Wednesday, October 28, 2015

On sinking. On resurfacing.

We've been in Evergreen for almost a year. We moved away from Minnesota about 13 months ago. I can't quite recount all of the changes our family has gone through in the last 13 months. Some of that is due to my bad memory and some is self-preservation. Our lives have been insane. We asked for and willingly signed up for a lot of the insanity, but other things have been thrown at us, as life tends to do.

I am more okay with uncertainty than most, which is why we signed up for a lot of the insanity. Plenty of people have told me they could never move halfway across the country with no actual idea of where they would end up. They could if they had to, I suppose, but they would never willingly do so. We did.

This summer was really great and really hard. We finally landed and got more settled than we'd been in a long time when we bought our house and closed on it in May. We all breathed a huge sigh of relief and the kids settled in with sports and homeschooling. Jim traveled a ton and we adopted a really sick puppy and I got a new position as director of our homeschooling group and I trained for a marathon and I felt myself starting to sink.

I've spent a lot of time in my head lately. That's a scary place to be because I have quite the talent of using the few undergrad psych classes I took and psychoanalyzing the heck out of myself. It can also be a necessary place to be because of a family and personal history of depression. When I feel myself sinking, I try to keep tabs on myself to make sure the quicksand of depression doesn't pull me under.

It's not foolproof. In fact, trying to keep tabs on one's own depression is nearly impossible. I've needed meds a few times before because, in spite of my best efforts, I just kept sinking. Because where depression is involved, best efforts just don't mean a darn thing. The thing about depression, at least my depression, is you're ok and you're ok and you're ok, holding on, only waist-deep in the quicksand right up until the moment that you're not ok, but by the time you're not ok, you don't care anymore. In fact, you think you don't deserve to be any more or better or fuller than you are right that second.

But, lately, the few times I've felt myself sinking, I haven't gotten in over my head. I actually think this has nothing to do with me. I think I've just been lucky.

I'm to the point now where I think I am resurfacing.

I drove home from a work meeting on Friday. I drove along a stretch of road that parallels the start of the foothills of Colorado. The city lay on one side and the mountains on the other. Rain clouds surrounded me, but the sun shone through in a few places and that light, that brilliance, jumped out at me. The light and the dark. The sky and the earth. The mountains and the city. Death and life. Both and everything and all of it. I was alone in the car so I turned on my favorite songs as loud as possible and sang even louder. I saw a train and started to say, "Asher, do you see the long train?" before I remembered it was just me, good music, and my thoughts.

I saw possibility and beauty. I felt them in the deep part of me that I miss when I'm sinking, my soul. They came to me freely, without a deep search on my part.

I went for a run on Sunday, my first since the marathon on October 4. I went for another run on Tuesday. Today I did a bit of strength training. These are ways I know I'm resurfacing and I know that by doing them I will rise higher.

Life is ebb and flow, up and down, beauty and pain. Sometimes we get stuck in the flow, the down, the pain. Sometimes it is a time of necessary grieving. Other times it is depression. Sometimes maybe it is a smattering of both.

If you're reading this and you're sinking or resurfacing or as low as you think you can go, please know you're not alone. And no one, not a single one of us, is strong enough to get out of the lowest point alone. And you deserve to not be at the lowest point. Even if you don't believe that right now. Please reach out. Say help. Call me. Email me.

And if you know someone who looks like they're hurting, who isn't him or herself, reach out. Call. Email. Text. Show up with popcorn and a movie. Or a puppy and walking shoes.

We're all in charge of each other. We all belong to each other.

It's really our only hope.


  1. Great post. Inspiring for me. Thank You.

    1. Thank you for your kind and supportive words. Many people are reaching out, letting me know they have felt this way or are in it now. Hopefully we can all lift each other up.

  2. I saw you sinking a while back and I tried to do my little piece by coming out unannounced to spend the day and help. I need to do that more often. I have felt down lately. Not depression down but just in a funk. The thing is - my depression is like yours. I don't know how bad it is until I'm BAD. Good thing we have each other to watch out for us as well as two men who would do anything for us. Love you and thank you for your beautiful post.

    1. That was hugely helpful. Thank you for everything.

  3. Hard to believe that other people feel this same way especially when it appears from the outside that everything is peachy. I think you are strong in so many ways and you running the marathon even when you were struggling attests that! I recently read The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer and it is exactly all of what you talk about and strive for. Finding beauty in all things and especially within yourself. You should read it, I think you would love it!! Keep sharing your life with us, I love it!

    1. Thanks, Karla. The longer I live, the more I realize that no one has any idea what goes on within the four walls of another person's home and life. I hope all is well in IA and I hope we'll meet up in MN one of these visits. Or, you can always vacation in CO. :)