Tag Archive | Suicide

The Valley

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Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…

Psalm 23:4

And one day your vision will have narrowed to a pinhole. Your heart will weep. There will be fire in your brain and a roar in your ears.

You will lean far over the balcony rail. You will fashion a noose.

But you will wait. And you will hate yourself for it.

The next day you will wake and eat a cinnamon roll. And for no reason, life will make sense again.

You will vacuum. You will take a shower.

Then, unexpectedly, a tractor trailer will pull up outside and carry you out of town. And you will love yourself for it.

Wait for it.

Links of the Week – March 20, 2015

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* The End Of White Christian America Is Nigh: Why The Country’s Youth Are Abandoning Religious Conservatism

* Justice System to 13-Year-Old Girl: It’s Not Rape Because You Have Curves – (Women, if you’re not enraged yet, you’re not paying attention.)

* Cops On An 11-Year-Old Who Says She Was Raped: “Child’s Promiscuous Behavior Caused This”

* Pope Francis’s Pledge Of Zero Tolerance For Child Abusers Being Tested In Chile

* Alpha Males And Sexual Abuse Of Women

* Understanding Abusers: There Is No Stereotype For Offenders

* “I Am Called A Whore”: Ashley Judd Unloads On The Internet’s Grossest Trolls

* “Son Of A Bitch!” Jon Stewart Hammers “Disingenuous” GOP And “Dumb-Ass” Dems Over Anti-Sex Trafficking Fiasco – (As he should. Fuckers.)

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* National Organization Of Women – (Stand up for women! God doesn’t seem to be helping.)

* Put A Woman On The $20!

* Behold The Unexpected Awesomeness Of The Taco Doughnut

* Racist Oklahoma Video A Sign Of Regression In Race Relations In America

* Millennials Are More Racist Than They Think

* PostSecret: If Jesus Were Here – (He does…)

* PostSecret: Babar

* Find A Death: The Death Of Jeanine Deckers: The Singing Nun – (“It took fourteen years for Jeannine to give up the ‘friend’ thing and sip from the furry cup and join the Order of the Practical Shoes.” And then I died! 😀 )

* Find A Death: The Death of Greg Plitt – (Leg day! 😀 )

* For When You Think That No One Will Ever Love You

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* Disenchanted With Losing, Andy Landers Calls It Quits After 36 Years Of Coaching The Lady Dogs – (A pioneer in women’s basketball, and the only Lady Dog coach I’ve ever known.)

* Psalm 37: How To Receive The Desires Of Your Heart – (As long as God decides it’s OK. And he doesn’t have anything better to do. And he really exists. Now does that really sound like granting the desires of MY heart? No. It does not.)

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* A Boy And Her Dog: Mail Is Not A Gender

* A Boy And Her Dog: Topless In The Locker Room

* A Womanonymous: Shock

* A Womanonymous: Wild Offering – (Post of the Week)

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* Black Bear Lodge Adventure Therapy – (I wonder how much this costs…)

* Workplace Suicide Rates Rise Sharply

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* 21 Harsh Truths No One Tells Teens

* 5 Reasons To Suspect That Jesus Never Existed

* Catcher David Ross’ Approach To Game Anything But Routine – (Oh, Rossy! My favorite!)

* Contributions Of David Ross Go Beyond The Numbers

* Joe Maddon Is Binge-Watching ‘The Office’ At Cubs’ Spring Training – (Oh, Joe! My favorite!)

* Largest Group Of U.S. Presbyterian Churches Allows Same-Sex Marriages – (OK, Methodists. We’re starting to look like backward-ass snake handlers now! Left behind, indeed!)

* From Patrick Stewart’s Birthday Party – (Can I get these guys to come to my birthday party?!?)

* When People Ask Me About My Job

* My Weekend Plans

* For The Bodybuilder/Weightlifter/Harry Potter Fan In Your Life

* Sheetcake Arrives At Banquet Saying “Stewardshit” – (Also, DAVID TENNANT!)

* Genderqueer Fashion

* Fuck Yeah, Androgyny!

* Fake Self-Help Books – (!!!)

