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The Poem of Lost Words

12-5-2015

The moment disappeared before the words reached their vanishing destiny

on paper.

on flesh.

Anywhere,

but in my own head.

Yet, I wait for The Great Inspiration, the possession of mind and body,

that never comes

and I think,

Perhaps, I am in the wrong place;

another lifetime where all opportunity has passed and dreams have turned to ashes,

where the gods are laughing and spilling wine from their goblets.

Am I dead?

I pray it isn’t true.

I pray that my words have not died with my irresponsible youth,

a lifetime romantically and tragically wasted

when all the stories and poetry were told to glassy eyed strangers in the shadows

where we cried from the desperation of it all.

Words burned meaning into empty souls, where nothing but the dried roots of a lost childhood were all we ever had in common.

How juvenile.

And petty.

To mourn that one.

I am not here

in this place

to pine away for lost dreams

nor to capture the fragments of all that was abandoned to the winds.

I am here to unveil myself and discover God.

I am here to become nothing.

 

Gambling with God

$700 later at nearly two in the morning, I stepped into the ladies room to have a chat with God. I knew He was awake and had been watching me for the past six or eight hours as I fed the money hungry machine paper after paper of my last pay check. I imagined Him in his living room looking up from a book into His world of humans spotting me wrapped in cigarette smoke, sitting on the grimy black pleather swivel chair in front of the screaming lights and carnival sounds of my whore machine, drinking diet coke. I imagined Him raising His holy eyebrows at my stupidity and complete lack of self-control without an ounce of pity. I had not talked to him the entire night. One does not simply banter with God in the casino while throwing every last penny away and drinking diet coke. What is there to say? I had not had a drop of alcohol in two weeks and I felt that impossible feat alone was worth something. Something to the tune of my pay check. It was my last paycheck because on my last night of work I got so drunk I can’t remember (again) what I did or said but apparently it was just special enough to get me *fired* in that way where no one actually had to say the words *you’re fired*, my NOT returning to work was just an assumption made by all. Of course I learned bits and pieces from unfortunate witnesses who tried to spare me some of the most grueling details.

It was a couple of days before Easter and my ex had taken our two younger children to visit his family while my oldest stayed with me. My oldest at the time was old enough to gamble and we bonded in this way on too many occasions. Usually just for fun but this time was different for me.

I needed to win. I wanted to win something that would make up for all the years of my sins. There isn’t enough money in the world for that but I wanted to walk away with something that would fill that aching dark hole in my heart that alcohol used to fill and because I was trying to get sober it was raw and throbbing. In the light of my sobriety the mess I created of my life was all too much to look at.

The lights and sounds hypnotized me into a state of the walking dead. I couldn’t look away if I had wanted to. I saw in those lights every promise I ever broke and every failure. My mind was replaying years of disappointment, shame and pain. I couldn’t turn it off. I was dumbly proud of myself for being in an establishment that served alcohol without even entertaining the thought of having a drink. I was stubbornly drinking my diet coke and feeling that my reward for staying sober a whole two weeks was right around the corner.

I only knew how to play one game. It was a stupid game featuring a pumped up blonde superhero. Him and I had become so close over the last year I would have felt like I was betraying him if I had tried to play another game.

But the jerk wasn’t letting me win.

I was losing in the biggest way ever. I had never gambled that much money before. I was small time. Sometimes I would win a few bucks here and there but mostly I just lost whatever amount I put in the machine. I did get *free* drinks for my time (and money) though. Admittedly I was developing a problem. It was a baby problem but this was the day it had a growth spurt.

I believed that my chance to win was directly related to my attitude and my attitude was becoming increasingly awful. I tried to trick the universe by smiling peacefully and confidently, sitting up straight and dignified while my insides were churning despicable sludge.

I hated my super hero game and his stupid yellow cape. Asshole. And God, where the hell was he when I need him? All of the super hero’s in my life were letting me down.

God knew I was struggling. I knew He knew.

Near closing time I had one last twenty. My funds were gone. But I had a feeling that this would all be worth it. I would be that person who put their last dollar in and win the jackpot. I couldn’t have spent an entire day and night in this place for nothing.

