Self Care

How I turn “I Can’t” into “I did it!” when depression strikes

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.”

 

UPDATE: 

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

overcoming depression anxiety PTSD is not easy, but it IS possible
 Depression Lies. Anxiety Sucks. PTSD is real. Maybe you know what I talking about? Even when depression lies, we can still turn "I Can't" into "I did it!"
 
depression lies but it doesn't get to control us.
 
 

175 Comments

  • Reply lisanne3015 March 25, 2017 at 8:06 am

    Be encouraged that the wait to feel worthy again is ordered by God. I woke this morning anxious over recognition for a story to be a part of a book. I am waiting to be highlighted as a featured contributor. I am anxious…was I wrong to believe I am worthy? I asked myself just now…what are you waiting for? Validation? You have this already, Lisa. Jesus told you that you are worth more than many sparrows. I hope you are better soon. I work in the mental health field, I applaud your honest and brave acknowledgement of the “abyss” of depression. I will pray specifically for you today …now…that you turn the corner back towards the sun.

    • Reply Gabriel March 25, 2017 at 10:17 am

      Congratulations in advance for your pending inclusion in an upcoming book Lisa. And I completely understand that paradoxical fear of success.

      Thanks so much for the encouraging words and for sprinkling a bit of hope on what was quickly becoming a bleak period.

  • Reply thenuttybookblogger March 25, 2017 at 8:08 am

    I wish I could blog about my current depression. Had to move to Florida, had to leave my three cats in OHIO…I have to work in a motel cleaning to get the money to move – to be able to get my cats and go back to IL. It’s been so hard on my I failed a class! College would be better if not depressed. I might have to drop out. Say a prayer. Jackie

    • Reply Gabriel March 25, 2017 at 10:23 am

      So sorry to hear that life has been so challenging for you Jackie. Most things would be better without intrusions from our unwelcome companions. God and I are still in a vicious fight (I’m pretty sure I’m gonna wear Him/Her down eventually) so I may not be the best one to send along prayers. For what it’s worth, I’m here, and sending along “spoons.” (If you have a few free moments, read “Furiously Happy” and “Let’s pretend it Never Happened” by Jenny Lawson. Both are amazingly insightful and hilarious reads)

  • Reply Monster Mermaid March 25, 2017 at 8:31 am

    Thanks for sharing that…I’ve been there, spring can be the worst some times…it will pass..

    • Reply Gabriel March 25, 2017 at 10:24 am

      hehehe I know all the poets and movie people laud the life-giving qualities of Spring, but for me, it’s worse than the holidays.

  • Reply Bel March 25, 2017 at 8:34 am

    There are so many things I would like to write here but I’m sure you’ve heard it all and experienced it with your own life. The only way I find ways to battle my horri’bel’ demons is to “be fearless in pursuit of what sets my soul on fire” …Enjoy Venice and pizza with Monica.

    • Reply Gabriel March 25, 2017 at 10:27 am

      Thanks so much Bel, and yes, I’m getting so much advice and encouragement, especially via email and social media. I’m a bit embarrassed now. Feel like a whiny kid that cries after dropping his ice cream.

      I love this line by the way: “be fearless in pursuit of what sets my soul on fire.” I’m not there yet, but I hope to get back to this state of mind soon.

      For now, I’m gonna follow your advice, Pizza and Monica.

      • Reply Bel March 25, 2017 at 10:46 am

        I’m glad. Still in the process of pursuing that fire myself…Let’s win this battle! ?

  • Reply desertcurmudgeon March 25, 2017 at 8:45 am

    From my perspective behind the keyboard, Eddie is clearly losing. I am well acquainted with his dastardly ways but one of the few things I’ve found that really pisses him off is to expose him…write about him and let people the world over know that he’s trying to sabotage your plans. He cares not about pre-existing plans or pizza in Venice…but he does care about being called out for what he is. No need for humiliation…more of us grapple with him than you possibly know. And thus, it helps us to read about another valiant struggle against his veil of darkness. Thank you for being courageous enough to do so.

    • Reply Gabriel March 25, 2017 at 10:31 am

      Wow Paul. Well said. If I had an arrow or highlighter for this comment I’d use here. (except the courageous part 😉 )

    • Reply allthethings3 March 25, 2017 at 1:12 pm

      That’s good stuff. It’s all so true.

      • Reply Gabriel March 25, 2017 at 2:36 pm

        YUP!

  • Reply forgivingjournal March 25, 2017 at 8:55 am

    Gabriel I’m sending you many hugs and Light on this path. I think you are doing great. Glad you shared and be good to yourself. Have a real and blessed time in Venice. Much love, Debbie

    • Reply Gabriel March 25, 2017 at 10:33 am

      Thanks Debbie, I’m feeling quite a bit better already. The outpouring of support and encouragement is amazing.

      • Reply forgivingjournal March 26, 2017 at 10:24 pm

        Good, Gabriel!! <3 The support is always available to you. Have a great and wonderful week ~Debbie

  • Reply Writing to Freedom March 25, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Hey Gabe. Thanks for your great courage to be vulnerable here. I’ve shared similar challenges with depression and writing about them to our community has been hugely helpful to me. I hope you find the right way to deal with your Eddie (I like the naming). For me, writing, feeling, and compassion have been more helpful than trying to will myself through it. But you will find the way that works for you. Your story is full of light as you and your others post are too. I hope you go enjoy that pizza with Monica in Venice and send us a story to go with it. Hugs my friend.

    • Reply Gabriel March 25, 2017 at 10:36 am

      As I read your comment Brad, I remember the Amazing Stories Post you shared recently highlighting a TED talk along these lines. As a guy, its so counterintuitive to be “vulnerable.” But you’re right, there is value in sharing, and I hope that this post reaches someone else that is struggling and sheds a bit of light on an otherwise bleak outlook.

      • Reply Writing to Freedom March 25, 2017 at 9:22 pm

        Indeed. It helped me to better understand you and my depression too.

  • Reply Maggie Wilson March 25, 2017 at 10:07 am

    I’m sticking around. I want to find out how the pizza tastes. 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel March 25, 2017 at 10:38 am

      hehehe Thanks Maggie. Now I better get on that plane 😉

  • Reply sandyjwhite March 25, 2017 at 10:25 am

    I have no plans to jump ship. I’ll be waiting to hear about the marvelous pizza in Venice
    and to read your next wonderful tale.

    • Reply Gabriel March 25, 2017 at 10:43 am

      Thanks Sandy. Monica just told me she can drug me if necessary for the scary parts. So we’re definitely going…

  • Reply katiebell318 March 25, 2017 at 11:06 am

    Thank you for opening up and sharing this piece of yourself. It can be a lonely road when you start to get lost in that pit. I spent years in it once upon a time, unsure if moving on to the next day was really even worth it. I don’t remember how I managed to climb out the first time, I just remember looking around one day and realizing I was on level group with trees spread out ahead of me. We all slip and stumble back into the gully sometimes- I have far more times than I care to count. But you seem to be a strong person who is full of life and adventure- you will always find yourself on solid ground again. And in the meantime, all of your virtual friendly followers will be here cheering you on, through the posts that bring a morning chuckle, as well as the deeper ones that remind us we are all far more fallible as humans than the internet typically portrays. You’ve got this- even if it doesn’t feel like it right now. Enjoy that delicious pizza in a beautiful place with the amazing woman in your life.