* “Life’s Lil Pleasures” Mini Book – (The. BEST! ❤ ❤ ❤ )

* Nine Handy Curses Appropriate For Modern Life – (“May your coffee always be decaf.”)

* Creekside Cabin: Pet Friendly Cabin On The Creek – (It may be time to plan a vacation week…)

* You Can Now Anonymously Send A “Bag Of Dicks” To Your Enemies (Or Your Friends?)

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* Do Cats Dream?

* Awesomely Luvvie: “Pastor” Creflo Dollar Is Trying To Raise $65 Millon For A Plane

* Awesomely Luvvie: Dear Fellow Christians, About This Christ Crutch We Use To Justify Foolery…

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“Humans will always place our trust in things that will fail us. We will always insist on giving pieces of our heart to things that simply cannot love us back.”

– Nadia Bolz-Weber, “A Sermon On Addiction…”

“How come if you don’t give up on the person you love, the Hallmark Channel calls that ‘romance;” but on the Lifetime Network, if you don’t give up on the person you love, they call it ‘stalking?”’

Deanna Dennis

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Links of the Week – February 27, 2015

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* 10 Ways To Be Her True Life Superhero

* How I Feel About My Responsibilities

* Christianity Without The Cross

* 24 Times Your Favorite Kids’ Cartoons Suddenly Got Really Deep

* Fun With Kirk And Spock – (WHY do I not own this book?)

* 27 Times Tumblr Used Art History Perfectly To Make A Point

* How We Talk About Our Teachers – (Turns out we use different descriptors depending on if they’re male or female)

* Star Trek Spock With Ears Socks

* The “Golden Years” Are Gone: Why Retirement Is Hell For Women – (Oh good. Something else to look forward to.)

* How Much I Was Distressed During “Fox and the Hound”

* Julia: Turn Turn Turn

* Game Day Program – Ohio State vs. Indiana – Thanksgiving Day 1903 – (So cool!)

* When I Hide In The Bathroom Stall Until I Hear My Coworker Leave So I Don’t Have To Make Small Talk With Them – (Every time.)

* Check Out Ambidextrous Pitcher Pat Vendittes’ Chthulu-Like Glove

* Adventure Time Oreo Necklaces

* Subway Riders Can Be Animals – (Awesome paintings!)

* You’re Not Happy Because You Never Learned To Be

* The Emory Wheel Editorial Board: Gender Neutral Pronouns Necessary For Inclusivity

* Just Let Them Kiss Already: Why Are TV Shows Are So Weird About Male Relationships?

* I Can Haz Cheezburger?: Extrovert vs. Introvert – (As illustrated by cats…)

* Why Each Sign Is Dangerous – (Scorpio)

* Stained Glass Backboards Are Completely Unnecessary And Beautiful

* 10 Things I Wish I Knew At The Beginning Of Sobriety

* 19 Anti-Social Motivational Posters That I Really Want To Hang In My Office

* Study: What Are The Most Addictive Foods? – (This is why I have frozen pizza six nights a week…)

* “My Mom Can Kick Your Ass” Kid’s T-Shirt

* After His Brother’s Suicide , Writer Seeks Comfort “In All The Wrong Places”

* Inflatable Toupee

* Get The Picture: Stubborn Is As Stubborn Does – (You can only do so much)

* 19 Pictures That Will Hurt Your Fragile Soul – (Owwwwwwwwwww!)

* The Refuge: A Healing Place – Depression

* The Center: A Place For Hope

* Photos: Evan Gattis The Astro

* Unlocking “The Woman Code”: 4 Tips To Know Your Value

* Unexpressed Emotions, Rage And Depression

* NASA Sees “Bright Spots” On Dwarf Planet In Our Solar System – ( OoO )

* This Wondrous Dutch Light Installation Mimics The Northern Lights – ( ❤ ❤ ❤ )

* A Tortured Soul, Josh Hamilton’s Battle Was Never Over

* To Boldly Go: Uhura

* GPS In Shoulder Pads: Vanderbilt Goes High Tech

* The Frisco RoughRiders Have Your New Favorite Presidential MiLB Logo – (Must have a cap with Big Head Teddy!)

* “I’m Scared” T-Shirt

* “Worthless” T-Shirt

* Reviewing My 2015 Goals Thusfar – (11 out of 26. Eh.)

