Meet Mark: Part I

I answered a call from a gentleman who introduced himself as Mark. He spoke softly and deliberately about his depression. We made an appointment for the next day in the late afternoon. Mark worked at a shop from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. We met the following day at 5 p.m.

Mark came alone and on time. He had time to go home, have a snack, shower and change into casual clothing. We shook hands and went to my office. I asked Mark what was going on in his life to label himself depressed. “I’m just upset all the time. I’m irritable, angry and occasionally just get quiet.” I asked Mark how long this had been going on. “Well, for the better part of a year.” I wanted to know what set his admitted expression in motion, however, I wanted to explore the here and now. How his daily functioning is effected. I asked Mark about family, work and socialization for a start to assess his current problem.

“Well, I’m married. Lucy and I have been married 18 years. I’m 43 and she’s 42. We were high-school sweethearts. None of that sports stuff you hear about. We were in ski club and enjoyed skiing together at local slopes. We helped each other improve our skiing. We talked in the lodge and hit it off. Both of us had good grades in school. Lucy went into nursing school and she now works as a registered nurse. I went to Alfred State college for a two year program in the construction trades. I’m an electrician and work maintenance for a local shop. I like my job. We have two sons, Mark Jr. who is 16 and Travis who is 14. Both are high-school students. The boys are average students. They are good guys. We go hunting for deer together. Lucy stays home. She’s not into hunting. Of course she does like the venison. We take the boys skiing. Sometimes they invite friends to join us. We love it. Both Lucy and I were raised in the area. Our folks are alive and live nearby. We get together for meals. My dad hunts so he joins us once in a while. I have two married sisters. Lucy has two married brothers. We see each other as we’re able on birthdays and holidays. They live an hour away. We’re a fairly close family. All of us are in pretty good health. I did break my leg several years ago while skiing.”

“So Mark, have you ever been depressed with symptoms of irritability, anger and quiet before?”

“No, no really. I wanted Lucy to come with me. She got called into work and I didn’t want to reschedule.”

“If Lucy were here, Mark, do you think she’d affirm what you’ve shared today?”

“Oh yeah. I gotta admit, she’s the one who suggested I see someone. She doesn’t like it when I get quiet or ticked off. If you’re wondering about abuse, Marshall, I don’t abuse Lucy or my boys.”

“What about work, Mark? Do any of your symptoms show up there?”

Mark suddenly got quiet and looked down. Several minutes went by.

“What’s going on for you, Mark, at work? Are there problems? Are you in trouble?

“Yes, sort of. Can we make another appointment so Lucy can come? She’s aware of what’s going on. I’d prefer that. Is that okay, Marshall?”

We made another appointment to accommodate three schedules: Mark’s, Lucy’s and mine. There’s always lots of unanswered questions.

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

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