    • Reply Gabriel March 25, 2017 at 2:27 pm

      Yes Katie thats exactly right. I can usually pinpoint the moments I slide into the pit, but rarely can I recognize a sharp transition back to “level ground” as you so aptly describe.

      I’d like to think I’m about as strong as the average bear, but you’re absolutely right about being able to rely on an unbelievable outpouring of support. There’s nothing like spending several hours frantically typing stream-of-conscious replies in an attempt to keep up. Guess I better get my act together.

  • Reply Tara March 25, 2017 at 11:14 am

    My anxiety has a name, too! It’s Zoe. We chat sometimes and I try to help her think things through.

    Hang in there. 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel March 25, 2017 at 2:28 pm

      hehehe Zoe sounds like a cute name. I’d like to chat with her too. Thanks for the encouragement Tara!

  • Reply Steve Adams March 25, 2017 at 11:33 am

    I had to pull over in the car when I saw the notification of your post. I can’t help you, Gabe, as much as I’d like. As you know, only you can help yourself, though the outpourings of support on here seem to be encouraging you to think pizza and Monica. I’ve eaten pizza and I’ve seen and heard about Monica. Sounds like a winning combination worth getting on a plane for. Wishing you the best, my friend.

    • Reply Gabriel March 25, 2017 at 2:34 pm

      Really sorry to hear that I diverted you from your commute Steve, and even sorrier it’s taken me awhile to respond. I’m already well on way back to near-normal. Hoping that the next update will be pictures of Monica and myself in Venice.

      What I really hope is that someone else sees this that is also struggling with their own “Eddie” and finds a bit of solace, and better yet, some encouragement. That would make this humbling display of weakness well worth it.

      • Reply Steve Adams March 25, 2017 at 2:36 pm

        Have a slice of pizza and a glass of Chianti for me. Cheers!!

        • Reply Gabriel March 25, 2017 at 2:37 pm

          Will do!

  • Reply Lucid Gypsy March 25, 2017 at 11:46 am

    No need to feel like a whiny kid, you’re entitled to feel however you feel and I hope that soon you’ll feel better.

    • Reply Gabriel March 25, 2017 at 2:35 pm

      Thanks so much, and you’re right. My bruised ego doesn’t necessarily agree, but your right.

  • Reply aFrankAngle March 25, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    I hope Eddie decides not to sneak his way to Venice. Be strong!

    • Reply Gabriel March 25, 2017 at 2:36 pm

      I only booked 2 tickets, so he’s not invited 😉

  • Reply allthethings3 March 25, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    I’ve been thinking about naming my depression and anxiety. I just listened to a podcast episode where she named her bad thoughts Steve and it sounded like such a good idea. It was the Hilarious World of Depression podcast. The placebo episode (the first mini one after the 1st season) Anyway, I’m thinking about you Gabe. And that douchebag Eddie can suck it. Remember he’s a liar liar pants on fire. I hope you are able to rise up soon soon soon! I know how hard it is do much of anything, but use those spoons when you can do something good for yourself. I have a bloggess group on FB that I just started and it’s small and if you feel like coming over, you should. We can have real conversations there which is sometimes nice. https://www.facebook.com/groups/672897269561901/ anybody reading this is welcome. Anyway, hang in there! You will get through this. And you got helpers if you need them.

    • Reply Gabriel March 25, 2017 at 2:45 pm

      hehehe this is part of my “campaign” to end the stigma of mental illness. Depression, anxiety, PTSD, they are all horrible, foreign names. Everyone can relate with having problems with “Eddie,” or “Edwina” or “Steve” (however, there are too many Steve’s that I count as friends to want to sully that name).

      I think starting a splinter group from the Bloggess Pals is a great idea. The original one is getting huge isn’t it? I’m not surprised as I draw so much strength and encouragement from the relationships I’ve forged there. Not to mention the endless dearth of cat pics 😉

      I’ve just sent a request but I probably won’t be very active for a bit. Thanks for the invitation

      • Reply allthethings3 March 26, 2017 at 9:53 am

        I didn’t even know about the other group. When I did a search, it didn’t show up. So I started my own. I’m a FB group junkie. I have one for family and various places I used to work and I have one for an amazing teacher I had in highschool and all his students. I even throw a reunion for him and his students every year. This summer will be year 8! Anyway, look forward to chatting with you when you feel up to it.

        • Reply Gabriel March 27, 2017 at 11:59 pm

          I think if you check Bloggess Pals on Facebook you’ll find it. Otherwise, when we get back, I can send an invitation. It’s truly an amazing support group.
          But it sounds like you’re already well on your way to mastering the art of Facebook Grouping 😉

  • Reply Buffy Devane March 25, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    Gabe, you flatter me… this is a great piece of writing and I wish I had your gift of descriptive phrasing!
    If you ever want to do it, I’d say you definitely have a novel in you — a very good one. 🙂

    From reading this post, and the fine comments that followed from others and yourself, it’s clear to me that Eddie’s going to have his work cut out to silence your voice, which is a clear and vibrant one.

    Oh, and I must admit to being a little envious… I love me some pizza. Enjoy!

    • Reply Gabriel March 26, 2017 at 2:35 am

      Thanks so much Buffy…for all of it. Writing a successful novel is definitely on the bucket list (have to master blogging first of course, but I think I’m heading in the right direction). Waiting at the gate to Venice now, so that pizza will become a reality in the near future. I’ll save u a few virtual bites!

      • Reply Buffy Devane March 27, 2017 at 5:54 am

        Well, it’s never too early (or too late) for a first draft… good luck to you, though you’ll need little luck, I know. 🙂
        I look forward to reading it one day… personally I think it’d be just a little better if you create a fabulous, suave hero called Buffy and shove him in somewhere. It’d be appreciated. 😉 😀
        Haha I’m sure I could vaguely taste that pizza last night. 😉 Hope today is a good’un for you, too.

        • Reply Gabriel March 27, 2017 at 10:24 pm

          Thanks Buffy. I think the world is ready for an inversion of Don Quixote. Buffy, the “fabulous, suave hero” on a mission to civilize is attended by his quixotic sidekick Gabe who is fine tagging along on the mission, so long as there are plenty of snack breaks on the way…

          • Buffy Devane March 28, 2017 at 5:28 am

            Haha, sounds good to me: the world needs a bit of civilising by a couple of chaps both fabulous and quixotic (at the same time). 😉
            “Here, Your Grace… more misadventures!” (and then into a reprise of “The Impossible Dream”… or not…)

  • Reply broadsideblog March 25, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    What I know of you from our brief conversation, it’s not at all surprising to hear that you are dogged by PTSD; it’s a shame (or maybe not?) you are far from the U.S. and the medical services you would be entitled to, and maybe some specific support groups, to help you through this.

    As someone who’s felt depression (the clinical kind) a few times, it can feel insurmountable. It is, in that moment — like trying to do pull-ups with a broken arm. I trust you’ll come through.

    Hey, you have all these followers now, dude!!! 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel March 26, 2017 at 2:38 am

      Pull-ups with a broken arm… sounds about right. But I think we have a few more reps left in us. Right?
      And if I remember correctly, you have some exciting travel plans in your near future too. Looking forward to following via your blog!

      • Reply broadsideblog March 26, 2017 at 6:19 am

        It’s a horrible horrible time when you’re in its grips. And, yes, MANY more reps to come. 🙂

        I do…June 3 is departure date. Want to meet up in Croatia? I’m still figuring out where to go after Budapest!

