The High Achieving Depressive

The High Achieving Depressive.

Sidney was 27 years old and had been having recurrent memories of sexual abuse that he had tried in the past to repress. These incidents started at 6 years of age with an older neighbourhood boy, and went on for seven to eight years. He could recall the mutual fondling, masturbation and other sexual goings-on. He took these encounters to be fun and exciting, and although he could not recall exactly what took place, he admitted that they were frequent, and at times almost daily. His consistent retort was “it is pointless to remember these things. I don’t feel a thing about it. If you ask me whether it was a painful thing to talk about it, I don’t think so. I think I am disgusted! It’s a horrible thing. I mean after you have reached a certain age, you think, ‘What was I doing then?’ And also at that point in time, dad wasn’t around most of the time.”

The first indication that something was not quite right, was when his neighbour’s mother chanced upon their activities, and chased Sidney out of the house. But the liaison did not end there. When Sidney was 14, watching his father’s pornographic tapes, brought on a realisation that the sexual norm was between a male and a female. A period of confusion followed before he brought a halt to his jaunts with his neighbour, by which time he had been addicted to porn.

Struggling with guilt and his sexual orientation, Sidney went into a depression while at the university. However, he had a group of supportive friends around him who saw him through perhaps one of the most difficult patches of his life. He eventually became a Christian and that was when I first met him. Evelyn, his lady friend, whom he was dating while working as a banker, complained that he often treated her more like an object rather than a person, and he was not at all sensitive to her feelings and wishes. This is not untypical of men addicted to pornography. Once in a while, when he was under undue stress, Sidney secluded himself, refusing to take her calls and not permitting her to visit him. It eventually surfaced that he would be in depression on these occasions, and would be on medication, without her knowledge. This hide-and-seek was typical of Sidney as he bottled-up his emotions with a façade of ‘don’t pry, all is well with me.’ No one knew much about his past nor how he felt about various issues, as he had built a high wall around himself.

His perennial struggles were around his absent father and sexual orientation. His deep need for acceptance drove him unremittingly as a high achiever; becoming not only one of the top students in his cohort at university, but also as a premier young banker in the highly competitive private banking industry. Thankfully, he had a faithful mentor in his supervising professor when he was on the Dean’s List, and he continued to follow-up with Sidney, as he began his career in banking. There was much psychological unpacking for Sidney to do as we worked through the issues and his present relationships.

It was a privilege to see Evelyn and Sidney tie the knot a few years later.