When I first got sober, I couldn’t function. I couldn’t get out of bed, I couldn’t go to work. The oddest thing about all that is that my therapist at the time, the best female role model I ever had, told me that I was doing great. I would tell her that I’m not doing great, I’m sober and yet I’m unable to even function in the world. She would always tell me how well I was doing. (The Leprechaun used to say that when we started doing our work together a couple of years ago also). I loved her. In hindsight my depression was overt then.
What I’ve now realized is that from the time I started back working, approximately nine months after I got sober, until a few years ago I kept my depression covert.
“Woke up this morning, afraid I was gonna live.”[ii] When the depression came back this time it came back with a vengeance. Because of the life situation that I was in, the shame of not being able to do what I needed to do to take care of my responsibilities devastated me. It did get to the point where when I woke up in the mornings I didn’t want to. It’s not that I wanted to die, it’s that I did not want to live.
There is no worse feeling than not wanting to live but not wanting to die either.(Today I want to live way more than I dont want to.)
“I smile when I want to cry. I laugh when I want to die.” [iii] One of the characteristics that I have developed to keep people at bay is my laughter. My friend the Leprechaun says that the thing that has probably kept me from more mental and emotional harm was my ability to laugh. Now that I’ve read the quote that I just cited, I’ve learned that the struggle that I go through by working through depression, is nothing more than the culmination of my coping skills no longer working. I have been led into this inferno called depression so that I could work through the underlying emotional conflicts and live my true life. I am doing it by doing this.
“It’s hard to part the curtains when the dark holds such familiarity.”[iv] Once depression takes over, it takes on a life of its own. My depression really became completely overt, there was nothing I can do about it, a little over two years ago until about three or four months ago. Now I am keenly aware that I still have emotional conflicts. What I am also newly aware of, that I have realized, is that I am okay. The mind always wants to stay in the darkness. So it still takes a conscious effort to get up and open the curtains metaphorically. (I am struggling at times to do that now. I have moved 65 miles away from Napa, I live with my girlfriend and struggle to not “re-act,” which then starts the self loathing to begin, the shut down emotionally and then the overt and maybe covert depression. This shit is wicked at times.)(I just came back from my first Men’s AA meeting in my new hometown. I talked about my depression and let them all know not to come over to me and tell me how to fix it. Amazingly two men came up to me after the meeting, one with over 30 years sobriety, and said thanks. I also just called the Central Office and found out that they “Dont have meetings that deal with specialty issues,” as the nice lady said it. I will start another meeting here!)
“Depression is sometimes more severe than physical pain and it ‘s also chronic.”[v] For me there is nothing more severe than depression. I, like many my age, have my maladies and yet I would trade all my depression for the same maladies that I have. Being depressed is like having cancer and not knowing it. Something is sucking the energy out of you and you dont know what is. I have been tired my whole life. I mean every day until just recently.
(There is a fear that moving so far from my support system will allow my mind to take me back to that survival mode it knows so well. My girlfriend asked me to take a walk this morning and I saw it.My mind immediately said NO! )
(Here is where my work is in front of me. Working it out of my body. The deep seated emotional conflict energy has to be in my body as my brain isnt large enough to carry it all.)
I also know from first-hand experience that there are many people in the world who are addicted to legal drugs who are just as depressed and not treated, if not more so, than those of us who were addicted to illegal substances.
I have seen more devastation to people who did legal drugs, as far as them having depression, than people who did illegal drugs and got help. Most of them dont know they are depressed. They manifest their depression somatically and treat those symptoms and dont understand that they are suppressing something and then the wack-a-mole concept starts. Skin disorders, ulcers, back pain, headaches, thyroid problems, anxiety, etc., etc., etc!!!
* I said that one day when talking with the Leprechaun [i] Sally Brampton [ii]Elizabeth Wurtzel [iii]Donna Lynn Hope[iv] Donna Lynn Hope[v] Pranwan
(I was looking at old posts and from what a couple of my friends have talked about recently, decided to repost this with my comments of today sprinkled in in parentheses.)