I am and have been living two lives for a long time. They are seemingly incompatible.
Life number one is that of a middle-aged successful professional who’s happily married, has a house, two cars, two dogs and a cat. I have friends, albeit at a distance. I’m becoming closer to one that’s local – someone I didn’t expect to become a close friend with, but she’s a good influence on my life and is a good objective third party. I don’t have to put on the act for her. I can be myself. I don’t have any interest in her other than a platonic friendship, and the same goes for her. I don’t consider myself to be close to anyone at work, but given the amount of travel, that’s not entirely surprising. Most of my interaction with colleagues is via email and brief telephone calls. I’m outwardly friendly, happy, and have an honest can-do attitude. I’m customer focused and work internally to ensure that clients are taken care of while still maintaining the financial goals of the company that employs me. I’m well-known within the company, well-respected and well-trusted as a problem solver an innovator. My wife and I have decided to have a child or adopt, depending on what’s medically possible 18 years past vasectomy. There’s a good chance we’ll be able to have a biological child where I’m the father via sperm extraction. I’m excited at this prospect, though I’m getting about a 15-20 year late start to the process.
Life number two is that of a married man who struggles to get through each day because of severe and unrelenting depression. Not a waking minute goes by that I don’t think of finding the nearest sharp object and going for my carotid arteries. I’m heavily medicated with psychotropic medications and go between insomnia and hypersomnia. Most days I get through the workday and am exhausted by the end of it. I go to my hotel room, or go home and go to bed shortly thereafter. Most of my existence is in my own head as I don’t trouble others with my internal struggles. Logically, ending my life has passed from being an illogical idea to a logical conclusion to a life spent fighting and losing that fight.This life is one of exhaustion. This life is one wanting a way out with causing as little damage to those closest to me.
So.. Where does that leave me? I’m living both lives. As I write this, I hope for some terminal illness – that’d be easiest for all involved. But, I’m also planning on having a child. I know I can endure the depression and all that goes with it for at least the next 20 years. Well indefinitely, really. I’ve been on the other side of suicide. I loved her so much; the one that committed suicide, I mean. I know what that pain is. I know what that aftermath is. I know the endless days and nights of asking why. I can’t possibly do that to someone else, so this is a life sentence.. A life sentence of suffering. That’s not fair to me. Exiting early, that’s a life sentence for my wife, our future child and the few that care about me. So, regardless, I stay. I live that second life in the shadows. In silence aside from here. What am I to do? I don’t know.. Endure, I guess. That’s my only real choice, isn’t it?