This is the first in a series of blogs that will address how I have dealt with meeting woman and then possibly dating. As can be seen on my website, I was diagnosed with depression in March of 2003.  A few days later, I had a mental breakdown. I would spend months in bed and years self confined to the house.

Needles to say, the idea let alone the possibility of dating wasn’t in my head.

But ones life does unfold.  I was offered a position with the Canadian Mental Health Association in the summer of 2011. I hadn’t worked in 8 years so it was certainly a daunting time.

CMHA holds an annual fundraiser, Women and Wellness. It is a women only event with a guest speaker and silent auction.  I made it a point that I would be allowed to attend.  My first year, I was asked to invite Jessie Close to speak. Jess and Snitz , her service dog, were kind enough to accept. I spent a wonderful few days with them. We laughed and cried as we shared stories of our journeys through mental illness.

Now, back to the topic….but we needed the back story!

Through the Women and Wellness evening, I noticed a woman.  This was a first since 2003.  I even met her.  Meagan was very sweet and we chatted a bit.  That was the extent of it.

Skipping ahead one year, to the following Women and Wellness event. My role that night was to greet everyone as they entered the venue.

Almost the last person to walk in was Meagan.  I welcomed her and we talked briefly.  The silent auction was busy.  When it was time for the guest speaker to start,  Meagan and I happened to be together. She said lets get seats to see the speaker.  Off we went!

I sat beside this woman who I had met a year ago, who I was fortunate to meet again, who asked me to join her for the guest speaker. I said nothing to her. I was completely lost for words.  There was a time, I could talk to a woman. I had dated, a lot, perhaps too much.  Here I sat, as if I was 17 again! A small success, maybe, but being able to talk to a woman again was a great personal triumph.

I tried to find her since to no avail.

As I reflect and remember some of those depression filled years, I recall the common symptoms…

  • Insomnia for days and weeks, barely sleeping an hour a night. But practicing law at a high level all day.
  • Cutting short relationships, this need I had to hide from the world
  • Solo lunches
  • A complete lack of happiness in my life
  • Raw emotions, tears, hidden from everyone

But I think for me the greatest loss I endured during the darkness was the complete thought I had nothing to offer to others. I was empty of self confidence and self worth.

With this emptiness, it took every bit of strength and energy I had to walk into my law firm each day and work. Trying to perform to the expectation I had of myself and others had from my experience. Of course, I would pretend to be happy and collected.  Practicing law requires great confidence. Confidence I had to pretend I had.

I had to make a hundred decisions each day.

I had 50 phone calls to make by noon. As soon as one call was made, another was added to the list. In the time before emails and texting! I had to put more energy into “pretending” in my voice.

I was left with no strength for my personal life which unravelled slowly but deeply, never to be retrieved in some instances.

Life has challenges.  It’s how we handle them that makes a better life or not.  It’s sad, but all too real, to know that some people can not find that better life. The illness is too strong. The symptoms are real. I can recall them now knowing full-well what was happening to me… what was happening to my mind. But at the time, I was stuck in an envelop, stuck, not knowing where I was or how to get out.

With a mental illness, it takes time, treatment, and family support. As with any illness. That is the only way to attempt to find the better life. With help I found where I was and I figured out how to get out.

I am a fortunate one.


There are still moments when my mind goes to that darkest of places.

Years ago, in the midst of depression, with what I perceived as my world crumbling, I thought of simply stepping out of life. I had this tow rope in my garage. I would take it and stand on the deck off the top level of my house. The mental pain so intense. The angst burning holes in my mind.  I would hold the rope and plan the end.  But I had this fear. I had no fear of dying… My fear was that the deck wouldn’t support my hanging off of it, and I would simply hit the ground and break a leg.  My effort to step out would be wasted.  But of course, the deck would have held a small car dangling from it.  Depression and logical thinking don’t always align.

Another concern which held me back, and kept me alive, was that I couldn’t put my family in such a moment of grief.

But these concerns were evaporating and that leap was an ever present thought.

Then my mental breakdown occurred. Though it put me in bed for months, it saved my life. I then knew I had depression and I thought that with work I could get healthy and live a better life.

Though some darkness surfaces at times, today I am happy and healthy.