I went there to forget.

I went there for redemption.

I went there to prove something.

Twenty dollars in the slot for the times I said I would do something and didn’t.

One hundred for all the times I didn’t remember how I disappointed and hurt people I love.

I didn’t want to be drunk on Easter. I wanted to surprise everyone with a nice dinner and Easter presents.

My heart hurt. And I couldn’t fix it.

If dark could be a feeling, that’s what feeling washed over me.

I wasn’t any different.

I wasn’t any better.

But God would have mercy on me.

I knew He would.

In the bathroom I looked at my reflection.

Still the same.

Dark curly hair and brown eyes.

Sad brown eyes.

I didn’t look sober.

But then again, I didn’t look drunk.

I inhaled, holding my breath for brief seconds before I made my case with God.

It’s only $700 for the love of God. It’s not like I’m asking for the moon. I would have been happy with half of that.  If I could just take something home with me I wouldn’t have felt so desperate.

After I exhaled I paused before I promised God that if He let me win, I would NOT have a drink tonight. I would walk out of there like nothing ever happened and would never step foot into this House of Sin again.

I would walk out of there sober and wiser.

So much wiser.

“Please, God. I promise”.

I walked out of that bathroom with determination in my step and head held high.

I marched right back over to my monster of a pay check stealing machine and swiped away the *reserved* sign.

I wordlessly reminded God of our deal and put my last twenty into the slot.

Over the course of the next few minutes my heart sank lower. My throat ached from swallowing my tears.

The numbers weren’t kind.

Merciless.

Hateful.

I glared at the machine calling it names.

Fucking Bastard.

I walked right over to the bar and ordered four glasses of wine. It was last call. I stood at the bar and drank them like shots.

“I told you God”.

“See what you made me do? Now I’m drinking again and YOU could have prevented this!”

I was buzzed and angry. I wasn’t completely drunk but I was buzzed just enough to think it was a good idea to call my parents at three in the morning like it was a state of emergency.

Over the last 10 years or so especially, my family probably hated to get phone calls from me. They said that they never knew what news I had in store for them . I told my mom I needed a small loan. Just $700 to tide me over until I could get another job. I told her I lost all of my money. She knew I was making an effort to quit drinking. It was no secret in my family that I had a serious problem. It had nearly killed me on many occasions yet I ran back to it every time.

My poor mom didn’t know what to say. She sounded tired, worried and sad but she didn’t sound like she would go for it. I wasn’t trying to lie to her. I didn’t want to lie. Even in my buzzed state of mind I felt the shame. I wasn’t even buying it myself.  I asked to talk to my dad and he was kind and thoughtful like always. He heard me out. He asked how I lost the money and I told him the truth. I told him I lost it gambling. He told me no. No, he would not loan me money I had essentially thrown away. I understood. I didn’t argue. He knew I had been drinking. He told me to call a support person which I did after I got the phone with him. She knew I was drunk too. She wanted to know why I didn’t call until afterwards.

I didn’t have time.

It happened so fast.

Ask God why.

She told me to go to sleep and we would talk about it in the morning.

Something changed that night while I was sleeping.

I went to sleep crying for the way I break my own heart. I was disappointed but I wasn’t mad at myself like I usually would be. I saw myself as someone who needed help. I saw myself as someone who loved until it hurt but couldn’t love herself.

I don’t recall praying that night.

When I woke up I felt light.

I said goodbye to that stupid money.

The sun was shining.

I was going to be ok, I knew it.

While scrounging through my purse for change I found a mysterious twenty dollar bill. I had twenty dollars to buy Easter cards and maybe some candy. I rode my kids’ longboard to the thrift store and poured over cards. I sat on the floor of the store laughing hysterically.  I chose cards that featured mostly women and children from third world countries weaving baskets and holding bowls of fruit. There were no other cards that spoke of Easter. I gathered my cards and rode off to where my kid was working so I could show him the cards. He didn’t know what to say. He didn’t know how to feel for me. Here I was the day after I blew my last check at the casino and relapsed (again), standing there holding these cards and laughing hysterically and he knew how desperate I felt the night before. He wanted to be sad and said how sorry he was but I knew that somehow in all of that mess I had been given a gift. I assured him that I was ok. I was going to be ok. I don’t know how I knew but I knew.

