Category Archives: The Unwarranted Bachelor

Childhood Depression

Originally published in “The Unwarranted Bachelor” in 2016.


My childhood was divided between two cultures. The one my immigrant family belonged to and, Canadian, the one that surrounded me. From this stemmed many problems for me, more than I can or dare to remember.

Starting kindergarten with a limited understanding of the English language was one of them.

I’m not sure if this was the root of my constant bullying, but I do remember one bully in particular using this against me. You can imagine, the kid told the teacher, “He did it on purpose.” I didn’t know the meaning of “on purpose” at age six, and I got in trouble for accidentally stepping on the kid’s untied shoe laces.

Eventually my temper reached the boiling point. I snapped at the bullies and, again, I was the one at fault. I’m noting saying I wasn’t to blame, but the older bullies were so well versed in their tactics that they knew how to manipulate the teachers.

By the time I reached grade five I was known as the kid with issues. I always had limited number of friends, and among them an even smaller amount of true friends.

Surrounded by bullies and loneliness seems to sum up most of my childhood and early adulthood.

The catch-22 of adolescent depression: get bullied for being different; lonely for having no friends; trying to stand up for self; get bullied for your reaction. And the cycle goes on.

Eventually I learnt how to deal with them and my depression, but no thanks to the education system. They did try but failed. The bullies always seemed to get away with it.

As an adult I still suffer from depression and loneliness. This I will never deny. There are times I still can’t think straight and I react negatively. Thanks to my fallen and sinful human nature.

How did I find my escape as a teenager? God the Father and Christ the Son. Faith in the Triune God helped me get through it. I stumble most when I lose focus on Him.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12, ESV).

When I find myself in my darkest hours I need to turn back to the Light. It’s not always easy when you find yourself alone in the world, but Jesus is here to help and guide to back to the Way (John 14:6).

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Light Beyond the Darkness

Originally published in “The Unwarranted Bachelor” in 2016.


Darkness creeps in and no one sees it. Why should they? They’ve all turned a blind eye to us. Depression is not real they try to convince us. Not real? Now I know you are a cold-blooded reptile, one who can neither sympathize nor empathize with others.

We all react to our (and that of others) depression differently. And the world reacts in response to it in just as many different ways. This I can tell from experience. During various eras of my life I’ve experienced and responded to the darkness in different ways.

As a child I went through phases of sulking in the corning and exploding at others, sometimes verbally and other times physically. (I’m not giving any excuse for my behaviour, just stating facts.) My actions did hurt others and drove away many so-called friends. At the same time their rejection of me and misunderstanding of depression did hurt me.

Sulking in the corner or withdrawing deep into oneself is a sign of low self-esteem or simply shyness. But children and adults like these tend to be number one targets on bullies’ attack list. In turn, a bully tends to dominate due to their low self-esteem with the explicit need to feel better by causing pain to others.

When darkness is given a seat in our minds it’s never satisfied. Depression wants to rule our lives and beyond. Shedding this lie is not easy, and for most people it is impossible to do on their own. During my early adult years I had friends who helped my through two episodes. For this I thank God.

My advice to anyone who is suffering through any mental illness or as a loved one who is experiencing such darkness is this: friends, family, love, understanding.

The times we desperately feel like being alone are the times we desperately need a friend in our lives. I’m not saying we need to be surrounded my people twenty-four seven but we do need people who won’t always push us aside.

With friends in our lives we need love as well. This love is from God and works through others and also in us. This love can change our depression into joy. Like the song says, “Joy comes with the morning.” This morning is the light at the end of the tunnel of depression.

I want everyone who is depressed to know there is hope for you. May God bless you even in times when you don’t feel His presence.


Bouts of Depression

Originally posted in “The Unwarranted Bachelor” in 2016.


Depression is one of those topics no one really wants to talk about. Many people go as far as to claim the psychological condition isn’t real, people only use it as an excuse or a crutch.

Most, if not all, people in the West go through moments of being depressed. These are times of sadness or regret. People need down time to recuperate from whatever is going in their lives.

How is this different from depression? Medically speaking, I can’t say for certain. I’m not an expert by any means. But from experience I can say a lot. Depressed moments require moments rest and rejuvenation. Depression needs a lot more than that.

As you know, I have suffered from depression most of my life (childhood and adulthood). It runs in my family. Some friends have speculated it may run in my people and culture. To be honest I believe depression is a result of the Western Civilization’s materialistic greed. (That’s a topic for another day.)

Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain, just ask any good family doctor. While meds can help in some cases, they don’t help in all. All some people need is understanding friends and family. For me it was a combination of both: meds and friends.

(Please remember: these are my thoughts and experiences on depression. Please refer to your doctor for advice.)

How can one tell if a friend is going through depression or is merely depressed? The best sign is their level of rational. How logical or illogical is their rambling? My closest friends can tell you that I have been illogical many times. I talked about people hating me, ending my life, the world is better without me… In essence I felt sorry for myself and that was all i could think about.

