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Lollipops and Sandboxes

By February 17, 2014Depression

I haven’t gotten on my snowboard this year. I don’t think I am going to either. I’ve been staring at the snow, waiting for it to happen. Waiting for that urge, that itch, the crisp smell of the air to kick my heart into high gear, and get motivated to get on my snowboard.

It hasn’t happened—in fact, it’s moving in the opposite direction. I see a snowboard, and I feel anger well up inside of me. Snowboarding was a place I could go to get out of my head and find a little solace. Now it’s a source of pain.

Last week, I tried to shift gears and get right with myself. I was determined to break this funk. The weather reports looked perfect, and we had a three-day weekend coming up. I had enough miles to take me there and back, and Snowbird was running a great promotion with a hotel room and tickets. I made a deal with myself: “Go, and if it goes well, then great! You break the wall down. If not, then at least you got a great view and some good company to sit by the fire with.” There was a storm coming, but it was going to blow itself out the same evening, so I wasn’t overly concerned.

No sooner had I put the finishing touches on a little card I wrote to surprise L, who I was supposed to be meeting in a couple hours, when the phone rang… it appears that the first leg of my trip was cancelled before a single flake had fallen.

A lot more happened this day, but suffice to say after several hours on the phone with various peoples, I was out 100,000 miles of frequent flier points and down a thousand dollars. Just like that. Poof… gone… my Valentine’s Day turned into my own personal Valentine’s Massacre.

I went from being cautious to mildly excited at the premise of a getaway. FINALLY, after an awful month of traveling, of turmoil and general discord, I was going to get a little something for me.

In a single automated phone call, a robot shit all over my dreams and threw me into a downward spiral. In a blink I was piss and vinegar and slipped into a deep, depressive state. My phones tend to take the brunt of my abuse in times like this. I have spent more money than I would like to admit on replacing broken phones, cellular, analog throughout my life—the poor phone has been on the receiving end of some serious abuse. I managed to put a new dent in the frame of the phone, but that Gorilla Glass held on.

I forgot just how easy it is to let yourself slide into that dark place. I was cycling over and over and over again. All the negativity, moving to the self-loathing, until I found myself staring at the ceiling fan with the weight of the world standing on my chest. All my coping skills just out of reach.

Anybody near me couldn’t help and was on the receiving end of everything that was wrong. You forget that depression is just as taxing on those closest to the person who is suffering. I don’t envy anybody who was near me this weekend.

Slowly—and boy does it feel slow—I started compartmentalizing the pieces to try to isolate things I could change, from the stuff I could not and attempted to let go of the things I couldn’t. It’s probably the hardest part of the process because it is so easy to get stuck on the things you can’t change because… well, there they are—constant and nonmoving.

Friday and most of Saturday were spent in that state: staring at the ceiling fan, feeling shitty for myself, shrugging off any support or kindness being shown by my friends.

I’m still pissed off. I’m annoyed that yet another holiday weekend was blown through no fault of my own and also entirely my fault at the same time.

It is a reminder to me how each and every one of us will experience depression situational, chemical, environmental, or otherwise. It reminds me just how complicated our emotions are and how much it can affect our ability to function.

I’m thankful for the skills I have been developing and for the friends who support me and stick around, even though I can be a miserable rotten old fart. It’s still here with me, that down feeling, but I’m focusing on the things I can change. Like with this post and reminding myself the best way out of this dark hole is by talking to somebody, or writing and sharing. To remind myself there are several hundred other people feeling just like I am right now, and if I believe it and if I do something about it, this feeling will subside and be replaced by something better or at least neutral.

Thanks for listening.