At home I put together a nice dinner and made little baskets with treats. I wrote love notes on the cards and put those in the baskets too.

The next day I didn’t drink.

Nor the day after that.

It has been eight years and I still haven’t had a drink.

At the time I hadn’t realized that God might have been planning on giving me a gift that night despite myself.

 

Breath and Sage

I awake with a prayer. A quick breath of gratitude, because sometimes quick is all I have.

The familiar comfort of my couch beckons me, “come sit with me”, it seems to say, “here in the still dark of the morning”.

But I know where this will lead-this *couch sitting*.

I glide past to the room with the sage.

Before the circus in my mind begins its opening act, I throw down my yoga mat.

The sound of it hitting the wood floor scares the clowns away.

I burn sage, breathing in its sweet cleansing smoke.

A prayer and intention for this morning where everything is new and change awaits.

I move my body with breath and sage.

I am perfect here in the silence of my mind made still.

If only for a moment.

I see past everything into the smoke.

If only for this one second I exist only for my next breath.

It isn’t easy.

This *quieting*.

It is necessary.

Everything is just fine-NOT

Warning: written in *The Moment*; grammar and spelling errors, run on sentences and more heinous butcheries (profanity) to be expected.

9:00 am

“I’m just fine, thank you”, I say while dried tears stick to my eyes like glue.

My jaw is tense from the clenching required to sit through yet another cold morning while I battle with a will urging me to get up and get THE FUCK OUT of here.

“But I need to be here”, I tell myself with resolve.

Jobs to do, people to take care of, expectations to meet.

Promises I made to live more *wisely* and less impulsively but even I know that’s an impossible feat.

I cut my eyes at the sky outside my window just daring the clouds to show themselves which would quite realistically be the last fucking straw today before I REALLY pack up my truck and head to the sun bad tires and all.

Good God does this ever get tiring.

Every single day I find myself on *that edge* just dying to JUMP.

Yet I am waiting for permission. From who or what I don’t know. I can go anywhere I want anytime if I am willing to accept the consequences. There is no one telling me what to do with my life although I need help sometimes from those much wiser who follow things through even though there is nothing to show for that effort either.

Sometimes it really sucks being sober.

Long gone are those days when everyone expected me to act on my whims because what the fuck else does an alcoholic do but act on their whims? And I didn’t care until I was sober enough to realize how selfish I might have been.

But this has nothing to do really, with being an alcoholic or sober and *responsible* for that matter. This has more to do with not lying to myself anymore but I secretly lie to everyone else because I want them to believe I am doing just fine, thank you, even though I am not.

But who cares?

And when will I turn this all around? Jesus God I have been the fucking Queen of *Positive Thinking* lately and I still can’t *think* myself into a life that is meant for me because THIS ONE IS NOT, meant for me.

I SERIOUSLY JUST WANT TO LIVE IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER! (But it has to be in the sun and the river can’t be cold).

But then again, maybe this is all in my head due to my sleep deprived, cold state of mind this morning.  I just can’t see it.

I’m tired of that ugly ass yellow house across the street and the way the air hangs ONTO everything instead of just floating around it like it should. Air shouldn’t attach itself to anything yet I feel it like a cold heavy blanket trying to weigh everything down and taking me with it.

Fucking air.

God only knows why people love me despite myself.

While I sit here writing about how I hate the air and wanting to live in a van anywhere actually, just not here and not on this street where I can see that ugly yellow house, I am actually supposed to be at work helping recovering addicts manage their lives which is far easier than managing my own.

Later:

My truck wouldn’t start so I sat in the front seat eating the Thai food I made last night, with chopsticks. For breakfast. Which wasn’t my plan but I also didn’t plan on my truck not starting and I didn’t want to get out again and go back inside just to come back outside again. My dear husband shows up not 15 minutes later to give me a jump start. I left a light on last night and now the battery is dead. I could have been angry because I was in *that* kind of mood but anger doesn’t serve me well most of the time and I have better things to use my anger energy on than things that are my actual fault. Like the yellow house across the street and the weather.