        • Reply Gabriel March 27, 2017 at 10:20 pm

          I’ve never been to Croatia, but have heard that it’s a beautiful getaway. And a long blogger chat in “real life” would be perfect Caitlyn. Let’s be in touch over the coming weeks. We’ll see what we can work out!

          • broadsideblog March 28, 2017 at 6:21 am

            I’m now very intrigued by Istria — which is further from Romania; I spent lots of time last night with my atlas. It’s only a 3 hr drive or boat ride from Venice, which I love, so I’m leaning towards this as a choice, rather than Hvar, etc. which sound amazing but I imagine are going to be really crowded.

            Have been thinking of you…and hope the black dog is now retreating.

          • Gabriel April 2, 2017 at 7:23 am

            Thanks again Caitlin. Just returned from a gorgeous trip to Venice feeling refreshed and ready to get back into the groove again. Over the next few weeks, I’ll look over our schedule, along with the map of Croatia. It really would be a lot of fun to have a drink and a “real life” adventure with a fellow blogger in a new (to me) country!

          • broadsideblog April 2, 2017 at 8:16 am

            Indeed! SO glad you hear that you are feeling refreshed. I haven’t been to Venice in ages — it would be my 3rd (4th?) time.

          • Gabriel April 2, 2017 at 8:18 am

            It’s a new town, everything always changing, so will definitely be worth a return visit to see all the new buildings. You already know this, but be sure to watch out for the rush hour traffic and the noise pollution 😉

          • broadsideblog April 2, 2017 at 8:24 am

            I’m not wild about Venice in the summer so have experienced those issues. I’ll likely only stay 2 or 3 days, then fly to London. My fave spot is the studio of Spanish painter/designer Mariano Fortuny…it looks like he never left (and he died in 1949.

  • Reply Arionis March 25, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    I’ve been there too Gabe. I call mine the BIG D. It had me down in the pit not too long ago. I’m probably halfway back up and I keep telling myself the same things. Depression lies! You are not alone! Hard to believe sometimes but it is true. So take some comfort in the company.

    Looking forward to seeing the outcome of your flash fiction. BTW, I ordered pepperoni pizza once in Venice. It came with nothing but peppers on it. You probably already know that but just in case…

    • Reply Gabriel March 26, 2017 at 2:45 am

      I suspected that I would be touching on a theme that a few could relate to, but am so surprised by how prevalent and pervasive our “Eddie’s” and “Big D’s” are. As far as I’m concerned, you’re far more than another “small cog” in the machinery that makes this blogging community hum so efficiently. (I’m reaching for the metaphor but hope you’ll meet me halfway 😉 I’m trying to say Thank you so much for speaking out and reminding me this isn’t a solo adventure)
      And Monica has similar concerns about the quality of pizza in Venice but I assured her that Dominos is perfect no matter where we get it.

      • Reply Arionis March 26, 2017 at 1:48 pm

        I’d be willing to meet you even more than halfway for that compliment. Thanks!

  • Reply Didi March 25, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    Gabe,
    So recognizable. The struggles, the shame, the blaming yourself. So hard to change.

    “Afraid to go outside, anxious that I’ll make a mistake, and miserable because I realize all of this is irrational.”
    Nothing is irrational as it is your truth. I made some of my worse days even worse by telling myself i was an idiot by feeling like this, i shouldn’t make such a big thing out of it, blaming myself it popped up during a wonderful  time or event etc. etc.
    Never feel guilty about it. When this feelings pops up it just does. Its better to go with the current (flow) and stear your ship until in a safe harbor again than forced stearing against the bad powerfull curents in hope to reach the harbor fast but ro find out that had your ship wrecked and made it a much longer trip to the safe harbor.

    “I could keep this dark and depressing garbage to myself until it passes. Believe me, I want to. It’s humiliating and disgusting. ”
    Never fight this alone. I’ve been there fighting alone and still at times I am. In a depression you tend to forget all the people that are there to help you. Not wanting to bother them, feeling so ashamed. Gabe, the people who care about you and love you  don’t  only care about or love the cheerfull funny you, they love the complete you.

    “I can already tell that I’m going to be able to get out of this pit. ”
    And this Gabe…this is the biggest victory of all.
    Its not a dark botomless pitt anymore. You realize it has a botom and from there you can crawl into the light again.

    Hang on, take your time to go throught it, take care.

    • Reply Gabriel March 26, 2017 at 2:55 am

      I know I’ve said this to you quite a few times already Didi, but your comments put a big smile on my face. You get me. (Probably not great for you ? but based on the surprising outpouring of support we’ve seen here already, we’re in excellent company).
      It’s amazing to recognize how quickly the darkness around me fades as I share some of the difficulties I can’t overcome on my own. The sharing is cathartic on its own, but don’t you agree that seeing others benefit from sharing – showing friends, loved ones, that they are not alone and that there are outstretched hands waiting till help them out of the pit – when they are ready- THIS is why I love blogging so much. Makes it all worth it.
      Thank you (and everyone that voiced encouragement, support, and shared experiences) for being here, and for adding your powerful words.

      • Reply Didi March 26, 2017 at 3:43 am

        Thank you for letting me know what my comments do to you. Im still in a phase where i find it quite scary to share such feelings/comments due to what ive experienced with people around me. You encourage me to not hide again. It might be in a way not good for me to get you, but i can’t  change that, all i can say it’s good for me to have that recognition, see someone else experiencing these things too.

        I wish i had found the time, or courage, to start blogging, for so many reasons. So much, both good and bad, too share.

        I agree about the sharing. Thats how I turned my “experiences” with depression in something positive.  I am there for my militairy colleagues to let their “tough mask” down and talk. I may not have the same experiences as they had but I’ve had a PTSD treatment/depression and  feel their struggle. Its good to help.

        I hope you enjoy your trip to Venezia, surrounded by all grandeur you realuze that you might not be there yet but you areway closer than you were yesterday.

        • Reply Gabriel March 27, 2017 at 10:44 pm

          I’m glad Didi. Keep sharing. It makes a difference.

          And… Venezia è molto bello!

  • Reply Scott (aka Dad) March 25, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    I know that you’ll win this current battle, just as you have so many times in the past. You have so many people that love and care about you, so let us lend a helping hand when you’re feeling down.
    You have a true gift to help others with your insight and your way with words. Always cherish the fact that you have Monika and the rest of us pulling for you. Take every day as it comes and feel the strength that we can add to help you to put Eddie back in his place. You’ll feel the weight lifted off your shoulders and you’ll hear the strong words of encouragement from every one that you’ve touched along the way.
    Enjoy your trip to Venice and especially enjoy the fresh pizza!

    • Reply Gabriel March 26, 2017 at 3:00 am

      I love you Dad.
      We’re at the airport now so we’ll be sharing virtual pizza with u soon enough.

  • Reply DailyMusings March 25, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    Thank you for your candid sharing of who you are. No need to hide on the blogs, I always feel it is here where non judgement exists! I am sorry for your struggle and do hope it lifts and you will be able to enjoy Venice. and the Pizza.

    • Reply Gabriel March 26, 2017 at 3:03 am

      You’re so right. No need to hide. And I sure hope that someone else reading this post (and more importantly, the amazing comments!) will see that they are not alone, and that “this too shall pass.”

