into the darkness

Posted on April 21, 2012


I felt that I was making real strides in my life by writing and questioning and going deeper. I had begun to penetrate the facade. I was quite proud of myself… Little did I know what was in store. On April 1, April Fool’s Day (seems quite significant for some elusive reason), I typed out my first blog post, Adrift in an Endless Sea. My wife at that time thought it was too dark to share. I didn’t see it as dark so much as just being honest… finally. It took me almost a year to post that one. But the other ones continued to come (the first into-the-darkness-tof which you read in chapter one). I was going deeper. I was finding the boldness to ask the questions that I had been afraid to ask. I had always been under the impression that questioning and doubt were the same thing. I thought I should just learn to be content and not question certain things. But no more. I was finding my voice.

During the summer of 2006, I had hit an all time high in my career. I had been chosen to pilot a statewide project for youth with disabilites here in my county. I was connected to a national network of people working in the same field. I had become known throughout my state as being innovative, creative, connected, and compassionate; a person that understood and befriended those in the margins of life.

But, low and behold, by fall of 2006, I was in the midst of clinical depression. It hit like a ton of bricks, crashing down, and crushing me under its weight. For 14 years, I had been in a relationship with a person that was bipolar. I understood the pain of depression… I thought. I had hung in there through the highs and the lows. I began to realize the extent that it was tearing me apart. For a couple of years I had been quietly asking, “Stop the rollercoast and let me off for just 10 minutes.” But it had taken its toll and I had broken down under the weight. I could see nothing outside of the pain. I felt like something had turned me inside out and all I could see was my innards, my guts… no light, no color, nothing but gray and blackness. I could find no reason to get up each day. But like a robot, I just did, dragging myself along, hoping for a moment of sunshine somehow, somewhere. I would drive down the freeway looking for the strongest embankment that could be my possible answer to end it all; if I hit it just right and at the right speed. No suffering. No pain. Just lights out. They already were anyway…

After three months, several bouts with medication, I started to see a glimmer of light. I then began to understand the impact on my wife. She could not handle me being in the condition that I was. She had nothing to offer. She ended up checking in to a facility for help for herself. We refinanced the house to pay off the bills. Quite an eventful December. In January 2007, she walked out the door. My second divorce was a devastation that I did not think I would live through. Actually, I’m still amazed that I’m still around.

By spring of 2008, my divorce was finalized by her (the worse part was losing my kids half time to joint custody), I foreclosed on the home that I could no longer afford (because of the refinance), the grant that funded my job went somewhere (probably Iraq), I was back in the middle of depression (with no health benefits with which to seek help), AND I turned 50!!! How about THAT for springtime festival of woe??? The very foundation of my life had crumbled. The foundation of my faith had been overturned. The American dream that if I work hard and do the right thing, I would be successful, was no longer applicable. That American dream had been built on sand. When the storms came, and they always do, it all washed away. I was trying to create something permanent out of what was temporal.

But for some reason, the one thing I had to continue to do was to keep writing. I needed to capture what I was feeling at each of those moments. I wanted to make sure I never forget what it felt like to go through these things. I knew there was a reason. And I knew there were people that were in a place of darkness embedded with loneliness like I was in; a shear darkness, a severe loneliness that was all engulfing, suffocating, self-perpetuating isolation… I knew I must never forget. So I wrote and wrote. No answers. Only questions. More and more questions. Deeper and deeper questions. Spiraling deeper into darkness… and yet, somehow, closer to the Light

Next: The Healthiness of Depression