The Secret I Have Been Holding Onto For Years 

a secret  i have been holding for years

For many years I hid a secret not because I was ashamed, but because of the nature of my former career in the military. 

A career that spanned over two decades.  A majority of it during a time of war. A world where secrets were common, but used against you without a second thought. 

Where ones like mine could have instantly taken me out of a leadership position and seen me cast to the side by the powers that be.

I suffer from depression. There I said it. And honestly it feels good. Why? Because I don’t have to hide behind other names of masking full blown depression. 

See the military called it an adjustment disorder. And that is how they wrote it up in my medical records. By calling it an AD, I could continue to hold the positions I did. But if they had said full blown depression, not likely.

Now that’s not to say that there are not people serving in the military with depression because there is.  Just not a lot of people who would admit it. It is an Alpha Male and Female culture.  It closely resembles a wolf pack and if they sense fear, they will feed on that.  So up until two years ago I hid it.  I finally realized I had an issue when I couldn’t remember things.  When I would subconsciously block out significant events and not remember a single detail.  Not one. 

So I went and saw a great doctor while living in Schweinfurt, Germany and he was a great help.  He wanted to diagnose me has clinically depressed.  But I talked him out of it.  I still had at least two years before I was due to retire and was afraid of what the military might do. 

Through our time together he diagnosed that I became depressed through the the loss of some friends and coworkers in the latter part of my career. Some of them died due to the war and another during a training event. I began to beat myself up about other things and not having the will and drive to get promoted further in the military ranks.  I basically let everything snowball into something that was uncontrollable and to hard to stop it. 

I wrote before here that I didn’t believe in myself and it was true.  I was very pessimistic during this time and I lashed out at everyone. But when I made the decision to retire it was more out of desperation rather than an actual plan. 

I told my wife that if I stayed in the Army I would die.  I honestly felt that in my heart. I didn’t know how, but I felt an ominous ending.  What saved me was that decision to leave and my last official job I was given. 

I was in charge of a company of soldiers and it was the best decision ever.  Those soldiers energized me.  They brought me to work every day happy (though I didn’t let them know that) and ready to help them in any way I could. 

They will probably tell you I talked them to death, but I felt alive when they came to me for help and guidance.  I would pour out everything I learned throughout my career and gave the best advice possible.  I stayed on top of them to get them to do their best. And through all of that effort, this blog was born.

In September of 2014, my time as a leader of these wonderful soldiers was coming to an end.  So I created this blog.  This blog has helped me in ways I can’t describe. Because when I am writing about problems that I hear all of you talking about, it is really therapy for me. 

It has put me on the path to strive for greatness.  I am not the same person I was pre-2013. It has helped me to suppress the demons of depression and I know what my triggers are.  I keep a journal and am thankful every day for my family and friends who truly stood by me when they had no idea what was going on inside of me.

My name is Antonio Vereen.  I suffer from depression, but don’t count me out.  I have a lot more work to do and I will beat this. 

-alv

 

54 thoughts on “The Secret I Have Been Holding Onto For Years 

  1. My best friend was a Marine he has depression, they discharged him from the military. He does admit that he wish he would’ve never said anything because he didn’t get a chance to see how his life would’ve gone being in the military. I think that’s such a huge secret to keep but it’s true all of us keep it for different reason. For me it was because I wanted to protect my parents, I thought them knowing I’m depressed would somehow hurt them. It does take a lot to share that secret. I think it’s brave that you’re sharing this secret on your blog. Your story can inspire other people. I’m glad you started this blog because your post defintely inspire me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Jazmine. It is good that your friend said something. It would have been worse if he stayed in. It took a lot to write this post but I knew that there was many people out there who could identify with it. 🙂

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  2. Antonio- I’m so glad that you started your blog and allow yourself to be vulnerable with us. I would also like to say THANK YOU so much for your service. Truly. Our service men and women don’t get nearly enough credit for what you do. I bet it feels so good to finally admit that you are depressed. The first step is to admit it- and then you can work from there. From what it seems like , you have dealt with it so far in very healthy ways; blogging and journaling. I have faith it you, and I’ve enjoyed reading your blog this year. Keep writing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Chels. I probably won’t make anymore friends in the military, but I really needed to write that post. Thank you so much for the kind and encouraging words and for all the support. 🙂

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  3. Wow, thank you for sharing. As someone married to someone in the military and I suffer from depression. I feel as if I can relate. Keep writing and keep doing things to improve yourself. Depression is probably one of the scariest diseases out there because it’s not shared often enough such as ADHD and others. Hold your head high. .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jessica, thank you for reading and commenting. Thank your husband for his continued service.

      It is a scary disease because everyone takes it for granted. I know, I did. But the first step is admitting it and tackling it head on!

      My head is high and my shoulders are back. I am going to beat this, Jessica. 🙂

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  4. Wow, what an honest post. Thank you for your service + for sharing your journey with us! It’s wonderful that you’re tackling this head on + seem to be so positive along the way. I wish you the best of luck, I look forward to seeing all of the wonderful things you’re bound to do! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This was so brave of you to share. I know it’s not easy. I was diagnosed with depression October 2014. There were many days where doing simple things was too much for me. I spent many weekends sitting in my room, mindlessly watching movies on my iPad, sleeping for hours. I knew something was wrong. I’m in therapy now and working towards better mental health.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kimberly. I have been wanting to talk about this for a while but was afraid how it would be received. No more. I can’t live my life like that and then write to other people about changing theirs.

      I am glad you are in therapy and if you ever need someone to talk to please reach out. Thanks for commenting, Kimberly. 🙂

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  6. Thank you for sharing your story. Your vulnerability and openness is inspiring and can be a beacon for so many others. I’ve also struggled with depression due to grief & loss, & life experiences. It’s a hard thing. Therapy and mindfulness meditation have really helped me a lot in the past five years.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Good for you! I especially like the admission at the end. Depression is so common and yet people tend to swish it aside like something dirty. I have PPD and I still don’t really share it to people. It’s hard and not something to easily overcome. Thanks for sharing your story and showing people it is more normal than they think!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for telling your truth. I believe those who have experienced and survived the darkness of depression have the most hope to offer others. I’m also grateful for all those who stood by you and stand by you still. Where would be we without this sort of compassion?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You are brave and wonderful. And your writing is always so honest and real. Please don’t stop writing, ever! I’ve battled depression on and off for years now and it does not make you weak, acknowledging it and finding the strength to cope with it instead of giving up makes you STRONG 💛

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you for your strength and honesty in sharing this with others. I’m so glad you found the courage to speak about depression openly. You are an inspiration of compassion to help live the dream!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You are so honest and raw and I hug you for that. I wrote about depression for my blog and HuffPo after Robin Williams died. These writings must be done to spread awareness, remove the stigma and hug one another.

    Keep writing! I live with Multiple Sclerosis. Adversity put me on a path to help others. Together you and I are meant to write, write, write!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What a beautiful and brave post. I think you will help a lot of people by sharing your story. Thank you for helping to raise awareness — and also for your service.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Antonio, You’re not alone, although it feels that way with depression. How brave to state who you are, although besides being depressed, looks like you also have some great qualities. We’re all a mixture of the strong and vulnerable. Half the battle is knowing ourselves. Wonderful post.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I too suffer from depression. I often thing I am lucky. Not because of my mental illness of course…but because of my life style which allows me to write about and talk about my depression openly. I don’t have a boss who would lose trust in my. I don’t have a family who I might alienate. I don’t count on a convoluted system for my health care. The list goes on. The only battle I have to fight is my personal problem. That is not true for everyone. Your military setting is a perfect example of how you had to both fight and hide your depression at once. Now we just need our society to evolve so that mental illness is illness first and mental second.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anna, incompletely agree with you. It is tough dealing with it in society. Now that I am out of the military I have found better ways to deal with it and have been successful. Writing about it had been a huge aid in the battle with it. 🙂

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  15. Antonio, you have begun your road to helping yourself, with the admittance of your depression.

    Please, please please continue to seek help, working with others to help them and with you wife family, and friends you are a success.

    Please do not waiver in your focus and determination, because you will succeed as you are already a success. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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