The author searches for a way out of his latest bout of depression.
Mood music for this post: “The Downward Spiral” by NIN:
I was going to start this with some amusing anecdote about how I’m suffering so others might be saved. Jesus already did that sort of thing, of course. Dopes like me think it’s good to suffer to benefit others, but it’s just delusional thinking we engage in to feel better about ourselves when the chips are down.
That aside, I have been in an emotional downward spiral these last few days.
Yesterday started with a gloomy mood, then my spirits lifted as I started to tackle some work projects. Then my mood sunk deep after something I thought would help the family finances fell through.
All things considered, it wasn’t a bad day from there.
I had a pretty productive work day, getting a podcast done and launching a new crop of articles, though it took everything I had not to let my mood interfere with the tasks at hand. I also didn’t go on a fast-food binge on the way home like I used to do. I just went home — sitting through two traffic jams on the way — and collapsed into my bed for an hour. That was better than throwing away my sobriety and abstinence.
Seeing that I was in a fragile state, Erin insisted I go to an OA meeting, which I did. It helped a lot. It was nice to get out of my head for an hour and hear people talk about their recovery and how they’ve hung on to it despite difficult times like these.
From there my mood started to lift. I came home to find that Sean and Duncan had done all my chores for me, and Sean hugged me and called me the “best Dad ever.” Those kids can tell when their Dad isn’t himself. After putting them to bed Erin and I collapsed into bed and talked about the day’s events.
We didn’t figure out the solution to our troubles, but the conversation knocked my perspective back into line.
We talked about other people we know who are going through their own financial troubles, and by comparison our situation isn’t as bad. Our marriage is still rock-solid. We have beautiful children and a vast support network of family and friends. God is never far from us, and if we keep our cool it’ll all work out.
One thing’s clear: I have to keep my recovery whole.
I have to because when I’m in the vice-grip of my addictions, I’m useless as a husband and father.
I also sponsor people in OA, and if I blow it I can’t help them.
There are also family members with troubles of their own, and I have to keep it together for them.
There are some bright spots to this story.
For one thing, my family is getting better at knowing what to do when I’m in a funk, which is basically to let me be withdrawn for a while.
Most importantly, looking at the last couple years, I’m much happier today, even though money is tight.
A few years ago money was no problem, but I was seriously fucked up. I was 280 pounds of self-destructive mayhem under the control of his addictions and riddled with fear and anxiety.
Today I’m sober, abstinent from binge eating and the fear and anxiety went away a long time ago.
I’ll take today’s state of affairs over the old way any day.