My home is not far from the centerline of the localizer for an ILS approach of an airport just to the south of my home. I sometimes will sit on my patio and watch aircraft as they are on approach for landing. As I watch I wonder to myself if I will ever be back in the sky instead of watching from my home.
While I ponder to myself about returning to flying I often question myself as to why I would go on antidepressants knowing that I could not renew my medical. I did this knowing it would end my career. Why on earth would a person do such a thing? Did I do the right thing? How was I supposed to support my family?
I worked with my doctors in recent weeks to go off of the medications. My wife said she could tell a difference in my mood. I also could tell that I did have this feeling of something that just seemed dark inside to me. I had this same feeling before the medications even when I was doing what I loved. It is hard to describe what I felt. Depression is something that can take control of someone in a way that is difficult to explain. It is more than a feeling of deepened sadness that a person will feel when having something tragic happen. Depression is more of a feeling of deep dark despair. Depression is a feeling of hopelessness.
As I look at life now I often wonder if I can ever feel total happiness. I question how I could feel this way. I have a great wife. I did have a job that most people could only dream of doing. Yet, here I am with feelings of inadequacy. I remember back before the medications as I would fly having doubts as to my capabilities as a pilot. When I would go to the simulator for training I did not look at things as if I were in control of things. I was always relieved when my training was finished. I was afraid of doing what I loved.
Now I am working with the doctors to get my medications back to the right dosage. I look now at the false hope I was giving myself by thinking I could actually go off of the medications. I should be able to look at things and be totally happy even if I am not flying. Happiness should not be based on what a person does for a living. I sometimes actually realize that I was using flying as my medication. Yes, flying did give me some positive feelings, but it could never create true happiness in my life.
OK, so why did I go on the medications knowing I would not be allowed to fly? I guess because I had to be honest. I could no longer lie to myself. I knew that the darkness within me was caused by something. But now that something has a name. And that name is depression. I would love to return to the sky. But I also long to no longer feel the darkness.
So, is it worth not flying? I will put it to you this way. If I never fly again I will probably always miss doing what I love. However, when the meds are working, I never miss the darkness.
Keep an eye on the sky.