A long lost friend asked me if I was still sober yesterday. Not entirely sure why she asked me. I said yes, but not necessarily with my head held high. I made a few jokes about it. Perhaps it is because it reminds me of the long painful slip I had in 2012. Truth be told, it started in November 2011. The demon of my depression came and knocked me down flat on my back. It was crippling. I thought drinking was better than feeling the utter darkness of depression. I would hold it all down, hold it all back with a fast pour. I guess now that I think about it, I have always been an intense all or nothing person. If I was going to drink, I was really going to throw it back. Fast and furious. Ask me how that worked for me? Not well. If I worked out, it was 4-5 miles or nothing. If I play tennis, it is 3 hours of hard playing minimum. I can be a bit obsessive.
However, looking back I did not throw myself into sobriety in the same manner. I did get a sponsor. I did work the steps. I did go to meetings. But, I was always on the outskirts. My insecurities, my depression kept me isolated. I didn’t really have connections. Not in the sense that I have now. My wall was high and thick. My sponsor always told me I had a great sense of humor, I was personable, I had A LOT to offer. Yet, I never believed a word. I felt I had nothing worthy to say to anyone. This lack of self belief and the innate desire to remain isolated led me back to the bottle and hopefully my last bottom.
I have made a dear friend who encourages me to write. Encourages me to breathe. He doesn’t judge me for my madness. In fact, he shares my madness. Our demons are similar. Our pasts may be different, but the journey that led our paths to cross is much the same. This latest bout of depression really has
me on the fringe. In and out of the hospital. Several medication changes. Rivers of tears. A new diagnosis of bipolar at the age of 39. Confusion and desperation. The one thing that is different…no isolation. My friend also encourages me to keep our connection despite what the demon demands. He even lets me wear my sunglasses in the house because he understands I don’t want to be “seen.” I am raw. Some days I have been ravaged by the demon, yet my friend invites me in and offers me coffee.
If your demon, your depression has stripped you down. Please reach out. If there is only one connection you can make, stretch. Even if it is only through words at first, that’s okay. Stretch out your hand. We are all here to welcome you in!