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I Had To Write A Short Biography For My Therapist

The Purist

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I think this may be a tad self-indulgent but it's a sort of interesting read and I packed a lot of information into a small space....I think.


My name is Rob.  I was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  I came to the United States when I was 6.  I don't remember much about where I was born.  I remember the thunder when it was not raining, bombs, and the constant real rain.  Brick row houses, my little sister and brother.  Playing football in the street.  Very fragmentary.

My family settled in Northern New Jersey.  I had a typical, dysfunctional, middle class upbringing.  I was made fun of mercilessly in grammar school because of my accent.  I was born in place where violence was unremarkable and endemic and the same was true of where I grew up. I was taught by my father to never trust anyone, if anybody is going to hurt you in this life it's going to be someone you know.  And, this gem, know your friends well because someday they may be your enemy.  He meant well.  He is a product of years of the inner city police and living through the troubles.  He was also an alcoholic.

I had pretty much lost my accent by the time I was 14. Although there still a lot of British-isms in my lexicon. High School sucked.  I started to lose my hair when I was an early 15.  I was lucky in that I was a tough kid so nobody teased me.  Even with no teasing it was a brutal blow.  My self confidence really went down hill.  Started smoking garden shrub, never was a drinker which is surprising considering my heritage.  It was around this time that I started to suffer from depression.

I graduated High School in 1986.  I did well, lettered in Baseball, was an editor of my High School Newspaper and excelled on my SATS. Two months after graduation, I enlisted in the Army.  I wanted to serve the country that harbored my family.  I was an Infantryman (11B) I was stationed in various places in West Germany.  I was a good soldier, I loved the Army and it was a time in my life that I was happy.  The Army was good to me.  They put me through Army Language School to learn Russian and they paid for college when I was discharged.

College was okay.  I didn't live there so it was a different experience.  I had to work through college, who didn't?  I did well, I graduated Summa, my degree was History/Secondary Education.

June 1995.  That is when it started to go downhill.  I'd always been depressed, in school, but this was new.  Low self worth, hypochondria, bad thoughts, barely functioning.  I could not get a teaching job so in desperation I took as many Civil Service tests as could find.  I scored in the 99% for the New Jersey State Police and was in the front for the selection process because of Veterans Preference.  After passing all the medical, physicals etc.  I enlisted in the State Police - Class 116.  I lasted 4 weeks.  I told them I wanted to resign, that I had given it my best shot and it just was not for me.  Being able to pass the training is not the same as doing the, job.  I didn't want the job.  End of story.

Complete Breakdown Followed.

Bad, almost catatonic ally depressed.  Stopped drinking, stopped eating, slept like 16 hours a day.  It went on for a month, I had not shaved in 6 weeks.  Or changed my clothes in 3 weeks.  They came for me with an ambulance, my parents got them.  I did not protest.  I took a shower, shaved, put on nice clothes and went into the ambulance.  I spent around 2 months inpatient and then I was discharged with the diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Minor Obsessive Compulsive.  Medicines, therapy etc.  

After that, I took odd jobs, worked in a bookstore, fixed computers, worked at my friends funeral home as a Pallbearer.  While I was recovering it was good work.  Low key, not a lot of stress.  Finished graduate school.  Those were good years.

In 1998 I got a real IT job working for Andersen Consulting/Accenture then followed the IT career path until 2004 when I was Director of Network Operations at Hertz with 5 direct reports.  My time at Hertz was very tempestuous and stressful.  I think that at that point I started to not handle stress well.  I was a terrible manager, shouting and pounding on the table at meetings.  I had to go to sensitivity training.

In December of 2004 I tried to **** myself. after a long depression  I spent 6 weeks in 2 different hospitals.  I came out with a new attitude.  I felt really great, the hospitalization helped me. Hertz and I agreed on a, "Mutual Separation."  At that point,  I decided to pursue my dream of being a teacher.

I substitute taught for a semester and then was hired by a town to teach 9th Grade Social Studies.  My first year was difficult, second year was better, third and fourth were okay.  But I suffered a complete breakdown near the end of my fifth year of teaching.  It was not job or situational related.  I slipped into a major depression and never got out of it.  I suddenly could not handle stress anymore, and teaching is a VERY stressful occupation.  Sadly my inability in handle stress was the cause of me having to leave my teaching job.  It was around this time that I started taking…..heavier medication.  

I found a job in New York City and when to work for a Physicians Practice as  Field Engineer. I started to slip further into a massive depression but managed to keep the job for 5 1/2 years.  In October, 2011, I married by longtime girlfriend and moved to New York City.  Around this time I started talking the medicines I am on.

I slide further and further down hill from 2012 to 2015 until I went on a medical leave in 4/14/2014 for severe depression and suicidal ideation.  I was discharged into an Intensive Outpatient Program.  From there I went back to work but resigned after 3 weeks for various reasons.  First of which I was still very sick and, secondly, I was embarrassed.

I landed another job right away teaching at an NYC Middle School.  I was happy for a few days but started to get more and more depressed to the point that was suicidal.  Neglecting my ADLS, not eating, not drinking.  It was so bad that I dehydrated and fainted.  Then I tried to **** myself again.  This time I went a little too far.  I ended up the the hospital for around 4 weeks.  That was close to a year ago.

So, since then I have been seeing a therapist twice a week.  I go to support group meetings.  I used to go to those twice a week but became unsure as to whether it is beneficial or not.  I have not worked in over a year.  It is not as bad as it sounds; I am on my wife’s insurance and I have money.  I thought about SSI but I was never sure if I wanted to do that.  I see my Psychiatrist once a month, for completion I take 450mg of Wellbutrin, 400mg of Lamictal, 40mg of Celexa and 6mg of Ativan.  

I stay busy at home.  I get out for lunch with friends etc.  For spending money I give English lessons and Guitar lessons.  It’s not so bad but I feel like crud because I have been out of work so long.  My my depression really zaps my motivation and I really…..just don’t know what I want to do.  The thought to teaching terrifies me and I am washed up in the Information Technology field.  I have and bachelors and a masters and the latter, which I worked so hard for, is just a piece of paper at this point.  Some days are good, some are days.  I wish I had more friends but when I moved to New York I lost touch with a lot of people.  My wife’s friends are very good to me though.  I have a good support system in my wife, family etc.  So right now I am where I am.

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Thank you for sharing this with us. I'm sorry that you've struggled for so long but I'm also glad that you are here to tell us your story. :hugs: Depression is such an ugly beast, anyone who deals with it is much stronger than they give themselves credit for. Be kind to yourself.

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