A Darker Path: Part 1 – Beginnings

I have mentally debated the pros and cons of blogging about my darkest episode in life, and right now, I am questioning why i had to debate it. Recently, very recently, I have become aware of a number of others within my circle of friends, and friends of friends, who are going through, have gone through, their own dark patch. Then, as the final nail, an actor, whom I admire, demonstrates his dedication to friends who lost their fight. Jared Padalecki and his Anti-Depression Campaign was the final kick for me.

So here I am, about to write a blog about my personal battle with depression. What I have come to learn over the years is that most of us battle with it at some point in time, and if you haven’t personally struggled with it, you will likely know someone who is, or has. You may not even know it. For many years, it was not discussed, which made those that suffered often feel as they were alone in their pits. The reality is, depression is as much a part of the human condition as happiness, aggression, love, hate, obsession… Sometimes it can become a sickness.

I have always been concerned about sounding like an attention seeker when talking about my own battle with depression, and have only opened to a small few with whom I have felt safe. Over time, the few have grown to a few more, but still only a small number of people. Now I am here blogging to who knows how many, and I am a little scared.

Simple Times: Me and a friendI was born a country kid. Small mining town. Small kindergarten. Close knit families, and everyone pretty much knew each other. I have a snap-shot like memory of a deep red-sky sunset, and others like riding my Green-Machine down the streets warning everyone that the “Morons are coming!” whenever I saw men in suits with thick books in their hands.

Apparently, the Mormons stopped coming around after I started my announcements.

Other memories include Cyclones, above ground pools, massive Monitor Lizards climbing up the fly-wire on the back door, and the red dust of North Western Australia. Then, all too soon, we moved down to the big city.

1976Perth was by no means a big city, but to my 4 year old eyes, it was massive. I had never seen anything like it. So many people. My kindergarten class went from a handful to to over 30. I was overwhelmed, and I didn’t adjust very well. I socially retreated becoming shy, uncertain, and unapproachable. I was the new comer. The outcast country boy, who had a few things about pecking orders he needed to learn, and where he fit on it; the bottom.

I can’t recall if I was more socially adept before moving to Perth and the change in lifestyle affected me, or if I had always been a little backward. Probably the latter. I was always a little more sensitive then others.

This social order stigma was something that would follow me through to Primary school, and was compounded by the increasing size of the students. We all need to feel good about ourselves, and often kids, and even adults, achieve this by finding someone else they see as being worse off, or weaker, and making sure they, and everyone around them knows it. I was that weaker kid. The quiet, shy, perhaps snobbish kid, with the slightly British accent, who seemed to have a cold all the time.

Oh yeah, that was another thread to the tale. After moving down to Perth, I appeared to develop rather nasty hay-fever, and I was perpetually sneezing, blowing my nose, suffering from itchy eyes, and so forth. Not helped by the fact, that resolved itself many years later, that I was allergic to a specific strain of grass that dominated the area I lived in.

First visit to Kings ParkI look back on photos of me back then, and I often say to myself, “I look almost like an albino, without actually being one.” Bright blonde hair, very pale skin. I looked very Scandinavian, even thought I come from Cornish and German descendants…  I must have been an odd sight in sunny Australia, especially during a period where suntanned and athletic bodies were the stereotypical norm. I was just too different.

At this point, I realise that I have quite a bit to write about. More than I can fit in to one sitting. So I am going to break this into parts. To be honest, I don’t know how many parts there will be because I have been thinking and recalling so many little things that I have hitherto not paid much concern to.


8 thoughts on “A Darker Path: Part 1 – Beginnings

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  1. Jeff, thank you so very much for sharing this. I know that many people will be helped by your sharing. You are very brave and I am sure you will find release and relief just by sharing it. Well done. I look forward to following instalments and I think it is really great that you are able to reflect on your life, make sense of it and find healing. Good on ya!

    1. Thank you Gael. While I hesitate to call it brave, I acknowledge that many people do, and have called it brave, and I appreciate the sentiment. In this case, the bravery is just fermentation. 🙂

  2. Strength to you, my brother. I was a little bit older than you when my mum separated from my alcoholic father and took us kids back to Perth from Northam but dear gods this is sounding familiar.

    1. I believe that many will find connections with my tale. It is not unique, and as you say, it is very familiar. Thanks Leeece. 😉

  3. Also, I always *really wanted* one of those Green Machines. I guess, in a way I eventually got one, with my recumbent trike!

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