My husband is too good for me. “I don’t deserve him”, I think.

My phone is blowing up with mass texts from friends and I can’t help but feel like I am back in Junior High. It’s not just the texts though. There’s a *dynamic*.

When I get to work I put on my happy face and I really  do feel a bit better because the people I work with are real. Not always the most pleasant, but real nonetheless. If they’re having a shitty day they say they’re having a shitty day. They don’t try to cover the shit with glitter.

I respect that.

My day goes by uneventfully and I get some writing done in my spare time and I’m not at all happy with what I wrote because apparently I couldn’t leave the feeling of Junior High at the door so I ended up writing about the dynamics of female friendships. And while I’m writing I began to understand why I preferred hanging out with the guys and why it’s just so much easier to have one or two friends versus many. Not that I have many. I have maybe two *close* girlfriends. Three if I count my sister.

I’m checking the weather in other states and all over the world because I know there are better places to live than where I live right now. Then my obsession with moving kicks in and I search for jobs everywhere. I think of moving to Oregon because it’s beautiful and green but it rains all the time and I can’t count on the sun. I text the question, “do you like rain?” to my husband and I know he knows I’m “doing it again”. I’ve been searching for jobs nearly non-stop for the past eight years in a desperate attempt to land something that will allow me to travel and be purposeful. I’m looking for jobs and I’m looking for good weather in better places and I know all of those better places are waiting for me with a giant ball of sunshine. I try to change my perspective like they tell you to in ALL of *those* books and I thank God for my health and the health of my family and for everything I can think of in the few minutes before my gaze wanders outside again and I’m struck stupid with how DEAD the world looks with that gray air looming around sucking the life out of everything.

FAIL.

Epic Fail.

I think of some of the *life coaches* I read about coaching everyone’s lives into a state of blissful positivity and sometimes I just want to call bullshit. Seriously. I am a firm believer in the power of positivity but hell, let’s be honest, if everything were just magic and rainbows everyday there would be no adventure, no change, no great revelations. I’ve had my magic moments for sure, clearly today wasn’t one of them, but I know what they are and I know where they come from and they didn’t come from an already blissful state. They came right after hell.

I KNOW I am being negative these days. I know it I know it I know it. I accept it. I warn people about it. I try to keep it away from others because it isn’t their problem, it’s mine. I can’t hide it from everyone though. Like my husband. I cant hide it all from him. He is the one who has to live with me and despite my best efforts he will walk into it. He will catch a glimpse of it on a morning when I’m feeling especially vulnerable and I might be crying in frustration because I have my gloves on inside the house again because it is that cold and I’m fucking sick of it. Again.

I can move through it though. I’m much better at it than I once was. I’m not perfect at it. Sometimes I want to swim in it but I get out of there quick. I may jump right back in again but at least I got out first.

So I do that with my writing. For years I’ve been jumping in and out and sometimes staying so long I forget I don’t have to be there than something very bad happens and I have to jump out because I’m not a quitter. I have a giant box full of journals telling the damn story.

Well, I want to change my story. And I think I’m doing that now by embracing what I know about myself and acknowledging that change is on the horizon because I want it to be. I need it to be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter is Wretched

I don’t want to remove myself from beneath the warm blankets on this bitter cold morning in March.  I try not to curse the hellish cold because negativity, I’m told, keeps us in dark places and God only knows I’ve lived in those long enough.

But it is dark.

Everywhere I look it is dark, and cold.  Even when I close my eyes I can’t shut it out.

I was up later than usual last night writing endlessly for hours only to have my laptop shut down, losing  four hours of my life forever. I looked forward to sleeping in but a message from my sister woke me too early.

It’s difficult for me to find sleep again once I am awake. I lay in bed feeling the cold air wrap around every exposed part of my body. Even beneath the blankets and my dog’s warm fat body, I shiver. My hands are always cold and sometimes blue.

Most mornings I try to ignore the fact that the world is dark and cold. It’s my greatest challenge nearly every day half the year.

