Still here

I am not well.

It’s taken awhile to circle back around to these words- like they’ve been jumbled in my brain and heart and body, tangled in my thoughts. Like alphabet soup. Yesterday the four words found each other and one by one appeared side by side.

I am not well.

I’ve written about my depression and anxiety previously on this blog and am even more transparent about my mom’s mental illness that took her life. And yet- being honest with those around me, my friends, family, colleagues about the darkness that’s seeped into my mind is one of the hardest things I can think of doing.

I am not well.

I’m raising the flag, waving it side to side, and telling everyone all at once. For those closest to me, you know that 2019 started violently. My relationship ended suddenly over the holidays, a relationship that anchored me and tethered me to a wildly deep love and partnership. The loss, which came unexpectedly, felt like grief. Grieving a life I thought I was going to have and the person I was going to have it with, who just didn’t want me anymore.

For the first time over the last six months, I understood how my mom felt- her desire to go to sleep and not wake up to this reality. It took her six months after my dad left to succumb to that darkness and let it wash away any hope that was left for her, for our family.

The parallel timeline of six months from those events doesn’t escape me. The darkness tells me to slip under.

I am still here.

These are the words that anchor me to my life now and guide my feet every morning to get out of bed, get to work, to the commitments that require my active participation to keep my home and to continue to take care of my dogs: the carers of my soul and heart. They press their bodies on my chest, quieting my breath and licking away any tears. They respond to the sounds of laughing and crying with equal alarm, not quite knowing how to discern between the two.

As anyone experiencing depression knows, there’s a point where sadness turns to apathy. Consequences of major events in your life seem meaningless.

Last week I had two milestone things happen: goals I’ve been working towards for years. I became the only owner of my house- no co-signor, no partner. Just me. Finally signing the papers that represent five years of ownership, relationships coming and going, a new roof, basement renovations, endless hours of lawn mowing and shoveling, taxes paid and surviving it all and doing it all on my own should have felt heavy; as celebratory as surviving this past semester of school and still getting an A in my class. The latter happened in April and I sobbed out of relief for making it through this course. Looking at my house title now, I feel nothing.

My body can anticipate it now: when something major happens, my reflex system wants to call my mom. The hit and realization of having no number to dial when I reach for the phone has numbed me to feeling proud, happy, or excited at my achievements. I want a hug from her. I want to hear her voice, the sound of her laugh, the excitement for me. Her “what’s wrong” when I call with a sob in the center of my throat.

My north star.

For awhile, this role was taken by someone else. It was a patchwork job, expecting anyone else to be able to fill the cavernous void left by my mom. At my most vulnerable I am terrified of being left by anyone who loves me. It’s a fear that has created walls as high as skyscrapers and surrounds my house and my dogs and my heart from anyone trying to get in. This self-fulling prophecy stops anyone from getting in because the darkness says when they do and truly know me- they leave.

I’m stopping the illusion that I’m ready for any kind of love, the kind of love I know I need and want and hope to have one day. The darkness says who would want me?

I’m not well. But I’m still here.

Even though the darkness is still calling me to slip under.

Even though my loneliness feels as big and as wide as the sky.

Even though I have an emptiness and apathy scares me.

Even though I feel like I’m caught in a riptide and my lungs are burning with the effort of keeping my head above water.

What’s keeping me afloat is a deep sense of purpose from motivating and leading spin classes at Wheelhouse. Connecting with riders and having them tell you with tears in their eyes that you have changed them in ways you could never know. Cuddling with my dogs and knowing I could never leave them. Deep belly laughs with my friends. Dancing. Gardening and seeing plants break through the surface of the earth after surviving a brutal winter.

Listening to music and hearing a myself in the lyrics of Florence and the Machine… regrets collect like old friends, here to relive your darkest moments. All of the ghouls come out to play.

It’s always darkest before the dawn.

I’m not well. I’m still here.

 

Full lyrics: Regrets collect like old friends
Here to relive your darkest moments
I can see no way, I can see no way
And all of the ghouls come out to play

And every demon wants his pound of flesh
But I like to keep some things to myself
I like to keep my issues strong
It’s always darkest before the dawn

And I’ve been a fool and I’ve been blind
I can never leave the past behind
I can see no way, I can see no way
I’m always dragging that horse around

Our love is pastured such a mournful sound
Tonight I’m gonna bury that horse in the ground
So I like to keep my issues strong
But it’s always darkest before the dawn

Shake it out, shake it out,
Shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
Shake it out, shake it out,
Shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh whoa

‘Cause I am done with my graceless heart
So tonight I’m gonna cut it out and then restart
‘Cause I like to keep my issues strong
It’s always darkest before the dawn

Shake it out, shake it out
Shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
Shake it out, shake it out
Shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh whoa

I tried to dance with the devil on your back
And given half the chance would I take any of it back
It’s a final mess but it’s left me so empty
It’s always darkest before the dawn
(Oh whoa, oh whoa)

And I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t
So here’s to drinks in the dark at the end of my road
And I’m ready to suffer and I’m ready to hope
It’s a shot in the dark and right at my throat
‘Cause looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Looking for heaven, for the devil in me
Well what the hell I’m gonna let it happen to me

Shake it out, shake it out,
Shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
Shake it out, shake it out,
Shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh whoa

Shake it out, shake it out,
Shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
Shake it out, shake it out,
Shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh whoa

One thought on “Still here

  1. Very honest, bold, scary and real. So much underneath it all and so much I “get” and how much my own scar tissue surfaces at the strangest times – and the gentle, loving care it still takes to overcome it. But yes alas you are still here. And ultimately that’s it. Take Care.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s