…they intuitively know.[i] When you look at the second picture below you see what children are able to do. I don’t think as an adult I would have been able to do something like that when I was in the midst of my depression. I would’ve been too embarrassed.
A man who is disconnected from his own needs is truly disconnected from himself, and well down the path to trouble in his life.[ii] I feel so lost sometimes in the depression. I will wake up and I won’t even know what time it is.* Sometimes I don’t know what day it is. The feeling I had when I woke up in the middle of the night tonight was the same feeling I had when I woke up in the middle of the night when I was a kid. Then I picked up my blanket and went into the living room to get by the heater and get warm. Tonight, I got up, made my coffee and came in here to write this.The one saving grace about all this, is that this is a rare experience nowadays, whereas it used to be a common experience before. But there are times where I still dont know what to do specifically. My walking through overt depression, being in the depression, has meant that I have let almost all of the outside world go. It makes no sense to me rationally.
An old proverb says, “The closer you get to the gate, the louder the dogs bark.” What I have learned in my travels of the last few years is that when I’m discontented and afraid, while I still am working hard at healing, it’s because my “dogs,” are pulling at my heels to stop me from changing.
“I don’t need faith, I have experience.” [iii] More than one person as I have walked through this overt depression has asked me whether I wanted to drink or not during this whole time. And, not amazingly to me, but apparently to some others, I’ve never had the desire to drink or use drugs during this part of my adventure. The compulsion to use drugs or alcohol was lifted from me at about 7 months sober, so almost 25 years ago now. Drinking is but a symptom of my dis-ease.
Amazing, to me at least, is the fact I can’t draw on that experience with alcohol and drugs when it comes to walking through those deep seated emotional conflicts to realize that I am okay emotionally. When I’m in the throes of some of the painful emotions I have been in the past couple years I almost always think it’s going to get worse.
“Life will always be sorrowful. We can’t change it, but we can change our attitude toward it.”[vii] In this moment I don’t feel like I’m a Phoenix, I feel like I’m in the fire burning on my way to hell, and yet I’m listening to the song, “All that Heaven Will Allow,” at exactly the same time. Ggods sick sense of humor!
It is sad what I had to go through to get here. This is not too say that I regret a moment of it. Those who are close to me know there’s only one thing that I miss from the past. The sorrow surrounding that loss runs deep. But, I’m also grateful that everything is okay, and that I did not have to expose them as I have walked through this hell. As I’ve said before I would not wish this hell on my worst enemy.
“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”[v] Who am I? I don’t know the answer to that question, I can’t give you some black and white answer. I used to be able to. Lawyer, Dad, etc., etc. What I do know is that walking with others on this journey through depression is what feeds my soul. Being with others who struggle, is as J. J. said yesterday, is my inner world matching up to my outer world.
“You become mature when you become the authority of your own life.”[iv] This is a lofty goal, I’ll let you know if I ever get there! All joking aside, I’m aware that sharing this journey with others helps heal me and from what others have said to me helps them heal. What a gift.
[i] I remember saying this to J.J. [ii] Rick Belden[iii]Joseph Campbell [iv] Joseph Campbell [v] Joseph Campbell [vi] Joseph Campbell [vii] Joseph Campbell
*I woke up this morning really scared. Actually it is 2:30 in the morning right now, and I woke up at 11:30 PM. I went to bed at like nine o’clock last night, and I woke up and I thought it was morning time. I am so grateful that I can come in here and put on my headphones and listen to Bruce Springsteen, loud, while I write. It grounds me.
Keep going Fan! The picture of the pretty poppy comes from Carol!