And I fail.

I fail at finding love and appreciation for these days. Half of my life for the past 18 years has been trying to survive a hideous cold. Admittedly, over half of those years I literally numbed myself with alcohol but sobriety has a way of making us feel things we would rather not and for me, the cold is one of them. I would rather feel any number of things but I despise the feeling of dark and cold. I don’t think I ever realized just how cold I was until I stopped numbing myself. Now that I know, I am horrified.

Looking outside my small living room window I see the blue and white sign on the lamp post in front of my neighbor’s house with the words, “Emergency SNOW ROUTE” in red. And to lighten the mood the sign is accented with a giant snow flake. The sign is laughing in my face. Quite literally. It is snowing. It snowed six inches last night. It is March 9th. I am taking this personally. I don’t know how to live in this and be ok with it. I am not ok with it. I am the opposite of ok. I am an active woman. I love being outside in the sunshine. Hell, I love being outside in the rain, tornados, hurricanes, heat waves, earthquakes, monsoons, lightning storms and whatever else can happen (and I have been out in every one of these) as long as it is NOT cold. Below 70 is pushing it. The cold is like pouring acid on my day. There. I said it. Nope, it isn’t a positive thought but it’s fucking true.

I would ski or snow shoe but I can’t make myself pile on all those layers of clothes, wrapping myself up like a zombie unable to move just to go outside and get frost bite on my face. The thought of it makes me nauseous. Winter sports are not appealing to me. I have friends and family who live for the winter and absolutely adore being outside in the cold. They are good at it. I suck at it. I want to cry whenever I open my front door. I cried this morning and I haven’t even gone outside yet. And I won’t until I absolutely have to. Winter is why I moved to the desert two years ago and why I will move again at least during the winter.  There are many reasons my husband and I moved back to these mountains and I believe that it was the best thing at the time. People we love are first on that list. Love trumps everything right? It’s the best reason to do anything and everything but I would be  a liar to say that love is always enough. Maybe I’m missing something. I have done a lot of things for love and I can’t honestly say that it has always been worth it.  Self-sacrificing for love is supposed to make the pain tolerable but sometimes it’s just really self-sacrificing.

The pain isn’t tolerable. I have to take medication again because I can barely function in the winter months. I go to dark places in my head and can’t escape them. They swallow me whole. I have a personal vendetta against winter. My friends and family in sunnier climates walk on eggshells about their weather. Except for my mother-in-law, she’s proud of her sunshine. And she should be. We all moved to the same place two years ago and I know exactly how it feels to want to share the healing power of the sun with everyone. Especially after being locked up in the dark for a lot of life. This is my struggle today. And I suppose if it’s my only struggle I have not much to really complain about.  It is NOT however, my only struggle, it is just one that I fight every day. All other struggles are just *life*, nothing I can’t turn around or accept. I just can’t turn around the weather and I can’t accept it. Yet I am not in denial about it.

That’s impossible.

When I consider that suffering through long endless winter months pales in comparison to other potentially awful things, I feel petty complaining about it. More terrible things can happen (and have, trust me). And I would rather go through winter than have those experiences again. I hear so much about changing our circumstances with positive thinking, or at least how we perceive them, and as much as I believe in the power of positive thinking, there are some things that regrettably,  all the positive thinking in the world won’t fix. It’s absolutely fucking cold. I feel like a brittle corpse (whatever that might feel like) and I cannot put butterfly wings on it and think it away. I wish I could. I cannot drink it away. I also wish I could. I don’t dare though.

Flash Back:

My first sober winter ever,  walking to work when the sun was just setting. My car was malfunctioning, again. I had no idea how to dress for the winter still. I never owned a pair of legitimate snow boots (early attempts at denial) and I was walking on icy sidewalks with these stupid non-winter boots. My coat was good though-long, woolen and very warm. It was the first real winter coat I *intentionally* purchased about four years earlier. It was a drunken impulse buy.  I was practicing gratitude on my 15 minute walk to work. Thankful for a job I loved, for my cute downtown apartment, for my family, for sobriety and for second chances. It was a pretty night. But my face hurt. My hands were frozen in my gloves, the air hurt to breath. I was approaching a house where someone was out shoveling their walk. I recognized this person as an acquaintance in recovery and he yelled a greeting out to me, asked me how I was. I told him I was cold. He said, “Be one with the cold”, and after whispering “fuck you” under my breath,  I tried. I tried to be one with it. I thought about being one with the cold every day. I was on a mission to BE ONE WITH THE COLD. I have been on that mission for years and I am SO over it.

