Charles Dicken’s introduced the classic Tale of Two Cities with one of the best opening lines of all time:
It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…
I could really use an introduction like that for this post. The Spring Equinox has just passed and I should be busy dusting off my neglected Bucket List. We picked an “easy” item from the List as a warm-up. Monica and I are leaving for Venice to eat pizza in St Mark’s Square. I’m supposed to be practicing my Italian. At least enough to say, “Hello, Domino’s Pizza? Yes. We would like to order a large Supreme pizza please.”
Instead, I’m losing a battle with this bastard of a companion who is determined to keep me imprisoned. I refer to him as “Eddie, my inner editor,” but his clinical names are depression, anxiety, and PTSD (Eddie is far more palatable, right?).
I could fake it for a few days, since most of my interactions are viewed through the brightening filter of the internet. But eventually, I couldn’t even bring myself to visit the blogs that I’ve come to enjoy so much, or return texts from family and friends. My world has shrunk. I’m spending more than 20 hours a day either in bed or on the floor. Afraid to go outside, anxious that I’ll make a mistake, and miserable because I realize all of this is irrational.
“Am I in the right place?”
A few of you that began following me recently are probably confused right now. You may be asking, “What happened to the guy that brought us light and pithy posts to help wash down our morning coffee?” I’m so glad you’re here, and I hope you’ll stick around. However, as much as I’d like to, I can’t be that guy all the time. Part of me wants to, but I can’t.
I could keep this dark and depressing garbage to myself until it passes. Believe me, I want to. It’s humiliating and disgusting. And nobody wants to hear it. (Almost) nobody.
There might be a few that may know what I’m talking about. Maybe you have an “Eddie” (or Edwina) of your own. The dark spaces and crushing weight of life may be separating you from others and keep you from pursuing your dreams. That tortured mumble you hear is me speaking to you right now.
Depression Lies. Anxiety Sucks. PTSD is real. But we are not alone. Click To Tweet
It feels like it, but you’re not alone. And I keep reminding myself that I’m not either. It helps to know that Monica is here. However, she has learned not to get down in the pit with me. Somebody has to hold on tight to a solid foundation, with an outreached hand that’s there for me to grab hold of when I have the strength to reach out.
I can already tell that I’m going to be able to get out of this pit. I hope it’s in time to catch our flight to Venice. Monica sure deserves a huge slice of pizza on the stones of St Mark’s Square. And I’m really looking forward to remembering that “I can’t” is another step on my way to “We did it.”
More than a month has gone by since I shared these words with you. We made it to Venice! Eating Domino’s Pizza in St. Marks Square was more of a logistic challenge than you might expect for a tourist city in the heart of Pizzaland (you’ll have to check out this post to see how things turn out ). However, as I look back over these words, and particularly the wonderful comments shared, I recognize how fortunate I am to enjoy the support and encouragement of such an amazing community.
If you or someone you care about is struggling right now, it might help to read through the comments below. No solutions. No “quick fixes.” But plenty of genuine encouragement and understanding.
We are not alone