Dealing with Depression

A married man in his early fifties came to see me with strong symptoms of depression. He was struggling to accomplish his daily responsibilities, was sleeping poorly, was irritable with his wife and no longer met with his friends for weekly golf. He had begun to drink nearly a bottle of wine each night. He had taken an antidepressant prescribed by his family physician, but stopped after three months because he felt it had not helped.

While he was successful in business and raising a family, he had been raised in a chaotic and unloving family. His father and mother had been alcoholics who regularly raged at each other and relied on him to care for his younger brothers. He had, somehow, seen to his brother’s care, did well in school, both academically and athletically, graduated college, served the nation in Vietnam. It was only in his late forties that he became increasingly discouraged and disillusioned about life.

He talked, for the first time, about his feelings toward his parents, and his love for and resentment of his siblings. He discovered how his early life experiences led him to volunteer for duty in Vietnam and revealed, for the first time, the horrors he experienced during battle. He “re-connected” to the love his wife had shown him over the years and began to, again, devote time to loving her. He stopped drinking except for special occasions and began to exercise and play golf again. He felt that he accomplished his goals at this point and ended his therapy.