking to each other about me and how there were big things in my future and how smart I was. In second grade I was reading at a 12th grade level. I was in all the talented and gifted classes. I had aspirations of being an astronaut, and later in high school, I switched that to teaching (math was never my strong suit, so being an astronaut wasn’t an option). My point in telling this is that there were some pretty lofty expectations heaped on me. In high school, my grades began to decline, first because I was cocky enough to think that if I could prove that I knew the material on the test, why should I have to practice with homework? And second, because I discovered girls, and was rarely without a girlfriend. I remember being beaten several times by my mother and stepfather for my low grades. I was also assaulted my senior year in high school when he caught me sneaking out of the house at night.
After high school I went off to college in my home state, some 2000 miles away from what I considered “home”. I lasted all of two months in college. While I told everyone at the time that I just was homesick and missed my family and friends, the truth of the matter is I wasn’t disciplined and mature enough to force myself to go to classes. Just one more way in which I felt I was letting everyone down from the expectations they heaped on me.
I moved back home and began working. I met a girl, fell in love, and got married. We built a home and had a child. The marriage lasted ten years, not because of anything my wife did, but rather because I was a cheater, and got caught. I chose to blame everyone except myself. In truth, I let my wife and family down, and I failed that marriage.
I was trying to go back to school online during this time and obtain a degree in Elementary Education, but when my marriage fell apart, between working two jobs to make ends meet, and my new relationship, I just didn’t have time to stay in school and complete assignments. One more failure when I dropped out.
And yes, I was in a relationship with the last girl I cheated with. I thought I was in love. I thought I wanted to marry her. And so a year and a half after we began dating, I proposed. However, she told me in advance that if I didn’t propose in a way that made all her friends jealous, and the ring wasn’t at least a full carat diamond, she would say no. So I bought a one carat diamond solitaire. I wrote a song in which I would propose to her while I sang it. I flew to where she was going to school, took her to the most beautiful gardens in the most beautiful park got down on one knee, sang my song, and she said yes. I had plans to move where she was going to school. I couldn’t get a transfer at work, and she was highly disappointed. But we continued our long distance relationship, while unbeknownst to her, I was sleeping with any girl I found attractive behind her back while she was away at school. We eventually split up, not because she caught me, but because the distance just got to be too much. I failed again by not being able to transfer.
During all this time, I bounced from dead end job to dead end job, sometimes being laid off, and sometimes being fired. But I never stayed in a job for very long. More failure on my part.
Fast forward to October 2012, when I went on what I hoped would be my last first date. I met what I thought was a wonderful, beautiful woman for drinks, and we had a great time. We ended up dating, but silly me, I just couldn’t shake that cheating bug. My girlfriend and I split up in March of 2013 due to my inability to stay faithful. A couple months later, I was able to convince her to take me back. On Christmas Eve of 2013, we found out that we had conceived a child together. We were not trying, and so it was a surprise. In February 2014 I asked my girlfriend to marry me. She said yes. In June of 2014 we were married on the beach in a beautiful ceremony, and I still remember how beautiful my wife looked that day walking down the beach toward me at 7 months pregnant. In August 2014 we had a boy. Everyone was happy and healthy.
But that silly little cheating bug came back. I can honestly admit that I never once physically cheated on her once we were married, but I sent sexually explicit text messages to women outside of our marriage. In February 2018, she caught me for the last time. I had failed again. I tried desperately to save our marriage despite being told things like “I don’t consider us married anymore, just roommates” and “we will never be intimate again” by her. I had made a terrible mistake and couldn’t look myself in the mirror. In early March I had had enough failure. I had to meet a client at work and after meeting that client I decided it was over. I sat down with my weapon in hand and was ready. Something caused me to envision what would happen, and my vision was so real that it startled me back to reality. I called my father who sent me to the emergency room, who then sent me to the mental health facility for 5 days. I won’t even go into the state of that place.
I began seeing a mental health counselor who called me childish and selfish and a liar and that was so f*****g stupid (and yes, that is word for word). Some counselor. My wife and I had our last face to face argument in mid April. We separated and are now facing divorce. Another failure on my part.
I am seeing a different mental health counselor who is MUCH more uplifting. I have a career that I love working for an amazing company. I have two boys who are my entire world. They are the reason I am still alive today. The divorce is going nasty, with me asking for equal time with my three year old, and my wife ADAMANTLY refusing to agree to it. My attorney is fighting for me however, and so I am cautiously optimistic. My wife lied and perjured herself to obtain a domestic violence restraining order against me, even though she’s the one that hit me, and so I can’t even contact my son by phone. As of June 20th, I have seen my son 15 days since April 16th. And her most recent false allegation is that I have sexually abused my son. I can now currently, until DCF and our local Sheriff’s office wrap their investigations, not see or contact my son at all. All because she is attempting to gain full custody. But through all this, I am taking my meds. I am exercising. I speak with my therapist, and I reach out to friends when I need help. I have failed a lot in my life. I have let many people down. Life is hard, but I am choosing to face it every day. My boys need me to teach them how to be better men than I have been. I am choosing to not end my story.
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