It is extremely difficult and risky to reveal any kind of mental disorder, even in my day and anytime.

by | Aug 8, 2011

Following is an excerpt from my book, Reconciliation, A Son’s Story.
“Before moving on with the story, it is healthy to again acknowledge my “big secret.”  I decided when not getting the job at General Telephone in 1965 and the reason of “emotional instability” on my Navy record would never ever come up in any discussion.  My story would center on getting a “hardship discharge” due to severe family issues at home.  It was far too risky at the time to share this kind of perceived damaging information with anybody anytime, even those close to me.  I felt that my entire life and career, including earnings potential would be compromised if this got out.  Consequently, I learned how to compartmentalize the diagnosis, put it away for good, and pretend there was never any mental problem on my part.  On the surface, this worked as long as my ego was fed appropriately and adequately with my life moving along at a rapid rate, including an abundance of positive, ego building stimuli.  As a leader, even observing and experiencing the success of others working for or with me provided the same ego building fuel.  I thrived in a team environment working around professional people with lots of intensity and a drive to succeed.  The down times, although not often, considering work, school, falling in love, etc., were difficult.  Sleep was hard to come by, relaxing was difficult, and there was always a throbbing sort of uncomfortable feeling in my chest.  It was always there, and never went away until later in life.   Moderate use of alcohol was helpful, and occasional marijuana use was cool as well.  My priorities of work and school were so strong that I needed to be in control of everything all the time.”

About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
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