People who are suffering with depression speak as if the world revolves around them and only them. Whereas people who feel depressed have a moment of sadness without making things all about them.

Everyone has a different trigger. The bouts of depression I feel last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. I thank God, my Heavenly Father, that I don’t suffer too long any more. In the past my depression would last from a few weeks to a few months. In high school years had gone by and no one seemed to care I was suffering.

What were or are my triggers? In primary and secondary school my depression was linked to the amount of bullying I received from peers, older students and teachers. In adulthood it was the fact I was alone, and it hurts when everyone around me was in a relationship. I wasn’t happy or pleased with my lot in life back then. What about now?

Yesterday I felt depressed over what I’d call stupidity. Being alone in a world that puts too much emphasis on relationship was the catalyst. The cause was my desire to experience true, loving relationship.

While depression is a thing of my past, I will never say that I have totally triumphed over it. In fact, it is only by the grace of God that I can detect a wave of depression and true it into a moment of feeling depressed.

My journey in and through depression as been long and difficult, but it isn’t over yet. I pray that my experiences can help others overcome it or aid them in helping their loved ones.

 


Temperaments

This post was first published back in 2016 in my other blog site “The Unwarranted Bachelor”, under the title “Life-Long Temperaments”. This has been edited and renamed for “Writings of Seb”.


Life goes on. Mistakes are made. God forgives.

With my recent move and my struggle finding employment my past mistakes are floating up to the surface of my memory. Some are fresh, within the past year, while many are nearly two decades old.

Most of these mistakes are temperament related. As a child I had a bad temper, which has  morphed into new forms of reactions for the years, but in essence it hasn’t really disappeared entirely.

My entire life I’ve struggled with a negative temperament.

As an adult, I fear my past has finally caught-up with me.

For each one of us, whether Christian or not, there is always at least one thing (a pet peeve) that irritates us the most. How do we react when other folks act in a manner we don’t appreciate? Or if they speak in an unwholesome way?

The truth behind this is we are not “our brother’s keeper” when it comes to the general public, our co-workers, or anyone else who is our equal. The fact is there is someone else who is in charge of them.

I’m not speaking about ignoring accountability with our fellow humans, that’s an entire different story. What I am speak about is changing them. We cannot correct everyone. We need to choose our battles. This is where I’ve struggled with in the past and I find myself doing so more often than not.

Why do we tend to fight up hill battles? Why not fight those that are truly worth fighting?

We, as humans, have the innate need to be “right on everything”. This is true for the theologians, scientists and philosophers. Everyone has an opinions, and everyone has a temper.

My explosive temper is my “thorn in the flesh” (or personality). This doesn’t have to be true, but it has become a part of my mentality. How am I doing to try to mend this ingrained mindset?

The hard truth is: alone it is difficult to fix. “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26b, ESV). If this is what we believe, then why is change still not happening in our lives? I can’t answer for you, but I can answer for me. I’ve been separating my “Christian life” with the rest of my life. Why?

While this may be an infection within churches, this is no excuse for me.

(I guess this post is more of a confession than anything else.)

The reason why I keep finding myself in the pits of anger issues is a lack of relationship with God. What does God have to do with this? You may be asking yourself. In reality, God has everything to do with it, but not responsible for everything.

All the while, I’m striving for a positive temperament.

As a Bible believing Christian, my relationship with Jesus Christ should be first in my life. The lack of it, from my end, is I am not pursuing it as deliberately as I should be. Reading the Bible; praying to God; in essence communicating with the Most High is what I struggle with the most.

When I lived in Alberta, a good eight hour drive to my dearest friends, I tended to not regularly speak with them. We still had a relationship, but it wasn’t growing. My relationship with God fell into the same pattern.

If God feels far away, who moved? The answer is always I moved.

When I move away from God my old nature rears its ugly face. This has happened again and again, and I hope I have learnt from it by now.


God, my Heavenly Father,

You are Almighty, Creator of the universe. I am but part of Your creation. Forgive me, oh Lord, when I have acted contrary to this. Forgive my stubbornness, forgive my perfectionism, forgive me when I act like I know best. “Give me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence. Let my past misdeeds not affect my future forever. Give me a godly temperament, one that reflects You to those You’ve placed around me.

Amen.


My Pilgrim’s Progress (Thus Far)

One day I had a dream, and this is what I dreamt… I saw a small child named Boy, who had two older sisters, Orderly and Care-Free. He was walking along Tradition Drive with his family. The road intersected Intolerant Way. Here he met Snicker and Mockery, who were not minding their own business.

The two looked at Boy and his family. They ridiculed them for wore different clothing and for speaking a different language; for being not like Snicker and Mockery. Boy was injured in this confrontation and started to use a crutch called Bad-Temper. Along his journey Boy began to rely on Bad-Temper more frequently, and soon it became part of him.

