In response to the above "Bob's blog" post of September 14, 2011, Anonymous posted the following Comment:
Intrigued by the Comment, Bob replied with the following Comment of his own:
Thanks you for your Comment, "Poor Susie...," in response to my WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2011 blog post entitled: "At Long Last, A Few Stills from 'The Photographic Proof' of my first Night at the Mezzo Disco, on July 16, 2011, And Why I Don't Think This Proves 'Bob's Lost It'."
I am, however, puzzled by exactly what you mean. I can guess that you may mean that a married man should not be out dancing with young women without his wife present. Or you may mean that I should be home watching TV or playing cards with Susie rather than being out dancing.
Or you may mean that it's undignified to be out dancing like this. There are many things you may be thinking of, but without more explanation of your Comment, one can only speculate about what exactly you were thinking of when you wrote your rather cryptic Comment.
As you and others think about your Comment, I would ask you to consider the following facts:
Until last fall, most people thought I lived a rather conventional work and married life. For 35 years, from 1975 until this April, I worked very hard as a trial lawyer. I supported my family financially, I earned the money to put three children through excellent colleges, I saved for daughter Robin's higher education and for grandson Liam's education. Before that, from the age of 8 until I began practicing law at 25, I always held a remunerative job of some sort. I was never unemployed, even in public school, college, and law school.
Then, last fall, I became unable to function at work. I thought I had lost my ability to think, as a lawyer, a member of my church men's bible study group, and could barely read anything. I had fallen into a very deep, very dark, very frightening depression. For three months, starting early September, 2010, I mainly lay around on the couch in my family room and thought about ways I could kill myself. I wished I had a terminal disease, so at least I could tell people that something was very wrong with me, but not under my conscious control. If I had had a hand-gun, I am certain I would have gone out into my back yard, put the barrel in my mouth, pulled the trigger, after some initial resistance from the healthy part of my soul, and blown my brains out, all over the retention basin behind our house. I didn't want to do this in our house, as Susie is such a clean and neat person and our home is always spotless for us and our guests.
Fortunately, with the help of an excellent psycho-therapist, Ray Oakes of Talbott Square in Essex, CT, and a medical psychiatrist, Dr. Allan Jacobs of West Hartford, I was able to do the very difficult work of taking stock of my life and beginning the process of making some subtle, but substantial, changes to my work life, my married life, and my overall life.
I weaned myself from all anti-depressant medication by early July, 3011. The changes I made in my marriage, my work (by retiring fully on March 31, 2011), and my life began to pay big dividends.
I started waking up every morning feeling good rather than ashamed about what I was doing in private. Before my depression, I tried to conceal part of my life from my wife and the other people in my world. In recovery, I have been as open and honest with Susie, my family, and my friends, as before I was fundamentally dishonest in important ways.
As for the dancing, I have always invited Susie to go with me, even if just to sit and watch. She is not interested, and many of you, maybe most, can understand why. I am not interested in taking anybody home with me I dance with, I am not interested in getting divorced or leaving Susie and finding another person to share my life with.
Susie does not, actually, object to the dancing. She does want, and hope, that I can moderate my behavior when Susie and I are with each other. I tend to want to try out new "comedic material" with strangers, and this makes her uncomfortable. I am working on toning myself down when I am with Susie, even as I am enjoying my new-found internal freedom to engage people in the world with a newly-discovered capacity to see the humor in the pain of life
and to dance and do things I formerly only dreamed of trying to do.
It is uncomfortable, I know, for some people to learn the details of my suicidal depression, for others to confront the changes I am making to my underlying personality.
I used to "need" Susie, the way a boy needs his mother. Now, I love Susie and want to be with her, and no one else, for the rest of my allotted days on Earth. I hope she continues to feel the same, but if she doesn't, if she feels on any day that Bob is too uncomfortable to be with, and that becomes a sustained feeling, I've told her life is short, act on it. I hope she does not reach that point, because if she does, I will be devastated, but I believe I will survive. I believe the same about her.
And now, Anonymous, I wonder exactly what message you were sending when you wrote in your Comment, "Poor Susie..."? Was Susie better off last fall, when I wanted to kill myself, no joking, or is she better of now, when she knows what I'm actually doing, and what it seems to take for me to make myself.....happy."
Thank you for your attention and consideration,
All best wishes,