Stumbling in the Darkness


Depression sucks. 

Depression sucks the life out of you.

Then, someone will tell you “just pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get on with life….”

Uh, huh.  Have you ever thought about that statement?  Do you even know what boot straps are?  If you do, you can maybe understand why I think this is about the stupidest statement ever made.

Here is a cowboy boot:

A cowboy boot comes up about mid-calf, so for the sake of argument, I will allow you a hunt boot, which comes up to your knee (to give you a little more leverage):

On the english boot, the strap is on the inside, but you can see the stitching where it’s located.

Now, picture this:  Life gives you a good sucker punch to the gut, followed by a whack upside the head.  Or, if you prefer to stay with a horse related theme, let’s say that crazy horse of yours has bucked you off… at any rate, you are laying in the dirt, struggling for breath… not only have you no real idea how you really got here, but you wonder how in the world you are going to get up. 

The best scenario involves a friend who will come and give you a hand. But sometimes it’s someone close to you who’s doled out that sucker punch, so you can’t always depend on that.  No, you may have to get up on your own.  So – pull yourself up by those boot straps!  Picture yourself laying flat on your back.  You’ve got those boots on!  So, reach up, grab those straps, and pull.  Hmmm – not happening?  Not getting up that way?  Okay, here, I’ll even give you a cheat –

Boot hooks.

These are just what they say they are – hooks to help pull your boots on.  Or, in this case, pull yourself up by.  You loop that hook right through that boot strap and haul yourself on up.  Still nothing?  C’mon, try harder!  Harder!!

Geez, loser.  Can’t pull yourself up?  I can guarantee you, no matter how hard you tug on your bootstraps while you are laying on the ground, you will never, never, get up that way.

You will, eventually, have to try something else. If it was an easy fall, you may be able to just sort of pop up.  A harder fall, you may have to roll over and use your arms and your legs to push yourself up.  A serious, life-changing sort of fall?  You may lay there awhile.  Then, you may have to drag yourself over to the fence and slowly, gingerly pull yourself into a sitting position.  How long it takes you to get all the way up is anyone’s guess.

I have been living under a cloud for… years.  Over a decade and a half.  Oh, I’m waaay better than I was at the beginning – back when life blindsided me, tossed me under the bus, however you want to put it.  A traumatic event happened in my life, and I have yet to get fully “over it”.  I’m no longer standing in front of the medicine cabinet, wondering if I have enough stuff in there to end my life or not… Thank the Lord.  In fact, most people who know me wouldn’t know this about me.  I seem fairly happy on the outside.  I actually feel fairly happy on the outside. I make people laugh – alot.  I just have this… underlying sadness; it is always with me.  And what I’ve realized is that I am not really living life.  I am not fully “here”.  I’ve spent so much time under this fog that the years have gone by in haze – I am missing it.  

My little girl is 13.  Already.  Don’t get me wrong – I have enjoyed being a mom, and loved the moments we’ve spent… but I wonder how much I have not enjoyed.  Not just the mom stuff, but all the life stuff!  I want it to stop.  Not life, like I wanted in the past, but the sorrow.  The missing.  Living in the past so I can’t live in the now. 

It is time to try.  Not to pull myself up by the boot straps, ’cause that’s plain stupid.  And impossible.  But to let the past be the past, to embrace the future, without fear, come what may.  I don’t want to miss today because I am in fear of being knocked down in the future.  I am going to try, God help me.  Because, I know He will.

4 responses »

  1. Ann,

    Reading this post just knocked the wind out of me! It is so beautifully written, and by that I mean it describes so well the feeling of depression and how it steals so much from you. So much of what you wrote could describe what I have been through. Please don’t give up…life can be better. If it takes medication, so be it.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you~

    • Thank you – for both your comment and your concern. I have no plans to give up… I just keep plugging along. I know I am certainly not the only person who has been in this spot…

  2. I just wanted to say that I feel exactly like what you wrote

    “underlying sadness; it is always with me”

    That is how I feel all the time and it does suck the life out of you. I just wish I could find something that “worked” for me, even if it was medication. It just makes me tired. Tired of living it, tired of thinking about it, tired of talking about it…just plain tired! Also, my own daughter is 12 and I also feel like I’ve missed too much and just want to enjoy living.

    I enjoy reading your blog and I do pray that things get better for you and your family.
    Take Care. Lisa

    • Lisa – I tried to post a comment on your blog but I kept getting an error msg – hope you return here to read this! Sorry for all you’ve been thru lately… life is so hard sometimes. I sooo understand the “tired” issue! Totally relate. I certainly have nothing against medication if it works… the side effects scare me some. I did try it – but for me, although it took away the darkest part of the sorrow, it also took away the brightest part of any happiness I may have felt… I was just basically flat, numb. That’s no way to live either. You will be in my prayers as well…

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