Some time had passed, I saw Boy as a young man, perhaps just a youth. A handsome lad? Not really. Boy was walking along a different road that ran along side Tradition Drive, this one also intersected Intolerant Way, but Boy did not stop this time to speak with the travellers who journeyed there.

Just past the conjunction Boy came across an old leather-bound Book. Up ahead he saw the House of Direction, a candle in the night caught his attention. He knocked on the big wooden door and stepped back, waiting for an answer. He knocked again, stepped back again and waited. After the third knock The Director opened the door, peered out and said, “I have been waiting for you. Come in and sit.”

Boy entered the big house and sat on a hard, backless stood. “What is this place?”

“The House of Direction,” the old man said.

“Direction to where?”

The Director looked at Boy and pondered for a few minutes. He paced the room before he answered, “Come,” he walked to the window on the far side. “Look,” he pointed to a Hill with three crosses. Beyond the Hill was another house, this one shone in the night and in the day.

Boy stood up to get a better view. Before he joined the Director at the window he looked back at the stool. On the stool was one engraved word, “LINGER”. He looked at the soft chair next to the stool; it read “RELATIVITY”. The last seat was a comfortable sofa chair. It had a lever on the side to recline the back. This one also had a word, and it read, “GO”.

“That is strange,” Boy remarked.

The Director explained, “Linger in tradition and you will become uncomfortable. If you become relative to the world’s standards you will become uneasy. But when you hear the Spirit say, “GO!”, will you heed His calling or fall asleep and remain?”

Boy thought on this and took the question with him for the remainder of his journey.

“If you do heed the calling you will find your way to the Hill with three crosses,” the Director continued. “There you must choose your crutch, Bad-Temper, or take up your cross, called His-Yoke, which is lighter and easy to carry.”

“Where do I go from there?” Boy asked the old man.

“To the House of Interpretation. There you will receive further instruction and training in order that you may reach the goal. There is only one road that leads from that house.”

Boy left the House of Direction and headed for the Hill. The Valley of the Shadow of Death surrounded the Hill with three crosses. Boy hesitated when he reached its edge. “I must go through,” he told himself. “I must.”

“Seriously?” Mockery was sitting on the bench called ‘My Way’.

“I was directed to go this way,” Boy explained.

“Not a chance, Boy. Do you not see everything you will leave behind? Too much will be asked of you.” Mockery laughed. It was not a joyous laugh, but a wicked one with the hint of deceit.

“I must go, for Bad-Temper shall no longer be my crutch. I must.”

As Boy spoke with Mockery a Dove of brilliant white light swooped over them and landed on Bad-Temper. Boy looked at the Dove and felt his crutch tremble in fear. The Dove looked at Boy and beckoned him to continue down into the Valley.

“I will never leave you nor forsake you!” Boy heard the words in his heart.

With newfound courage Boy walked down into the Valley of the Shadow of Death. He walked through fire; he walked through rain; he walked through darkness. The Dove lifted up and shone the way for Boy to travel.

At the Hill with the three crosses Boy become tired. Bad-Temper was becoming too burdensome to carry on anymore. With his other hand Boy held the Book close to his chest. The Dove alighted on the middle Cross. As stained with blood as it was, this Cross was the only one that caught Boy’s attention.

Boy fell on his face at the foot of the Cross and prayed for the promise of an easy burden. Bad-Temper fell away from his hand and a cross fell around Boy’s neck, like a necklace.

“Welcome, my child,” a Voice said from above the Cross. “Take My yoke. Go now, and heed My calling.” On the other side of the Hill new light shone through the Valley. The Dove led the way again. This road was called ‘His Way’.

His Way seemed more difficult to travel, but His-Yoke and the Dove helped along the way. Here Boy met Regret and Turn-Back. The two travellers followed Boy until he got to the House of Interpretation.

As Boy entered the house his two companions waited outside, knocking on the windows, calling out, “Let us in! Let us in!”

The Interpreter showed Boy many wonders, gleaned from teachings of the Book. Boy left behind his family long ago, and remained in this House to learn. One day he would join his family along His Way, or they him. There are times when every man, woman and child has to travel the road alone. The Dove will always remain to urge them forward, the Cross calling them hither and His Voice calling them thither.


My personal spiritual journey is a complicated one. I grew up in a Christian home, attended church, my parents read the Bible, prayed with us, and they encouraged my sisters and me to do the same. But that is where it seems to end, right at the beginning.

If I had to use metaphorical names for people and situations in my life, from how I went from my parents’ faith to claiming my faith as my own to how am today, in the style of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress the above is how I would tell my story.

This was originally for a class assignment for an English literature elective course in fall of 2016.


Several weeks ago I posted this story in The Unwarranted Bachelor as part of my journey in and out of depression. I posted it here as well as part of the collection of my creative writing.


Negatives – Positives