Divorce, Single Parenting, Dating, Sex, & Self-Recovery

Showing Up In Spite of the Lizards (Surviving the Depression)

Screen Shot 2016-09-04 at 10.12.42 AMI was seeing lizards everywhere. And not the good kind. The kind of lizards that were whispering to me, telling me lies, breaking my heart, and causing me to break the promises I made to myself.

I had a hard holiday season. (In this case, summer holidays) I have a history of hard holiday seasons ever since my oldest sister committed suicide by jumping off a nearby bridge into a dry creek bed. So this Christmas was a bitch. But it also taught me a number of things about myself and my resilience.

In the first day of the spiral, I could tell what was happening. It’s sort of like a metallic taste in my mouth. I’ve had depressive episodes since my teens. I didn’t know what was going on back then. Today I know exactly what’s happening. That’s not to say I can stop the slide into darkness when I feel my world spiraling down. (That’s what I’m getting better at, but I know it will happen again.) I feel the tingle in my groin that shares the same sensation with looking over the edge of a tall building, or at the moment at the top of a high roller coaster just before the fall. The thrill, the terror, the flight. It’s like that. But in a bad way. Not an exhilarating way.

This summer season I had a number of factors that brought me down. (And by brought me down, I mean going from upright enthusiastic and hopeful, to getting ready to follow my sister off the bridge.) I was stressed about my job. I was tired from a long day of traveling home from vacation. AND I had the holidays staring me in the face. And this summer, different from any summer before, I was going to have my teenaged kids in the house with me and my girlfriend for 8 straight days. I was worried about everything.

In the first day of the spiral, I could tell what was happening. It’s like a little bit of electrical current is being applied to my armpits, like torture. It’s subtle at first, but I recognized my old nemesis, the black dog of depression. And even with all of the awareness and experience I’ve had, I was semi-powerless to mitigate the slip.

I really wanted to disappear. I didn’t directly want to kill myself, but I could see the appeal of not waking up in the morning.

I went from being a productive and happy member of my family to being a stone temple frog. I didn’t speak, because saying anything carried the risk of actually telling you about the bad craziness that was going on in my head. Like the best/worst Hunter Thompson scene from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, I was seeing lizards everywhere. And not the good kind. The kind of lizards that were whispering to me, telling me lies, breaking my heart, and breaking the promises I made to myself. I didn’t want to go DOWN, but kicking screaming was not my way. I silently slipped beneath the surface of the dark water, hoping no one would notice my absence.

I wanted to disappear. I didn’t directly want to kill myself, but I could see the appeal of not waking up in the morning. BUT… I had so much to stop me, from suicide, that is. There was nothing that could stop me from hitting the dark days, but my reaction and ability to just fucking show up, was my superpower. I could do that. I could keep breathing, keep crossing the bridge over the river without looking down, I could keep showing up for breakfast and dinner at my house, with my kids.

And my rally cry became:

… I will continue tomorrow …

The Off Parent
@theoffparent

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