      • Reply DailyMusings March 26, 2017 at 7:44 am

        My uncle who lived to 107 would always tell me “everything passes” when things were not going right. Words to remember.

    • Reply Gabriel March 26, 2017 at 3:04 am

      And… pizza for all participants in this crazy life game we’re all playing together?

  • Reply Wendy Weir March 25, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    Not humiliating. Not disgusting. Depression lies, but you already know that. Thinking we don’t want to hear it is one of those lies, so know that we’ll be here, eagerly awaiting your next post, pithy or otherwise. And the one after that, and after that, and I think you see where I’m going with this. Sending you my best–

    • Reply Gabriel March 26, 2017 at 3:10 am

      Thanks so much Wendy! I’m whiling away the minutes at the airport waiting for our flight to board and I’ve gotta say… responding to these comments is undoubtedly the best way to spend that in-between time.
      I’m practically buoyant after all the support you all have shared. I’m telling myself someone else may read this post (more importantly, the comments) and find similar relief that they doubted was possible a few hours earlier.

  • Reply Ann Coleman March 25, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    I’m glad you wrote this post, Gabe! For some reason, I seem to remember you mentioned before that you struggle with depression, but I don’t remember if that was in a post or in a comment I happened to read. Either way, it is a part of who you are, and your willingness to share honestly about your experiences is a good thing for all of us. For those who also struggle with depression, it helps to know they are not alone and to see that you can learn to live with, and around, it. For those who don’t, they get an insight into what living with depression is like. Either way, it’s good to talk about it, to recognize it, and to know we need to help each other when it strikes.

    I’m sorry I’m not saying this well, but what I mean is, your blogger friends (and I hope I am one of them) are always happy to read whatever you write, whether it’s your hilariously funny posts, sharing your art, or sharing your struggle with depression. We are here for you, wherever you happen to be. All of us imperfect people together, just supporting each other the best way we can.
    Wishing you peace, always!

    • Reply Gabriel March 26, 2017 at 3:13 am

      Hehege Ann – I’m the only one allowed to be self-deprecating here? You said it perfectly.
      And you’re absolutely a friend Ann. Remember way back when I was a rookie blogger in January? You were one of the people that showed me how powerful and welcoming the blogging community is!

  • Reply Retirementallychallenged.com March 25, 2017 at 10:09 pm

    A brave and honest post. I wish you good health and peace… and (I hope) all the Venetian pizza you and Monica desire.

    • Reply Gabriel March 26, 2017 at 3:17 am

      Thank you so much! But I have to limit myself a bit on the pizza, this belly is growing faster than dragon rice in boiling water.

  • Reply Liesbet March 25, 2017 at 11:21 pm

    All I can hope for is something that sometimes does the trick for me: sunny skies. Literally. This time of the year, depending on where you live, can get everyone down. No, I am not downplaying how you feel or what’s going on, but, one thing that also might help is the knowledge that you have an unbelievably caring and understanding wife and that the next day can only get (a little bit) better. I also hope that Monica can remain the standing rock; one that never crumbles!

    • Reply Gabriel March 26, 2017 at 3:19 am

      Yes seasonal affective disorder is a real thing too. Plane is boarding now so I’ll have to abbreviate reply but planning to spend lots of time outside (and far away from the dreary concrete jungle of Bucharest)

  • Reply Liesbet March 25, 2017 at 11:27 pm

    Hey Gabe, I was thinking about you the other day, when I saw something else that might interest you. Do you have an email address you can let me know here or on my blog?

  • Reply Photobooth Journal March 26, 2017 at 12:40 am

    I think I get it Gabe, but I’m not sure. All our experiences of these things is so different. Keep writing, please. Your story was great!. Keep pretending, if you need to. Keep dragging yourself out there. Keep talking and talking and talking. Good luck.

    • Reply Gabriel March 27, 2017 at 10:35 pm

      Thanks so much Katherine, and sorry for the delayed response. We are in Venice. It is peaceful and beautiful and perfect. A bit like you advice actually. “Keep pretending… keep dragging yourself out there…” The destination is absolutely worth the journey.

      • Reply Photobooth Journal March 28, 2017 at 12:46 am

        It is a lovely place. I hope it isn’t raining too much. It was when I was there one January. Enjoy your tranquility, Gabe. ?

  • Reply Di March 26, 2017 at 1:38 am

    Hello my new little mate!
    I was thinking you’d been quiet of late. Yes, I missed you here.
    Thank you for sharing your deepest thoughts with us. I cannot claim to understand how you are feeling with this depression but I have witnessed others going through this and all I can say from some amazing teachings from someone called Matt Kahn, is not to be hard on yourself and describe your story as disgusting and something you think no one would want to read about.
    Truth is we care when one of us is down. This is the time you have to love and nurture yourself even more. Denial and shame do nothing to restore you back to life. Sit with it, see what you are strengthening through this experience. You have a beautiful support in Monica by the sound of it.
    All the very best to you Gabriel and with some self kindness, time, patience and love, I trust you’ll be where you want to be very soon. We care…
    Enjoy Venice,
    Warmest regards from Di ?

    • Reply Gabriel March 27, 2017 at 10:40 pm

      Sorry about the delayed reply Di, but you’ll be happy to know I took your advice. We’re enjoying Venice and each other immensely. Extra doses of kindness, patience and love helped quite a bit 😉

      When I get back, I’ll have to check out some of Matt Kahn’s work. Sounds like he has some advice many of us can benefit from.

      • Reply Di March 27, 2017 at 10:43 pm

        Gabriel, I’m sooo happy to hear from you my friend. I’ve been hoping you were ok.
        Well, it’s brilliant news that your absence meant you were having a great time. I’m tingly with excitement for you and your beautiful message.
        Thank you so much… it means a lot…and I’m thrilled for you.
        All the best and please let Venice know I’ll see it one day…
        Hugs to both of you from me ???

        • Reply Gabriel March 27, 2017 at 10:54 pm

          hehehe Thanks Di! I think there might be a few stories to share here. Venice is beautiful!

          • Di March 27, 2017 at 10:56 pm

            Awesome! Some new posts from you, my friend?. I’ll look forward to them all in good time. Buongiorno ???

  • Reply Kate McClelland March 26, 2017 at 5:36 am

    You have been through this before and you already know you are ‘coming through’ the other side of it. I know where I am in a cycle of doom when I close my eyes and picture the sky in my head.
    If it’s black, I know I’m still deep in it. After a while I see little chunks of blue. Once I see that, I know it’s ending. The more blue, the better,
    Have you tried ‘Biofeed Back’? That worked for me rather than therapy or medication (although that works for a lot of people).
    I really hope that you are well enough in time for the trip, you both need it.

    Take care
    Kate x

    • Reply Gabriel March 27, 2017 at 11:00 pm

      Yes! (although for me rather than imaging that I’m looking up at the sky, I’m usually “looking” down. Once I start seeing patches of ground that I can stand on again rather than an abyss that I’m floating in, I know I’m going to be able to start moving beyond it.)

      I’m glad to hear that you’ve had success with Biofeedback. Ecotherapy (being active out in nature) is often very helpful for me as medication, psychotherapy aren’t. There are quite a few options for us now, we just have to keep looking till we find something that works for us (and I’ve found that this often changes over time).

      Happy to say that we’ve made it to Venice. I’m sneaking in a few minutes to reply to comments (still stunned by the enormous outpouring of support and encouragement), but will have to wait till I get back to start digging back into the blogs that I’ve been missing so much for the past week.

