It isn’t hard to spot a clinically depressed person if one has been there. There is a certain hollow look around the eyes from countless sleepless nights. If the eyes are the windows to the soul then Jon Gosselin is a very sad and empty man. I can just hear everyone now, “Oh,come on! What does he have to be depressed about the guy is making millions off his kids”! Well, what if this is not the way he thought his life would turn out. What if he has tried for the last five years to convince himself that he could handle the spotlight. That he could try and rewire his basic shy personality into an extroverted male version of Kate? Trust me when I tell you this. Although he is living in one of the brightest media spotlights since Britney Spears shaved her head there is no sun in the black hole of depression. As a matter of fact, Jon and Britney may share a cave now and then and not even know it because it is just too damn dark down there.
I’ve been a cave dweller myself from time to time and I sure am glad I am a nobody. When a person is deep in a clinical depression and they run out of milk it is a crisis of major proportions. How can you get milk if you haven’t showered in three days and can’t remember when you last put gas in the car? The thought occurs that if you run into someone you know you may have to try and string more than three words together at a time. That is almost impossible to do because the brain of a depressed person is consumed with a constant barrage of negative thoughts and commentary on oneself and ones life. To manage small talk in a brightly lit store is almost physically painful.
Jon Gosselin seems to speak in a very monotone voice when he does speak. Usually there are only a few words spoken here and there. Could he have been self medicating with alcohol to try and calm the anxiety at the onset of this depression? This may very well be and it is common to seek relief. It is also common to try and surround yourself with people that are not in your inner circle at first because you need people to talk to that won’t judge. There will be no speculation on my part about a possible infidelity. Whether it happened or not is a symptom of his depression and not the cause of it. This man was depressed long before the titilating news broke about a college cutie.
There was a time when I was a stay at home mom with three boys under the age of five. After three hours of sleep and a long day staring me in the face I had alot of mixed emotions. I was happy to be able to be home with them but I was dead on my feet. I would watch my husband back out of the driveway and secretly wish he would run over a nail so he couldn’t go to work. We only had one car which added to my isolation. At least I could put the kids into a carriage and walk around the block with them without having people hanging out of trees trying to take pictures of us. How many times has Jon watched Kate go out the door to hop on a plane to hit a big fun city and get polished and pampered for her adoring fans. I do not hold any judgement for Kate whatsoever because what she does is working for her. She clearly loves the attention and thrives on it. She is absolutely beautiful even though she did have a little help she is a natural beauty. What Jon needs from my point of view is one person to reach out to him in a very innocent way and offer some help. This help can come from very unexpected people. Perhaps from one of his own small adorable children.
Many years after the birth of my fourth child I experienced a second clinical depression. The first one kind of slithered in and slithered out on it’s own and I never did seek help at that time. I just remember looking back and thinking, “what was that??”. I almost left my husband at that time and everything. Thinking if I was so unhappy it must be his fault. Poor guy, didn’t know what hit him at the time. I do recall a few wet, urine soaked cloth diapers actually wrapping around his head. He knew what hit him that day! See, depression can be ugly not just for the depressed person but for what it does to their loved ones. Which brings me back to the second depression that I experienced. My youngest child was in the third grade. I can’t even tell you how long I had been in that depression. Long enough to lose twenty pounds on my 5’8″ frame and that brought me down to 125 pounds.
People later told me they thought I was dying of cancer. Weird since death was all I wished for at times. Anyway, one late afternoon I was lying in my bed with tears just leaking out the corners of my eyes and dripping into my neck and ears. That was so annoying and the tissues were across the room and just too far for me to travel. My daughter at the age of nine climbed into my bed and put her head on my shoulder and started to weep. I think I looked at her for the first time in weeks. Really looked at her. Her beautiful curly blonde hair and brimming blue eyes with long gorgeous lashes! I said, “honey, why are you crying”? She looked at me for a long time with the corners of her mouth tugging downward and lips trembling, finally said. ” I am afraid you are going to die mommy because you are too sad all the time”. It hit me right then and there. This is not normal sadness. People don’t think maybe kids would be better off boomeranging between two households and that life would be better that way. This little girl did what no adult could do for me. She got me out of my own head long enough to see a glimmer of light. I promised her that I would see a doctor for my sadness and maybe he could help me feel better. Then I promised her that I would not die because she needed me and so did her brothers and maybe her father too. I wasn’t totally sure about her father at that point because I pretty much put him through hell. Although, the diaper incident convinced him that we could afford the disposable diapers and that the cloth versions were probably too much work for me! Always a silver lining if you look hard enough.
So, my doctors visit was actually a bit shocking. It is truly amazing how fast you can get into a psychiatrists office when you tell the secretary that the grills on the Mack trucks would look real good up close. This new doctor was small in stature but big in diagnosing people correctly in ten minutes. For that ten minutes I answered questions, fidgeted, jiggled, bit my lips, held in my tears because I did not want to be crazy.Yet, I became totally unglued when he lowered the boom. “You my dear are not simply depressed, you actually have bi-polar disorder type 2”. If my brain was not working too swiftly up until then at that point it went into serious overdrive. “No, what?, what do you mean?, bi-what? I like men!!! After a brief description of the disorder and a promise that if the new medication did not make a difference after six weeks he would re-think the diagnosis. All I could do was stare at the floor. I kept staring at the floor thinking that I needed to get out of there. Finally, after alot of coaxing on his part to look him in the face, he asked me what I was afraid of. I told him I was afraid that I would take a chance and try this medication and if it didn’t work then there was no more hope. That the black hole I had been living in and dragging my loved ones into would be my permanent dwelling place. If that was the case I wanted him to dig a six foot hole and just throw me in and cover me with the dirt now! I will never forget his words to me. “Yvette, I promise I will help you”. There was enough of my reasoning mind working to know that a doctor has taken an oath to first do no harm to a patient. Lying to a patient that felt like I did would indeed harm me. So, I trusted him and got on a mood stabilizer.
In fewer than six weeks I found myself driving down the road and planning projects. That was my first small window of wellness. Over time the windows got a little wider and longer and more and more light came in. That was over twelve years ago. So, although I am not a doctor I can certainly recognise an empty shell of a person when I see one. Wha
t I hope for Jon Gosselin is that he gets help so that his children can have their daddy back. What I hope for Kate is that she can try to separate her emotions and look at Jon through the eyes of a trained medical professional. See him as just a person who is not himself and perhaps clinically depressed. Try to understand that if he is indeed battling a depression he is not going to snap out of it and fix the marriage until he fixes himself. He is staring down at the floor while the whole world watches and most likely he feels like he is a big fat nothing. Jon, when you are ready to look up again there will be tons of us waiting to say, “welcome back”. If you decide you want to get off the reality merry-go-round alot of people will have your back. There are no do overs in life but sometimes there are second chances and there is still time for you to grab the brass ring.