Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Men's Words of Wisdom: A Memoir About Resurfacing from Depression

My greatest joy within the Men's Wisdom Works network remains the deep and intimate friendships our members share with each other.  One such friendship within my treasure trove of MWW friends remains Bill Petz.  Bill was one of our 10 founding MWW members.  He adds value to the lives of so many people with his quiet, calm, and deep perspective on life.  Bill lives with Parkinson's, but that hardly impedes his forward and thoughtful view of life.  On a deep and personal level Bill understands the need for men to connect in order to experience the healing and bonding power we find within our men's groups.

Recently, Bill lent me a signed copy of one of his books.  Interestingly, the author's sister, Betsy Finger, was key to our founding a men's group similar to MWW at a retirement community in Asheville in 2012.  We renamed that group "Givens Guy's Group" to reflect the name of their home, Givens Estates.

Bill Finger's book, The Crane Dance: Taking Flight in Midlife, published last year, sheds light on Bill's life experiences in helping him accept and overcome his depression.  A depression that's been his life companion.

I read for pleasure, yet this book defied my reading habit.  Chronicling his life as a preacher's son from the Deep South, Mr. Finger harnessed every ounce of my attention as he tells of his lifetime struggle with depression from its origin to his embracing his condition.  Embracing his depression led to his recovery.  In many ways I found Bill's methods for working to harness his depression mirroring my own path to feeling whole and balanced.

Bill's work with men's groups predates my own by a couple of decades, Men's group work became the cornerstone for our individual growth.  Bill and I know other men, as may you, living with the dark monster of depression. More than likely, those men may have need to carry a toolbox filled with options, similar to our own.  Mr. Finger and I value the many productive years of therapy that led to acceptance culminating in self confidence and inner strength. 

Medication aided us to open our blinders to change our emotional darkness to the light of hope.  We share the gift of self expression to face our demons.  Only then can we find our basis of joy, that like depression, has always been deep within our being.

Bill employs dance, ritual, poetry, teaching, learning, family love, and internal patience to find that sweet spot within himself.  I substituted Bill Finger's creative outlets of dance, poetry and ritual with my forays into acting, stand-up comedy (brief and foreboding as that was), and storytelling.  Point being, either way we understand the importance of self expression as an important step toward recovery.

To that point, I shared a sense of liberation after reading a story in the news today, April 17th.  Prince Harry disclosed his 20 year battle with depression following the death of his mother, Princess Diana.  Indeed, self acceptance and self revelation serve as conduits to recovery for many a man, even men of royal privilege.  Revealing your true self fosters liberation from the dark shadows of depression.  Most people will accept your truth and may see you in a more respectful light.  If someone doesn't it may be time to reassess that relationship.

Folks, if you, or a man you know or love suffers from depression help him find his internal toolbox to aid in his recovery.  "The Crane Dance" by Bill Finger, should serve as a special resource within his toolkit as a man tries to tame that  consuming monster, depression.  It certainly helped me.  If you'd like to buy this wonderful book about living with depression through the lens of a man: Click Here.

Personally, I offer my deep and abiding thanks to both Bill's.  Mr. Petz and Mr. Finger.  I honor your inspiring work.

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