I desperately want to be a trooper. I desperately want to wake up every cold morning and say, “God I love this! What can I do today to celebrate the cold?” But it is long past the season for celebrating the cold. That holiday was over January 1st. My electric bill is my highest bill and I’m not even warm. There are some things I try to do to get by though. I don’t lie in bed all day even if I’m feeling depressed. I make things. I go to my job. I try to visit someone or at least I think about them.  I clean my house and try to make it beautiful. I dance. If I can make it out the door I might go to the gym for yoga and the steam room. I write.  And as much I don’t want to, I write about the weather and how much I hate it. Sometimes I avoid the topic of  weather like the plague. Because it gets old for everyone who knows me. I’m like a broken record and I know people wish I would just shut up about it. I wish I would just shut about it. I’m sorry if you’re reading this and you love winter. And if you do love winter or if you struggle with winter as I do, I would love to hear about how you do what you do in the winter.  I wonder if there are others like me who are nearly destroyed by winter.

My husband is out plowing snow. He has been out there since 3:00 am and he is having a grand time. He says he loves “doing this” and I guess that’s good for him because he makes money doing it and you should love what you do. I tried to help him with his snow removal business one winter and thought I was going to die. It was fun for a while, getting up before the sun, drinking hot mochas and feeling the rush of energy that comes from being blasted with cold. And the exercise. It’s the best way to get your body moving in the winter.  Having only been married a few months at the time it was an exhilarating bonding activity. This is where the love trumps all comes in.  My love for him blinded me for a while, and I found myself doing things I would not normally do. Like shoveling snow out of driveways in subzero temperatures at six in the morning. That is love. And yes, there were a few moments of delirious delight (brain freeze, lack of sleep, new love). But the entire gig quickly lost its appeal after a week. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I lost my “oneness”.

We have been married for some time now and my husband knows I love him even though I won’t go outside with him.  Right now I am in my chilly living room, tucked away in a screwy winter wonder land, watching my cat and dog sleep the day away. I am going to take a nap after all and try to dream of sunshine. Hopefully when I awake I will feel different.

UPDATE

Shortly after writing this and considering keeping my pure negativity to myself, I gathered the courage to get ready to go outside and run some errands. I talked to my dog the entire time about how, “I am going to just DO this”, he was supportive but looked suspicious. I needed a broom and dustpan to clear off my vehicle and after letting it warm up for 20 minutes I was on my way. My precious sister called as I was in the parking lot to tell me she’s, “sick of this shit” and I nearly cried from relief that I am not the *only one*. I forced myself to continue with my errands and stopped at my gym for a workout and yoga. When I went out to my vehicle my door was frozen shut. I needed to borrow a pair of scissors (because the desk girl wouldn’t look for an actual tool) to pry my door open. This morning is frozen and snowy, again. The sky is a grey blanket. The forecast for the next month shows nothing but clouds, rain and snow.  I am considering running off to the desert. Again.

 

And so it begins…

Today my soul is more alive than it has been in a very long while. After struggling with the deepening dark of a depression that robs me of my desire and ability to move in any direction, the last few weeks have brought about a shift and I plan on making the most of it.

And so it begins.

I am not a friend of depression but it likes me enough to try and be a part of my life. Depression is actually my least favorite thing to write about, yet pouring through years of my journal entries one would think differently. I write about it in my journals because that’s what journals are for but even I tire of my own dismal words repeating themselves in their morbid melancholy way every single year of my life for days on end. One thing I can say I’ve gained from writing about it so often is that I see it for what it is instead of romanticizing it or making it into something more exciting-if that’s even possible. But believe me, I have tried.

