I’ve written a lot about the form of depression in which men look outside themselves to find the cause for an inner pain that simply can’t be faced. They may feel anger, rage, a longing to act out fantasies, or a compulsion to blame and abuse those closest to them. That side of depression is the most aggressive and obviously damaging to relationships of all kinds. In my experience, it is not the only phase of severe depression that can cause a man to leave his partner, whether that departure is a literal one or an emotional withdrawal that can be just as destructive.
In looking back at what I’ve been through, I realize that I’ve lived at various times in four different mind/feeling states over decades of chronic depression. In the past, I have behaved differently as I felt in turn each one. Each in its own way has threatened relationships of all kinds, most vitally with my family but also with colleagues at work and with many friends. Thinking of these separately is more helpful to me than listing them as differing signs of one condition. They may well be that, but describing them this way has spurred me to recognize more quickly what I am starting to feel and do, and so take action to reverse what is happening. Read the rest»