      Thank you again Kate!

      • Reply Kate McClelland March 31, 2017 at 1:04 pm

        I’m so glad you’re in Venice! Have a lovely time you both deserve it xxx

        • Reply Gabriel April 2, 2017 at 8:01 am

          It was AMAZING! Looking forward to blogging about it, but first, I’ve got to get caught up on sooooo many great blogs. For some weird reason, the blogosphere keep moving, even though I specifically told it that I was going to be away for a week 😉

  • Reply Almost Iowa March 26, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Eddie lived with me for most of the 1990’s. Let’s just say it was great when he left. I have found, at least for me, that he prefers a younger set and the older I get, the less he wants to hang out with me.

    If that is any consolation…

    Pizza sounds good. I hope they deliver to Saint Mark’s Square

    • Reply Gabriel March 27, 2017 at 11:07 pm

      Sweet! So I’ll just need to wait for another decade or 2 till he moves on 😉
      And I have a really hard time imagining that your “Eddie” got tired of hanging around with you Greg. I’m itching to take a peek over at your blog to see if Stan has made another appearance… (I’m not sure Monica would love the idea of watching me glued to my laptop for several hours as she watches the gondolas pass by our window)

      And about the pizza delivery at St Marks Square… I can’t wait to show you what happened 🙂

  • Reply usathroughoureyes March 26, 2017 at 9:56 am

    Wow Gabe. Thank you for being so brave to share this with us. You are such a special man in our lives and you have our prayers and thoughts always. God has given you a burden and you are going to be victorious as you keep putting one foot in front of the other and letting those that love you lift you in our thoughts and prayers. Your journey, as painful as it is for you, is also that inspiration all of us out here needing to know life isn’t always easy but with support we can do it. We think Dominos speaks all languages because it is pizza is universal.

    • Reply Gabriel March 27, 2017 at 11:11 pm

      Tom and Audrey, I know this reply is late, but we’ve been immersed in a wonderful Venetian escape.
      What a beautiful comment. You’re amazing people. can’t tell you how blessed I feel. And you’re so right on all counts. Even that Domino’s is the universal pizza!

      • Reply usathroughoureyes March 28, 2017 at 8:55 am

        Its exciting that you and Monica are immersed in your current journey. Enjoy the sights and we know as time permits you’ll keep us all updated on the sights and sounds you are experiencing. Until then we anxiously await.

  • Reply the incurable dreamer March 26, 2017 at 10:35 am

    Gabe, you most certainly are not alone, but I know all too well how isolating the demons that live inside can make you feel. I had my first anxiety attack when I was 20, sitting in a hotel conference room in Zakopane, Poland of all places. I have battled the monster who showed up that day, every day since. Some days I am blessed with a reprieve and some days I find myself crying in my car, wondering if the pain will ever stop. But, what I have learned is that I am meant to go through it and that without it I would not be who I am today. It has forced me to face the events that occurred in my life – the ones that gave this monster life – and find a way to overcome them and become who I was always meant to be. And it has given me strength and courage to fight for it.
    After reading your post, I have no doubt you too have learned how to fight. You have shown great courage by sharing this part of yourself with all of us, and I appreciate it more than you know. Your words are a symbol of hope for so many and offer proof that it is possible to win this battle. Don’t give up. Grab hold and fight like hell. You can Gabe. And I know you will.

    • Reply Gabriel March 27, 2017 at 11:19 pm

      Tanya! So sorry for the delayed reply, but I promised I would focus on “the real world with Monica” until we got settled in here in Venice.

      I suspected you would be able to relate, and to be honest, there were moments as I wrote this post, I felt like I was chatting with you. Kills me to think of you having those painful car moments. Even when no one is physically sitting in the seat next to you, please know you’re not alone.
      It means a lot to know that you drew some hope from this. Totally worth it.
      For now, we’re worlds away from those dark periods. The sky is blue. The water is calm. And the wine is friggin delicious!

      • Reply the incurable dreamer March 28, 2017 at 7:33 am

        I am so happy you spent some time with Monica, in the real world, and were able to get on that plane. Though we have never met, I feel as though we are friends, and that if I ever needed someone who understands how I feel, I could easily reach out to you. This blog thing is so much more than I had anticipated. Thank you, Gabe. Now sit back and enjoy the view, enjoy every moment and figure out what the word ‘fart’ is for me in Italian. Whatever it is, I have no doubt it sounds beautiful when it rolls off the tongue! Ha! Stay present my friend, and take it all in. You did it. 🙂

        • Reply Gabriel April 2, 2017 at 7:31 am

          Hey Tanya! Sorry for the reaaaalllly delayed reply, it’s a lot harder to keep up on the phone while traveling then I’d expected. Looks like I’ve gotta learn to be more mobile as we’ll be traveling quite a bit for the next few months. Hope you’ll keep bearing with me as I figure out how to keep in touch while on the move, because I absolutely agree. I consider you a dear friend as well!
          And remember, as the aspiring philosopher (me) once said: Io scorreggio, dunque sono! (I fart, therefore I am)

          • the incurable dreamer April 3, 2017 at 3:24 pm

            hahaha! Thank you for the fart lesson! This quote might become my first ever bumper sticker. And Gabe, there is absolutely no need for you to apologize for the delayed response – I am just so happy you are out and about enjoying yourself! And if you happen to drop off for a while, don’t worry, I will be here when you get back. In the meantime, have a big goblet of Italian wine for me!

  • Reply Papa T March 26, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    Get outside. Look and listen. Be a part, not apart from the natural world around you. I think it shuts Eddie up and let’s you come through

    • Reply Gabriel March 27, 2017 at 11:21 pm

      Thanks Papa T! You’re advice is dead on. We’re walking exploring and playing our way through Venice.

      And glad you haven’t given up on me yet, there will be plenty more “Tales from the Trail” in the future 😉

  • Reply Robin March 26, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    Oh, yes, I have an Edwina of my own. Outwardly, she’s very high functioning, getting on with the business of life. It was only a day or two ago that I recognized that she’s been visiting. I stop doing the things that bring me joy (writing, photography, drawing, even getting outside for my daily walks without someone shoving me out the door). Now that I forced myself to blog again and to visit the beach, I can see that Edwina is on her way elsewhere for a while.

    I enjoyed your story, and very much appreciate that you are willing to share your struggles with us whether they be with depression or brevity. And believe me, I have a BIG problem with brevity. I had to laugh when I read your sentence about telling a story in 1000 words when it could be told in 6. I’m the same way (and probably drive people nuts when I’m making a short story as long as possible).

    I hope things lighten up for you soon and that your “I can’t” has indeed become “We did it!” 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel March 27, 2017 at 11:28 pm

      Thanks Robin and I miss your morning walks and coffee chats so much! I’m already looking forward to catching up when we return. For now, we’re deep in the heart of Venice, enjoying the fruits of another “We did it” moment.

      For what its worth, if you hadn’t told me about your “BIG” problem with brevity, I never would have noticed. Guess this means you’ve got it under control;)

  • Reply Merbear74 March 26, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Depression, anxiety, and PTSD….I have them myself.
    Keep fighting.

    • Reply Gabriel March 27, 2017 at 11:30 pm

      While its good to know we’re not alone, I hate that the membership costs are so high. And we’re in Venice, so I’m calling this another “we did it” moment and a victory against that bastard Eddie.

