Dear Rising from the Ashes,

I’ve crawled out of the depths of despair.

Depression is so strange*. I don’t realize where I am, how bad it’s gotten until I’m at the bottom of the pit. Then I recognize the claw marks on the wall, the nest in the corner, and realize this terrible place is one I’ve been many times before. It’s rock bottom, emotionally. And I didn’t see the edge of the pit. Didn’t feel myself fall down the slope. Didn’t even feel the impact when I hit the bottom. Didn’t know until I looked around and saw my own graffiti on the walls, my own shit in the corners to know this was a place I was held captive before.

The good thing about the bottom of the pit is that I’ve seen it before. I know it’s shape and feel. Once I landed there, it only took me a day or two to realize exactly what was going on and what I needed to do to get back out.

Not that doing those things were easy. Serious depression, real depression, chemicals-in-my-brain-are-unbalanced depression is like being dipped in lead. It’s hard to move. Every thought is weighted down by thousand pounds of nothing.

You could ask me in a kind, loving voice, “What’s wrong?” I’d have no answer. Nothing is wrong. I’m not sad. I’m not dictionary-definition depressed.

You could yell at me, scream and demand. I still couldn’t answer. I would desperately want to shake off the weight, to help you. To fix things. To be who I really am. But she’s buried under tons and tons of nothing, her brain trapped in a mix of chemicals that freeze and weaken, that suppress and drain.

Two things help me when I find myself at the bottom of the pit. My meds have to change. Without permission (don’t try this at home, kids.), I started taking an extra 50 mg. of Seroquel; I had extras, and it worked like a charm in conjunction with the other part.

I had to get out of bed, off the couch. I had to move. My savior from depression is walking. I try to walk more than a mile every day when it’s nice out and I’m not in hideous pain. Lately, that pain, weather, my sick dog, and then the depression kept me inside.

The day the Seroquel started kicking in, I was determined to get myself out of the house. It’s funny, Mom (sainted, wonderful, best thing in my world, SWMBO), came home from getting her hair done determined to drag me off the couch, because she also knew the keys to my depression and was determined to rescue me. How lucky am I to have such a wonderous person taking care of me?

So we did. We lassoed the dog, and headed to the park. My dog is a Anatolian Shepard/Rottweiler mix; he’s a mountain dog. He’s recently decided that he’s not; he’s a water dog. He’s taken to walking into the little pond as far has he can go, scaring all the turtles off their sunning posts. Then he lazily splashes the edge of the lake while I hold the leash and trail him from the shore.

IMG_1168

Well, I can’t say anything here other than my dog is the most handsome, sweetest thing in the whole world. And he’s eating something that when I purchased it, I did not realize it was made up of the penile region of an herbivore. Pizzle my ass.

Watching that silliness, walking in the sunshine, and getting those bloody damned chemicals in my brain back in some semblance of order was like magic. My world evened out.

And I’m back to being

Payne.

*P.S. If you have not read Allie Brosh‘s explanation of depression and how it is like dead fish, it’s worth a read. She explains it in a way that makes so much sense, and is funny as hell. It’s also a great way to help friends and family understand what you’re going through, how they can help, and how they’re not being helpful.

Another great writer about depression, who is also funny as hell, is Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess.

Neither of these women need me to pump up their volume; they’re both quite famous, and each has a book published in the last few years about their blogs and life experiences. But when we’re talking about surviving depression, it’s all hands on deck, people.

Allie Brosh, Hyperbole and a Half

Jenny Lawson, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

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3 thoughts on “Dear Rising from the Ashes,

  1. Best explanation I’ve seen yet (And I’m a fan of Allie Brosh too). It is a pit, and it’s hard to see the sides when you’re on the way in. Like walking into an opencast mine down the access road, and suddenly you’re looking up at cliffs and the road out is a long way off over rough ground.

    Hope you stay climbed out for a good long time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Unknown Witch says:

    Is there a Dungeon of Despair somewhere out there in the universe where all these pits are located? Because dammit, girl, your pit looks exactly like mine! Spent a lotta time there. One good thing about blogging is reading the posts of other people and finally realizing that you are not alone. There are a lot of others who are living with the same suffering and miseries. Before I found my way to the Web, I thought I was an aberration. The “normal” people would look at me as though I were a freak. They had me almost convinced that I was a mental basket case and I was not really hurting as much as I thought I was, I just had a “low pain threshold. Reading your posts and the posts of others who seem to be living lives identical to my own has given me a validation I never had before. I am not crazy! I am in pain!

    Your Furbaby is a beauty. Almost as pretty as my Mela. 😀

    BTW, I’m a redhead, too. Did you know we are descended from cats? Meow!

    Like

    • Speaking of lives identical to our own!

      But you are right, it’s such a relief to read about other people’s troubles with chronic pain and depression, to see other people overcome and learn to cope. It gives me hope.

      I also love to swap tips and tricks. There are little things each of us chronic pain folks do to make things better/easier/etc. that we share … every bit helps!?

      Like

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