I’m Kevin Phelan, this may not ring a bell with most people, to others I was known by my pseudonym ‘Bubbles’. A very apt name for someone who fights this curse called depression on a daily basis.
This persona “Bubbles” has hidden the real me. The smile, the greetings, the jokes, the laughs, the comradeship all hid what I was truly feeling inside. I hid my reality so well, even from myself, and it was really only until I met my Wife Martina that I began to realise I was suffering from depression. If I wanted to realise our love I knew I would have to address this illness.
Recently I attended a friends 40th in Killarney and it was there when shooting the breeze with old war tails that I realised that even when I was in my 20’s I had suffered with depression, the only difference being, back then, I was better at hiding it and I suppose not being mature or able enough to recognise that it was an issue.
I used alcohol as a release, I drank on days off from work, as if that mattered, working or not, I drank . I was never an alcoholic but I DID turn to drink to find peace and to solace. I was a ‘happy’ drunk but I was ,and I am ashamed to say this, a drunk who fought. I have more than likely upset a lot of people in my younger days and I feel remorse and pain when I take time to reflect.
The release I got from alcohol and all that went with it, was short-lived and I always had massive lows after drinking. The guilt would kick in, feeling guilty about how I treated people, how I treated my employer and how I treated girlfriends and good friends during this time. I never truly went out to hurt people it just happened in the course of the drinking session or night out. I am extremely ashamed of this period of my life but I have had to park it, which I have, learn from it and move forward, to a future.
MY DARKEST TIMES
You could set your watch to November every year and be sure that I was going to change jobs. As soon as the dark evenings start to slowly eat away the daylight my mood got lower and lower. I would spend daylight hours in bed and under the cover of darkness my time would be spent in the pubs or if all else failed I drank at home. I always worked – barman, salesman, technician, truck driver to name a few, but once November rolled around I was changing, mostly due to my treatment of others during my darkest hours.
It was a time of uncertainty and it was a time of darkness in my life. I never had the urge to commit suicide, I never had the urge to harm myself but I always had the urge to lock myself away and not deal with my issues of darkness and loneliness. Eventually it all came to a head, I couldn’t go on like this anymore, on awaking one morning I knew I had a serious issues and needed them addressed.
TIME TO ADDRESS MY ‘DARK FOE’
I made an appointment with my GP , I was 28 years old and I knew I had to get help to defeat this ‘dark monster’. I was referred for counselling. It was here I discovered my insecurities and reasons for my depression. You see, I come from a broken home and not had a dad in my life until my mum met my stepdad , who became a real positive influence in my life. I don’t know how the brain and heart works but all I know is it affected me. My father did have access to us and we did spend time with him at weekends but it was not a positive experience or a happy experience. And throughout my life my relationship with him and his family has been strained and troubled. It’s a combination of my insecurities and his lack of drive to be a dad.
WE MEET IT HEAD ON AS A FAMILY
It was during this time that I met my wife and I knew in order to win her affection I needed to be strong physically and most importantly mentally.
It is a daily ongoing battle but one that we meet head on as a family. I now have been blessed with two boys, Charley 8 years old and Sam 5 years. They have given me another reason to get the better of this illness and to fight for them. I don’t think I will ever be truly rid of my “dark foe” but with the love patience and support of my family I can fight it. My life has always been a roller coaster and I have never hid away from any challenge. I’m not going to start now.
As I compose this blog I am sitting in my doctors waiting room, again…. waiting to see my doctor in order to get my prescription updated and continue my fight.
So the next time you see me and the next time you meet and greet me, don’t treat me any different, don’t cross the road, don’t change direction, meet me and ask me how are you? I am still “Bubbles” I am still Kevin and I am a fighter.
I WILL BEAT THIS
I will beat this, I will cause I want to. Yes; I will have my down days and yes there will be difficult situations which I will have to overcome but I will do this through reflection and understanding of my depression. And move on from it and learn from it.
To see the mistakes of our present always look to the past for our solutions. Thanks for understanding and thanks for reading this post.
Neil Kelders you are an inspiration to guys like me and your strength helps us fight on another day. Thank you Neil