  • Reply dave ply March 26, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    Hey Gabe – yeah, depression sucks, although it’s been years since I’ve really battled it. Sounds like you have a good support system for getting through it. And you know those mistakes that are paralyzing you? They make for the funniest stories…

    • Reply Gabriel March 27, 2017 at 11:35 pm

      So true Dave. On all counts. I might need the advantage of time to see the funny side of this episode. Fortunately, I’ve been creating a bit of my own comic relief on this trip so far…
      Already looking forward to sharing when we get back.

  • Reply Terri Webster Schrandt March 26, 2017 at 9:38 pm

    A beautiful story (love the pic)! Depression and anxiety are ridiculous! My adult daughter suffered for a few years, got some treatment, etc. Other than a couple of mild cases of SAD (seasonal affective disorder) in the distant past, I could never understand why she was depressed. After just a few recent weeks ago of languishing in a serious case of SAD, this time with full-blown anxiety for the first time EVER, I had to call her and apologize to her for not understanding. Like you, I wanted to quit everything, like the blog, no more book writing, etc waa-waah, pity party… I even gained some weight back. Once I spoke it out loud, (I’ve been craving carbs and sugar), the light bulb went on and I realized my problem. Never make major decisions about things until the PTSD had been dealth with. I’m finally getting good sunshine here on the west coast and that dark veil feels like it has been lifted. You will get through this and by the looks of the 8 million comments, you are loved and respected. 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel March 27, 2017 at 11:42 pm

      Sorry about the late response Terri, we’ve been sucking the marrow out of Venice. And sorry to hear about your tangles with your “Edwina.” I found myself nodding so many times as I read this, especially the parts about regaining weight! I’m gonna have to go back on a diet when we get back. But for the next several days the pasta, seafood, and wine are calling, and I wouldn’t want to be rude 😉
      Isn’t the overwhelming outpouring of support and encouragement amazing? Our blogging community is incredible. While we’re having an amazing time, I’m already excited to return and immerse myself in your blogs again.

  • Reply Monica March 27, 2017 at 1:44 am

    I’m not sure if anyone will read this aside from Gabe. I want to say thanks for all the AMAZING comments. I was worried we might have to postpone a vacation to Venice or “drug him”. ?
    Instead, we are safely in Venice and both very happy. Thank you!

    • Reply the incurable dreamer March 27, 2017 at 5:19 am

      Fantastic news, Monica! Enjoy the pizza and all the other magical and wonderful things Venice has to offer. And most importantly, enjoy every single second you share with each other. Tell Gabe I am super proud of him. All the best to you both!

    • Reply Gabriel March 27, 2017 at 11:43 pm

      Thanks Love- for getting us here… and for not drugging me 😉

  • Reply angelanoelauthor March 27, 2017 at 8:28 am

    Hi, Gabe! The Sarah in your story reminds me of all creative-types in our childlike belief that every tree has the potential to be our next carving stick. And Dad is the incredulous wiser-self, looking not at possibility but obstacle.
    Maybe depression is a little like Dad looking up at an enormous, immovable thing and wondering how to turn it into something beautiful. Maybe Sarah is an antidote to Dad’s feeling. She’s the part of ourselves that sees the enormity, even the futility, and says, “But, I want it anyway.”
    Whatever the message of your story or where your journey takes you- I’m definitely a fan.

    • Reply Gabriel March 27, 2017 at 11:49 pm

      Thanks so much Angela! I was in such a weird place when I “finished” this flash fiction that I’m not sure exactly what I was trying to say, or which “character” I related with most. But now that I read your guidance, I think I have a much better idea about what I’m trying to say.
      Maybe this piece will have some life after all…
      Thank you!

  • Reply Mick Canning March 27, 2017 at 8:54 am

    I’m coming to this two days late, so hopefully you’re bouncing off the walls again, Gabe. Funny, but some of us that drop into the pit occasionally (I do) seem to be the types who spend lots of time trying to be the witty and humorous ones. It seems to be some kind of reaction. I don’t know. Enjoy Venice, it’s a fabulous place!

    • Reply Gabriel March 27, 2017 at 11:53 pm

      One of the benefits to blogging that I’m discovering is that we don’t have to punch a time clock. We’re never late. We, like Gandolph, arrive exactly when we intend to. At least thats what I’m telling myself as I answer these comments more than a day later.
      Your right about wit being a common defense mechanism. I still have plenty of work to do to hone it as a tool, but it looks like the one we’re best equipped to wield.
      You’re also right about Venice… loving it.

  • Reply mydangblog March 27, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    Loved the story–you have so many talents! Hope you have a great trip–remember that I rely on you for travel experiences:-)

    • Reply Gabriel March 27, 2017 at 11:54 pm

      hehehe thanks Suzanne! And your always welcome to join us on our virtual vacations.

  • Reply candidkay March 28, 2017 at 9:13 am

    Gabe–not disgusting. Not at all. So very excruciatingly human–that’s all it is. While I have not struggled with depression in my life, I got a small taste of it when my thyroid started acting up. Little did I know depression is one of the first signs. And I got a tiny glimpse into what a chemical imbalance would feel like–ouch. It’s really a black hole. I’m so glad you have Monica–and your own sweet self. Sending you good thoughts–and knowing this is just one facet of an amazing human being.

    • Reply Gabriel April 2, 2017 at 7:41 am

      Kristine, Sorry about the delayed reply, Venice has been an amazing reprieve (but for future trips, I’m going to need to learn how to stay in touch better while being mobile).
      Hypothyroidism really is a bear to endure. While I was a practicing surgeon, this monster was often the bane of our existence as it could manifest in so many ways, and was easily exacerbated by surgical intervention. Fortunately, levothyroxine (and other supplements) usually restore hormonal balance under non-stressed conditions. Hoping this is true for you as well.
      Thanks so much for the encouragement! I’m still amazed by the overwhelming outpouring of support and encouragement here and via social media. This blogging thing really is an incredible boon. While the trip to Venice was a much needed break, I’m really glad to get back to work (if I can call blogging work).

  • Reply allthethings3 March 28, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    Thinking about you. Just wanted you to know.

    • Reply Gabriel April 2, 2017 at 7:42 am

      Thank you so much Marcie! We’ve just returned and I’m just starting to get back to work. Looks like I’ve missed a lot! Looking forward to catching up on your blog (and your new Facebook group!)

      • Reply allthethings3 April 2, 2017 at 8:17 am

        Welcome home. Hope you had a great trip!

        • Reply Gabriel April 2, 2017 at 8:19 am

          Was incredible, so many stories to share… But first, I’m excited to check out ya’lls blogs. I’ve missed so much!

  • Reply Jeff Riley March 29, 2017 at 7:47 am

    Writing is hard. Writing about the hard stuff is even harder. Or something like that. 🙂 So encouraged by your ability to plow ahead, when the feet feel like concrete blocks. Keep up the great work!

    • Reply Gabriel April 2, 2017 at 7:44 am

      Thanks Jeff! At the risk of sounding maudlin, this trip was as much a psychological one as a physical one. And such a thrill to see the “I Can’t” become a “We did it!”

  • Reply recoveryforallofmyheart March 31, 2017 at 9:47 am

    And I’m really looking forward to remembering that “I can’t” is another step on my way to “We did it.” I love this!