For example, I have learned that Depression is NOT a divine message from God, the universe or my inner child, guiding me to pack up and move. Again. To somewhere I will be happy and where Depressed people aren’t even allowed to go. I have learned that Depression will happily pack itself up and go with me wherever I go. And I may have a few days or weeks or a month if I’m lucky, Depression *free* (while it’s out finding its way around), but it will come marching back into my life every single time. Angrier. Depression will be angry that I tried to trick it by moving.

When I was younger I might have gotten away with lounging around with Depression wearing red lipstick, drinking wine and writing tear stained sad poetry in my apartment. Just drunk enough. As if we were dating, which back then we practically were. Most of the people I surrounded myself with were also always in varying stages of depression which made it more acceptable and normal. But beneath the *romantic* facade lived so much pain that the only way I knew how to cope with it was to give it a life. Mine.

I discovered that my depression didn’t disappear just because I quite drinking. It was still there lurking in the shadows waiting to pounce.

I have tried to banish Depression from my life using any number of methods. In the past I  used alcohol and other substances to dull the deafening sound of my spirit screaming for help. Or just screaming for the pure hell of it because Depression is an asshole. And because I have that *allergy* to alcohol, I could usually count on having more things to be depressed about the following day. Which of course only thrilled my Depression to pieces.

I have engaged Depression in actual discussions with the shallow hope that by letting it know that I know about it, it’s power over me will weaken.  But these discussions have been one sided and pointless. Depression doesn’t want to hear anything I have to say. There is no reasoning with it. Once again, Depression is an asshole.  I could talk myself into a stupor trying to get through to it, trying to make it “see the light” and “shape up or ship out”! Depression is like that toxic relationship killing your spirit and taking your freedom and life away yet you know it so well and have become so attached that you almost don’t know if anything is wrong anymore or if it isn’t just your imagination. It all becomes so normal.

And so it begins.

The realization, the awareness.

Years of half-knowing, half-believing that I had a tendency for depression, took a back seat to my actual life, which was always chaotic and needed my attention despite depression. I didn’t have time to deal with it. I had other more important things to deal with such as a family, work, school and other responsibilities. I had a life, so to speak, and even though it seemed to be falling apart at the seams every other day, I had to live it. And I wanted to be happy. I always wanted to be happy but I just couldn’t fully do it.  So, I did what I had time for and that meant taking short cuts. And the short cuts meant largely ignoring my Depression and trying to kill it with anything I thought could make it go away the fastest. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes I could numb or distract myself long enough to believe I was “cured”. But it always returned.

Gradually my life really did fall apart. And when it did, nothing could help anymore. There wasn’t enough of anything anymore.

I don’t believe anyone wants to *be* depressed. I didn’t. My depression didn’t make me stay in bed or not shower for weeks on end. I didn’t *look* depressed (at least I didn’t think so and no one could tell just by looking at me). I could wear a smile on my face and go about accomplishing what needed accomplishing. I could go through the motions while being swallowed up in an enormous dark hole of spiritual agony. And although my life was and can be profoundly affected by depression, I experienced many moments of pure joy and happiness. I know what it’s like to feel at peace, content, hopeful and in love with life. When I experience those moments, I desperately want to keep them. I know, life isn’t all about living on cloud nine every day. I don’t expect that nor do I want it.  What I want is not to be a slave to Depression. And for me that means acknowledging its existence in my life and not trying to shove it back into a closet. So, I brought it out of its dark closet and shed light on it.

I know what to look for and when those red flags start flying I try to do something about it. I have learned to be more gentle with myself. And honest. There are some things I believe really help me and other things that simply don’t. Negative people, places and things obviously don’t help anyone, so I have often had to take a serious look at who and what I allow in my life and how it affects me. I have had to eliminate negativity to the best of my ability even if that means quitting a job and distancing myself from certain people.  And when the negativity comes from within myself,  I do my best to change my thinking, because I believe that woks. It is working right now as a matter of fact. If I feel I need to take medicine I explore my options. There have been times when medication has lifted me out of dangerous places in my head. I would like to say that I can always slay the demons when they come for me, but I can’t. And I’m ok with that today.

And so it begins.

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