November 3, 2010

Getting Started

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — Marc Peters @ 8:19 am

“I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life, as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” -Booker T. Washington

When I was a junior in high school, I suffered a severe depressive episode (my diagnosed one) Entering my junior year of high school I was gearing up to be the student body president. I was in mostly advanced placement classes. I had set up an internship with USA Today. I was on the fast track to a good college. I was on the fast track to a good job.  I was SET. Then my world crashed down around me. I stopped seeing the meaning in life. I felt an emptiness that I still can’t fully articulate.

I went from the honor roll to rolled up in the fetal position on my couch begging my parents not to make me go to school. I went from living life to the fullest to threatening to end it all. That was the first time I ever articulated my suicidal ideation. It wasn’t a cry for attention, but I was thankful for the attention that I did get. My parents and their friends basically watched over me. They ensured that I did not take any drastic action. I laid there crying, miserable, unable to move. Eventually with the help of caring teachers, my principal, family, friends and medical professionals, I got back on my feet. But my goals went from a 4.0 to making it through class without leaving in tears. I had a free pass to the guidance office…THANK GOODNESS. And my teachers knew just to excuse me, but I went from being a prized student to feeling like I should get a medal just for showing up.

I assumed the severe depressive episode would be the biggest mental health ordeal I would have to endure. That was until my severe psychotic break in college and the recovery. Once again my goals shifted from “successful” college student to showing up. I worked myself back to a productive state, but I never set any long-range goals for myself. I cast about without meaning. I floundered. I threw myself into the “here and now” with a reckless abandon that betrayed any sense of long-term vision or plan. There is nothing wrong with passion due the moment, but it was misdirected. I lied to myself. I said that I had written off five-year plans because my psychotic break had shaken me to my core. Really I was really just terrified to admit that I had lost any sense of a higher purpose. I had no calling. I had no cause greater than myself. I passed up opportunity after opportunity out of fear.

Eventually I got better. Eventually I healed. But it took time. My point is: It’s hard to see the summit when you are standing at the base of another mountain, but by setting manageable goals and getting used to achieving things again, you can at least start the climb. Bit by little bit, we get there. Bit by little bit we make progress, until that day when we look back down on where we were, amazed at all we’ve accomplished. It’s not about how long the journey is…it’s about starting it.

Thanks for reading,


PS. Connect with me on Facebook to read all my previous mental health blogs.



  1. Marc, well done! You and Linea have much in common. I was particularly interested in how your educators supported you. As a special education professor and researcher I am curious if you think that you would have received the supports you did if you had not had involved parents who advocated for you? Thank you so much for sharing! Cinda

    Comment by Cinda Johnson — November 3, 2010 @ 10:14 am

  2. Marc, this is another great blog post 🙂 You’re a great inspiration.

    Comment by stephieblanco — November 3, 2010 @ 7:48 pm

  3. I have depression.

    I read the stories people share about their mental illness and though I recognize portions of these stories I fail to fully relate to them. When pressing upon myself to understand why this is, I came to the conclusion that I am just not “there” yet. These stories seemingly are coming from people a little further ahead of me on the proverbial “path to wellness” and in my depression I just do not see what they see.

    For me when I experience a statement like “. . . an emptiness I still can’t fully articulate” I definitely recognize the emptiness and sense the despair in such a statement, but I don’t really recognize it in myself. Logically I certainly know it is there. Objectively it is obvious to me. Emotionally however there is a disconnect between who I am and what I feel. There is a subjective lack of understanding within myself that I currently am struggling to reconcile. I am pressed by a misplaced need to pretend “it isn’t that bad”. But, it really is. It is tremendously painful and lonely and exhausting and draining, it is horrible; however, right now, it is all I know. I have acclimated to a small world that is continuously strangled into a lower and lower quality of life. Taking a shower is a chore. Leaving the house is a monumental task because taking a shower is a chore. Doing things with friends and family is boarder line paralyzing because leaving the house is a monumental task because taking a shower is a chore. . .

    Or, at least that is how it was a few weeks ago (it mostly still is and was as such for a very long time). I am in the most fledgling stages of treatment and though I feel good about being here, I am incredibly frustrated and I cannot yet figure out what I am doing or how this is going to work. However, there is definitely the feeling of hope. I think the core reason for the lack in my ability to relate is because I don’t have a recovery story yet. And, though I am a little lost, others have been too, so I will trip along and stumble my way around until I can walk this path to wellness. Thank you for sharing, it helps.

    Comment by Erica — November 5, 2010 @ 6:22 am

    • Sorry that it took so long to approve your comment Erica! I’ve been away from my computer for a couple of days. I really appreciate your commenting and I have every confidence that you’ll have your own recovery story to share someday. We have been where you are and we know where you are going. Take pride in the little things, whether it is a shower or going out for ice cream. There were days that were so dark, I could barely move. When I finally ventured out to my car, I’d be afraid to drive because I knew my focus was gone. When I did drive and get somewhere, I’d be afraid to interact with people. It does get better though. Stay on that path!

      Comment by Marc Peters — November 7, 2010 @ 12:28 am

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