    • Reply Gabriel April 2, 2017 at 7:49 am

      Me too! We’re back from Venice. It was (almost) everything I thought it would be. In this case, the biggest absence was Eddie. He barely made an appearance throughout the whole trip, which is a first for me. And for the record, “We did it!”
      …so you will too.

  • Reply Inside the Mind of Isadora March 31, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    HI Gabe,
    I’m sure you’ll be back to your usual self real soon. I do hope you manage to get to Venice.
    I read a few of the comments. They’ve said a lot of what I would have said too.
    You’ve got a lot going for you. There are many who would give a leg for your blessings.
    Paint or write … it does help you focus on something other than Eddies voice.
    I might be a bit bold to ask, but have you read ….’Getting Past Your Past’. by Francine Shapiro.
    She’s a proponent of a new technique to deal with PTSD. It’s called EDMR therapy. You might want to read about it on Amazon.
    Well … I do hope you begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel real soon.
    Get out there and smile at the sun or view Mother Natures glorious painting waiting for you to admire.
    All the best,
    Isadora ?

    • Reply Gabriel April 2, 2017 at 7:59 am

      Thanks so much Isadora and sorry for the delayed reply (we’ve been busy playing in Venice). You are too kind, but I agree, the writing and painting are gifts that have become a wonderful means of keeping Eddie at bay, and hopefully sharing with others that might need to hear that mental illness is real but doesn’t get to define us, and thanks to the blogosphere, we can be together, even when we feel like we are all alone.
      EDMR, (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) is an interesting new treatment adjunct, especially for PTSD and refractory depression. I haven’t pursued this course of therapy myself, but while I was practicing medicine, I’ve referred troops who have seen impressive improvement. Thanks for sharing, and I’ll add “Getting Past your Past” to my Kindle reading list!

      • Reply Inside the Mind of Isadora April 3, 2017 at 12:14 pm

        No need to apologize on response delays. It can be difficult to get to everyone. I totally understand. EDMR helped tremendously with my hubby’s PTSD. It helped with sleep, anxiety, stress and with organizing thoughts. It is a new treatment. I’m happy that you have taken on the exposure of mental illness as an illness. Mental illness is not contagious. People need to know that those who have wish they did not. Compassion for the persons suffering with it would help them to feel less abnormal.
        Glad you’re rockin’ Venice with your lovely wife. Happy Trails … Isadora ?

  • Reply Lilian @ Lil' Hidden Treasures April 2, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    Gabriel, thanks for sharing you life with us. I hope you get pass your depression soon. I hope that you will have a great time in Venice with your pizza despite Eddie. I will keep you in my prayers that you will overcome this!

    • Reply Gabriel April 2, 2017 at 4:02 pm

      Thanks Lilian! We had an amazing week in Venice, and likely all the more rewarding after the turbulent start.

  • Reply Lisa Orchard April 3, 2017 at 7:01 am

    I’m glad to hear you made your trip and I hope you find your way out of your depression soon. 🙂 I loved your comment on my blog and I can tell you are a bright light in this world. A blog recommendation for you is Jenny Lawson’s blog. It’s titled the Bloggess and she suffers from depression as well, but she’s hilarious. Sometimes a good laugh can help crack the stranglehold that depression has on you. She’s also on twitter and has a lot of followers. They use the hashtag #theblogesstribe they’re incredibly kind and supportive. You may want to check them out. 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel April 3, 2017 at 10:11 am

      Jenny is AWESOME! I’ve been a groupie for quite awhile (on her blog, Twitter, Facebook) and you’re absolutely right. She is crazy and broken and hilarious. My kind of people. And, to return the favor, there is a Facebook group called “Bloggess Pals” that is populated with a few thousand like-minded individuals. The blend of support group, chat fest, and repository for unusual animal GIFs probably shouldn’t work, but it does.

      • Reply Lisa Orchard April 3, 2017 at 10:29 am

        Thanks for the heads up! I didn’t know they had a facebook group as well! I will definitely check it out! 🙂

  • Reply Otto von Münchow April 6, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    It may sound strange, but I feel a lot of encouragement in what you write here. By being so open and sharing you yourself so honestly you create hope for all of us. I wish you all the best.

    • Reply Gabriel April 21, 2017 at 7:11 am

      Thanks so much Otto, and I understand your reaction very well. It’s cathartic to feel some of the weight lifted simply by refusing to hide silently, but it’s incredibly rewarding to hear that you might find a bit of hope and encouragement as well. Makes writing well worth it!

  • Reply bedlamanddaisies April 7, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    I’m well behind on my blog reading while trying to prepare 5 people for an overseas trip! I was so happy as I read through this that you included the update and made it to Venice. Anyone who has the courage to share the hard parts of their story is always sure to touch someone who needs to know that they are not alone. Thank you for your bravery. We are all “broken” in some way.

    • Reply Gabriel April 21, 2017 at 7:14 am

      I absolutely understand being “well behind” on both my blog reading AND blog writing so no worries there. Venice was amazing, followed closely by trips to Vienna and Transylvania. I have plenty of blogs to get caught up on, and a few stories of my own to share in the coming weeks. Cheers!

  • Reply Cecilia April 12, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    I wish that inspiration and joy will fill everybody going around with depression! All the best for you.

    • Reply Gabriel April 21, 2017 at 7:14 am

      Thanks Cecilia and all the best to you as well!

  • Reply Michelle Malone April 16, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    Wow, Gabe! What a beautiful mind you have! I was wondering where you were. I’ve missed your gifts — safely delivered to my e-mail inbox. I will be praying for your release from the miry clay, Virtual Friend. <3

    • Reply Gabriel April 21, 2017 at 7:22 am

      Thanks Michelle, I’ve missed blogging almost as much as I’ve missed sharing in your posts for the past few weeks. Travel has occupied a great deal of my time, but I also needed to take some time to recover before I reengaged. I’m hoping that in the next week or so, I’ll be back in the mix again. In the meantime, thanks so much for checking in and for extending the virtual friendship!

  • Reply Retirementallychallenged.com April 20, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    Hi Gabe. I haven’t “seen” you around for awhile. I hope you are feeling better and that you are somewhere magical enjoying your life. Check in with us when you can to let us know how you are.

    • Reply Gabriel April 21, 2017 at 8:20 am

      Hi back Janis! It has been quite awhile since I’ve been able to participate in our little corner of the blogosphere. Monica and I have been traveling for the past several weeks. I’m normally able to keep up even while mobile, but this recent “funk” forced an unscheduled blogging hiatus. We’re on our way back to Bucharest and I’m REALLY looking forward to catching up with you again. I think we might have picked up a few stories over the past few weeks, but I’m really excited to see whats been happening in your next of the woods as well!

  • Reply RMW April 22, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    Good for you writing about your situation. I really believe it helps to get it out there. My life has been a roller coaster but I am happy to say I am still here. I have learned to take the good days with the bad days. Today is not one of the better days (although not really bad either) but I know tomorrow (or the day after that) I will be on the way up again. Really glad I read your blog post today… sometimes just hearing about somebody else’s experiences can be healing!

  • Reply Holistic Wayfarer April 30, 2017 at 10:16 pm

    Hey, there is a good chance you are deficient in some brain minerals or allergic to B vitamins (that serve the nerves and brain), trace minerals, or sugar even if you may not present noticeable or classic symptoms of allergy. The depression presents itself. Chk out a NAET practitioner in your area. This could change your life. Just go to the site (dot com).

    PS: You don’t order Domino’s in Italy!

