Five Steps Forward, Four Steps Back.

“It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something”.

Samwise Gamgee (The Two Towers, J.R.R. Tolkien)

I struggled with the title for this one. I know what I want to say, I’m just not sure how to say it. But first, a few news. Let me begin by saying, I am well, I am much better than I have been in months. Kind of walking on sunshine, really, at least for the most part… even though every now and then I suffer relapses. I shall elaborate.

This year has been harrowing for me. I mean, over the past decade I have known hunger, cold, solitude, repression. I am no stranger to hardship. This year, though, besides making brutal but extremely necessary changes to my life and losing (by my own hand) what I once thought was my future, I have been beaten, emotionally speaking, more than any other year to date. My faith in the human race, initially fueled to a great degree, was recently ground to dust. As you can probably notice if you have been reading me since I started, my mood took a steep decline over the past few months, hitting rock bottom when I last wrote here, slightly over a month ago, and that’s when I went on an emergency hiatus… it is funny that it has not been as long as I felt it was. Kinda feels like waking up from a nightmare, and wondering, as you peer up at the sky and feel the sun on your skin, if you are really awake or it is just an illusion.

My mood darkened to such a degree that I at last understood that it might be wise to go look for professional help. It was not easy, let me tell you. First, there is my natural resistance to any artificial crutches, to the point where I usually avoid coffee to wake up. Second, I have no income of my own. My funds amount to little over 150 bucks, and Christmas is coming. I have to make this count until such time as I get money flowing into my pocket, which there is no telling when it will happen, or else my WoW friends will lose me.

But I still did it. I set up an appointment, went in for an initial interview; I was told I had symptoms of depression and anxiety, and prescribed a pill to be taken nightly, 10 bucks a box with 10 pills. I took that pill religiously every evening, and roughly 18 hours after I had started treatment I was spending every day wanting to take a nap (as in, very, very sleepy all day). And on top of that (which was warned by the doctor), I lost my libido! Now look, I may not have anyone in the vicinity to help me with certain urges, but that doesn’t mean I want those urges gone. I like the urge even if I have to repress it… what, was the libido thing TMI? What are we, ten? We’re all grownups here.

Moving on, anyway, I did not feel like myself, and I came to the conclusion that spending on therapy good money that I needed for other things was stupid… or at least ill-advised. So I stopped the treatment pretty much cold turkey when I ran out of pills and I did not go in for a second appointment. I had been worried that once the pill wore off I would plummet back down, but thankfully it was not so. I still have relapses where certain things trigger (even though they shouldn’t) an anxiety attack and/or depressing thoughts. Something gives in within my psyche (apparently it is chemical) and I cannot shake it off. Usually a short nap fixes it. But, it would seem that the things (and even people) that poisoned me have been successfully torn off of my life and all I got left are sequels. Scars, if you will. Don’t we all have our own?

Why the title of this post then? Because, this year, I have felt like I was going backwards. I was slipping further and further down. My sanity was evaporating, I knew no peace, only struggle and confusion, there was no light at the end of the tunnel, except for brief glints that felt more like hallucinations. Harrowing, as I said.

Then, recently (and kind of suddenly), I realized I was no longer drowning. I had found my footing again. I felt the sun on my skin, and I was no longer numb, like, at all. As I mentioned, I still relapse at times, and I figure that is a sequel that will stay with me for life. And I’m okay with that. It’s like my battle scar. I have fought, I have lost. But the more important thing, and something that keeps marveling me, is that I always bounce back. Even though my faith in the human race was recently ground to ashes, I still have it. I am still able to feel, to reach out, I am able to love those close and those not so close. I am broken, but I am also resilient. I will be brought down, but I will get up again.

It was not just me, though, and I will freely admit and proclaim it. It was also fate, and it was also certain valuable people that stay close to me. People that are there to catch me when I falter, those who put up with me during my worst moments. Thank you. While I shall not speak names for now (I don’t disclose my own here, why would I disclose others?),  you know you are, and as I have said before, I am thankful for every moment, for every caring gesture, for every time I have been held with a firm but gentle hand.

Those who go out of their way to let me know they are with me even if I may not see them all the time. Circles that opened to me, welcomed me in and then glued shut. People that do not come and go, people that are stayers. Thank you. Kindness and encouragement never go to waste, not during high times, and definitely not during hard times.

My depression-laden post shall remain where it is, as a reminder of how deep I once fell, and how it did not stop me from getting back up, dusting myself off and carrying on standing tall. As it is, I am back, and I am ready for more. Samwise Gamgee said it best:

There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for“.

See you next week.

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2 Responses to “Five Steps Forward, Four Steps Back.”

  1. Love this. Thank you for being a stayer as well.

  2. […] that meant for me to break off of my beaten path, I began to pick up the pieces. In due time I bounced back. A take on romanticism was followed by a few cultural snippets, a reflection on the year that […]

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