David’s Story - Part Six: “Two and a half years after separating, I felt myself sinking.”
Separating from his wife was just the beginning of a much longer process. There was more work to do in coming to terms with being gay. Going to meetings of the Gay and Married Men’s Association (GAMMA) helped.
About two and a half years after separating I felt myself sinking. I was becoming really quite depressed, having very dark thoughts – a box of Panadol was looking quite attractive. I was finding it hard to get to work and it took me some time to work out what was going on. It came after two years of just surviving, using all my energy just to survive. I was trying to stay connected to my wife and kids, supporting my mother and extended family and dealing with all their reactions to all that had happened.
For them it was an enormous grief because they loved my wife and it devastated my family as they saw everything change. But I realized after that period of just surviving that what was actually happening was that I was beginning to grieve. That’s what was actually happening. I had a desire to just give up, everything was too hard. Then I realized, “Well, OK, I know what’s happening, I’m grieving.” So for quite some months I sat with the sadness of all of the loss, and the tragedy of having lived under this particular script, having experienced all those negative messages about being gay. I grieved about my marriage and separation, and about the massive energy and effort it took to find myself and come out. I began to grieve, and it was quite a long process.
I needed to go inward and I just didn’t have the energy for much else. I tried to function and it became hard at work because there were issues happening there, and I didn’t handle that as well as I could have. At the end of that year I decided to resign and leave my job, and that was a really difficult and painful process. GAMMA was important then, I became involved in that. It gave me energy and a network of friends. I met beautiful men there, and I could share with them what was happening for me. It was a place where I could talk and that’s important. It helped lift me out of depression, and I’ve remained out of it.