  • Reply SueM May 2, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    Depression stinks. I’m sorry that you have to fight against it. :'( I struggle with it as well. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    • Reply Gabriel May 4, 2017 at 11:29 am

      Thanks Sue. Fortunately this wave has come and gone. I’m sending the same back your way as well.

  • Reply Kristine @ MumRevised May 3, 2017 at 10:20 am

    I’m having a hard spring too. I want to be funny and thoughtful here but it is not in me. And, it is Wednesday, so almost wordless is good. The beauty of pizza, gondolas, languages you don’t understand but seems magical, and the soft touch of Monica’s hand will mean tomorrow is a better day. Stay with us.

    • Reply Gabriel May 4, 2017 at 11:31 am

      Kristine! For what it’s worth, the I see you, I keep thinking of your Salmonella video and chuckle every time! Sia may sing about it, but YOU are the GREATEST 😉

  • Reply Barb Knowles May 4, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    So much to comment on here! First of all, the worst thing for anyone to tell me when I’m depressed (major PTSD) is to look on the bright side. So I think your sharing your feelings here is empowering for your readers as well as yourself. This sounds like psychobabble and I really don’t mean in that way. But I was thinking, while reading this, that the fact that you are sharing this post is a bright side for me. And the act of sharing in and of itself is a bright side for you. You don’t have to look for a bright side, which I well know is virtually impossible when one is really down, because you are a bright side. I’m writing myself into circles here. I just mean that your post is very powerful and has touched me deeply.
    Secondly,I have missed “talking” with you. I have fallen behind in reading my favorite blogs and am trying to make up for it now. I came to your blog not because of your “light and pithy” posts but because you are such a good writer and I feel a connection with our senses of humor as well as being able to look our darkness in the eyes.
    Lastly, your description of the leaf is wonderful. Truly and simply wonderful.

    • Reply Gabriel May 5, 2017 at 8:40 am

      Barb! I know exactly what you mean, and I suppose that this was one of my intentions in sharing this post – to provide a bit of hope for those who might relate on some level, to offer a bit of insight for those who might be trying to support a loved one who is struggling, AND to remind myself that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
      It’s so great to see your comment now, which pulled me back to the seemingly long ago moment that I wrote this. It’s great to look back to see how far we can come in a short period. And since I’ve been away from the blogiverse for quite awhile myself, I can completely relate to the need to get caught back up with our virtual friends, and I certainly number you among​ them.
      Looking forward to seeing what you’ve been up to recently too!

  • Reply D. Wallace Peach May 10, 2017 at 10:02 am

    My heart goes out to you, Gabe, for those down times of depression and anxiety. You seem to have a good idea of their nature, their pattern perhaps, how they affect you, how others can help, and what it feels like to emerge. Some time has passed since you posted this, so I hope the upswing has persisted. Sending you much light.

    And I loved the story exactly as it is. You’re writing is sublime, the detail exquisite, the emotion unfolding within the reader through your rich imagery. Don’t force it into word counts or writing paradigms except as an exercise. I’ve always believed that stories are entities that possess, among other things, an organic length, and our job as writers is to discover it not change it. Happy Writing.

    • Reply Gabriel May 10, 2017 at 10:25 am

      Yay! I’m happy you found this sniper of prose I put together. I think you might be overly generous with your feedback, but something about this piece resonates with me, even if it might not be complete.
      It’s very encouraging to get feedback from an established writer. Thank you so much!

  • Reply Hayley May 25, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    I’m glad you did bare you soul Gabe, because so many of us out there can relate. Myself included. We cannot live by the light all the time, which reminds me of that beautiful quote ‘There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in…’ xx

    • Reply Gabriel May 25, 2017 at 9:17 pm

      This is a great point Haley. I’ve become a fan of a similar quote by Hemmingway: “We’re stronger in the places we’ve been broken” as well.
      And thanks so much for following!

      • Reply Hayley May 29, 2017 at 4:03 am

        Ooo I like that one! Thank you for sharing, and it’s my pleasure to follow your heartfelt blog ?

        • Reply Gabriel May 29, 2017 at 3:27 pm

          Thank Haley and glad you appreciated this post. And you’re blog is going to be a wonderful addition to my regualr WordPress reading routine as well. Cheers!

          • Hayley June 1, 2017 at 5:12 am

            You’re welcome Gabriel, I love making new connections and look forward to reading more of your writings too! Wishing you a peaceful day ?

  • Reply Feelings — and what to do with them – Broadside May 30, 2017 at 7:21 am

    […] Several bloggers who reveal their painful and difficult emotions, (without becoming maudlin), are Anne Theriault, a Toronto mother of one who has written eloquently about her struggles with depression and anxiety at The Belle Jar and Gabe Burkhardt, whose new blog has described his battles with PTSD. […]

  • Reply b. breazeale June 1, 2017 at 8:06 am

    This too my breath away and brought tears to my eyes, Gabe. I struggle with all of the same issues. It’s crippling. Just started a blog this morning about this very same thing… I’m trying on happiness again, and it feels so very uncomfortable… and am finding myself sliding down the rabbit hole, holding on to dear life to the edge… I really, really don’t want to go there again… theclimb up has been so very steep, and I’m tired. Anyway, just wanted to tell you, you are a beautiful writer and You have a gift. Thank you.

    • Reply Gabriel June 2, 2017 at 8:27 am

      That’s one of the many wonderful things about this blogiverse isn’t it Natalie? We get the chance to connect with so many others who can relate with our struggles and perhaps, share a bit of the journey.
      I understand your weariness. And, for what it’s worth, I’ve learned not to be disappointed with myself for needing to take “timeouts” to rest and regroup. I almost always pop through the other side better and sparkly-er than before.
      Cheers Natalie!

      • Reply b. breazeale June 2, 2017 at 8:37 am

        🙂 agreed. Question. What other blogs do you love… new to this world.. I got the writing part down.., probably should read as well!!!

        • Reply Gabriel June 2, 2017 at 8:38 am

          hehehe too many to list here. But a good place to start is to follow the comment links (just click on the icon and you’ll be sent to their blog). Happy Blogging!

  • Reply #themaskwriter July 5, 2017 at 11:06 am

    please, don’t be afraid of your depression.

    i know you feel lost, and barely have any energy. but there is a way out.

    what is helping me is believing that depression is a friend rather than a foe. it’s creating the space for me to be with myself, and to understand how am i constructed. from where these feeling and thoughts come from and how can they help me.

    journal a lot. the most you can.

    right now you’re a flower that had already reached its peak. you’re dying, but you have still seeds of hope inside you. lay those seeds in the fertile soil of darkness, let them sit there for as long as they need to. but nurture them. give them light, and water, and delicious nutrients. so they will grow in even more beautiful flowers.

    there’s magic in you, use it. (;

    also, beautiful story. that pregnant drop made me smile. <3

    • Reply Gabriel July 6, 2017 at 7:37 am

      Thank you so much for the insightful comment. I don’t know if I’ll ever consider “Eddie” my friend, but I do recognize his position and influence in my life, without ceding my identity or authority.
      Self-acceptance, patience, and self-love these 3 are not traditional “guy” virtues, but I’m learning to embrace them and find even more joy in life.

      • Reply #themaskwriter July 6, 2017 at 8:35 am

        eddie may not be ever your friend, but surely is a master. and evil one, but still a master. (;

    Now it's your turn to play!

    %d bloggers like this: