As I drove into the driveway I knew something was amiss. The lawn had not been mown. A tree lay on its side, broken in half and blocking half the side yard. Dead shrubs, overgrown bushes, an unswept walkway and porch, and mold growing on the wood siding told me that maintaining the house had grown beyond my friend's control.
As I entered the house and the dog greeted me, I noted that all the doors to the living areas were closed. I entered the kitchen and saw dark spots splattered on the floor. The dog was in heat and my friend had not bothered to clean up the evidence. Dust lay thick on the kitchen counters. Wallpaper that the dog had torn of the walls lay in strips; Christmas decorations were still evident in July. As my friend answered the phone, I walked onto the deck. The chairs were dirty, the hot tub was empty, and an awning was ripped and faded.
I was reminded of Miss Havinsham's rotting wedding banquet. The jilted bride was unable to move on in her life. My dear friend, I realized, was as depressed as this character. He had 'disappeared' a few months ago. His emails had stopped suddenly, and all I could get out of him was that he was busy.
Single, divorced, a caretaker of his aged father, worried about the fluctuating stock market, getting his oldest child ready for college, and struggling to maintain his lifestyle while living in a house much too large for him, I finally saw with my own eyes how far life's events had spun out of his control. Seeing his house made me realize how far into depression he'd sunk.
I have a few occasional days like that. At times life seems overwhelming and all I want to do is sleep. In a blink of an eye my house will start to reflect my state of mind, with dishes lingering in the sink, my bed remaining unmade, and my grass growing too tall. Sometimes it is a struggle to remain happy and sane, especially when funds are tight and the old house needs lots of TLC. In addition, I loved being married. I loved coming home to my mate and sharing my day with him.These days my house is eerily silent.
So, yeah, at times I can relate to my male friend. Seeing his house made me feel strangely better. I'd been hurt because I hadn't heard from him in a while. When I saw his house I knew he meant what he said: he was busy, busy, busy. Knowing him, he'll snap out of this stage soon. At least, I hope so. All I can do is be there for him and support him whenever he needs me, and to keep a careful eye on him.
Links About Depression and Divorce
Men more prone to depression after divorce
After Divorce, Men Are Twice More Likely to Experience Depression
Overcoming Depression After Divorce