“First the covertly depressed man must walk through the fire from which he has run. He must allow the pain to surface.” [ii] Here’s the part that is going to separate the men from the boys. Because it’s only the boys who are going to do this. We have been so hardwired to not feel, particularly pain, that most old-timers rail at the idea of allowing that emotional pain to surface.
I understand people not wanting to go back to a place that is ugly, dark and feels like an abyss. I remember when I first started in therapy way back then, it felt overwhelming and like it was going to last forever. The simple fact is, I am still here. Going into that place of pain has not killed me. As you will read about in a minute it felt like it was going to just a little while ago.
I have a particular friend who said he did the “Ritalin shuffle,” when he first got sober, and yet he thinks that every solution to every problem we have is to be found in the steps. Interesting that he needed medication to stay sober in the beginning of his sobriety, but says other people don’t need it in their sobriety.
On the topic of psychotropic drugs and sobriety. Many of the men I know, including my “Ritalin shuffle,” friend, who I dearly love, because he always says “If you dont take the first drink, You cant get drunk,’ think that taking anti-depressants is something that sober people should not do. No he is not a doctor, or a psychiatrist. But he has decided that he knows what I or others like me should do as far as what medicines we take.
My opinion is that he doesnt know his ass from a hole in the ground when it comes to what medicines I should take. When I see him coming at me, I get defensive at times and put him in his place. The stigma I suffer because of depression is enough. I dont need anyone telling me that if I am taking medications I am not sober. Again, I dont know if he knows the irony in it all, his use of drugs when he first got sober in contrast to his opinion today.
As I’ve said before I would not wish this journey on my worst enemy. That being said, I wouldn’t change a thing. Just about an hour to half ago I sat down in my recliner chair and texted a friend of mine saying that a wave of depression hit me so hard, that it felt like I was back in 2008 and I had not done any of the work necessary to get through the depression. It was overwhelming grief. But that was all it was. It wasnt death, I didnt want to drink or use, but it felt like crap.
But the difference between today and 2008 is that I immediately contacted someone, as a matter fact four of my friends by text, and told them how crappy I felt. Then I cried as long as I needed to cry and screamed as long as I needed to. Then I wrote a couple of texts to my loving friends to tell him that I was okay and back to my usual loving, nurturing self.!!!
What I did next was go in and write the post, “I cry because….,” and I cried a little bit more.
I moved the energy that I used to stuff inside of myself. I experienced the pain that I use to run from or drink over, or smoke away in a joint. It is that simple. It is that simple.
“Then, he may resolve his hidden depression by learning about self care and healthy esteem.” [iii] I have to be totally honest and say this is the toughest one for me. I’m getting way better and here is why. My house is almost always clean, my dishes are almost always in the dishwasher, I take a shower pretty much every day, I brush my teeth daily, I shave once a week,(I have a beard!) I try to go to four meetings a week at least, I try to text or call a couple of people every day,[iv] and I try to keep a conscious contact with my Ggod! One of the big things I do for healthy esteem is not go around those people who deny that they have a dis-ease. That is one of the hardest ones for me to do, because I like everybody else, want people to like me.
[i] Bruce Springsteen Land of Hope and Dreams [ii] Terrence Real I Dont Want to Talk About It. p. 63 [iii] Terrence Real I Dont Want to Talk About It. p. 63[iv] Thanks JDK