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“As other girls prayed for handsomeness in a lover, or for wealth, or for power, or for poetry, she had prayed fervently: let him be kind.”

 – A Spy In The House Of Love, Anaïs Nin

“I turned over in bed and listened to the traffic in the rain. A few cold, clear truths rose one by one through my consciousness like a flock of birds: I wasn’t even remotely worthy of William and I wasn’t ever going to have him; I’d asked my mother to lend me money and she’d said no; I’d given all the change to the cabdriver; no one was going to pay off my debts; no one would save me from myself. I fell asleep to the soft beating of wings in my head.”

 – In The Drink, Kate Christensen

“One fine spring morning I awoke in my own bed alone, with an ache in every orifice and a memory of bending over on the Christopher Street Pier at four in the morning with my drawers around my ankles while John stood behind me, holding my hips. As I gripped a piling to keep from tumbling into the Hudson, I gazed down into the filthy water and thought gaily to myself, Well, here I am, and this is me.”

In The Drink, Kate Christensen

“Throughout these long afternoons outside with her, I was always conscious of being a speck at the bottom of a vast, ragged bowl of rock under the empty sky, buried in the silence and heat, surrounded by blank sand. The foothills, with their gray-green mesquite fur, rolled away to faraway mountains that sat sharp-spined on the horizon, unconnected to the valley floor, as if they’d been set down ready-made. The buttes and mesas to the west glowed deep red; veins of magenta and green spidered along rock formations shaped like tablets or giant hands, stacked in layers of cinnabar, crimson, brick. Masses of clouds echoed the rock shapes in their charcoal or ocher strata, wind-shaped crags so dense they looked mineral. The air was thick with the breath of sage and hot dust. At sunset the air hung low, striated like a weird plowed field of pigmented earth, backlighting the mountains with shirred, neon clouds, leaching all the color from the rocks, abstracting the bushes to dark cutouts. The wind moved like a huge hand through the valley, filling me with a restless, empty impatience I later identified as loneliness.”

In The Drink, Kate Christensen

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Links of the Week – January 30, 2015

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* Introvert Notebooks

* Go! Penguin Go! – (For all you people who love Batman AND hockey!)

* A Pitbull-Dachshund Mix Exists And This Is Not A Joke – (Sweet little freak!)

* Chekov Ear Bug Maze


* Gwyneth Paltrow Gets Vagina Steam At Spa

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* People Who Attempt Suicide Don’t Want To Die

* Therapy Is Work, But Worth It: Alrightynot

* New Era “R2D2” Cap – (So cute!)

* Some Dogs Love Vampire Weekend – (Hello? This is dog – on the bongos.)

* It’s OK, We Can’t Deal With The Feels Either – (Ouch! My heart!!!)

* Census Finds One In Five Children Depend On Food Stamps To Eat

* ‘Zombie Cat’ Crawls Out Of Grave, Finds Its Way Home

* InTouch‘s Transphobic Story On Bruce Jenner Causes Outrage – (Mean people suck.)

* Controversial Homeless Jesus Statue Coming To Orlando

* Yogi Berra Has Some Sage Advice For Bill Belichick And The Patriots – (You tell ’em, Yog!)

* When Another Couple Gets Engaged On Facebook

* Me Trying To Get A Hold Of My Life

* My Reaction To Pretty Much Everything After Reaching My Mid-20s

* Indoor Smores! – (Here it comes…)

 

* January 2015 Ratings: CNN Up Double Digits

* DIY Conversation Hearts – (You Suck! Bite Me! Kiss My Ass! – Sing it, Bart!)

* Bob’s Burgers Tina T-Shirts – (Woot!)

* Sorority Recruitment Disempowers Women – (Preach!)

* Tackling The Biggest Dating Myth: “I’m Unloveable” – (Whatever. If your life looks like a duck…)

* A Bioluminescent Bloom In Hong Kong – (Amazing pictures!)

* “I Think Every Girl Is A Type Of Slut”: What An Attempted Mass-Murderer’s Words Say About Our Sexual Culture

* What To Serve At A Patriots Super Bowl Party – (Funny!)

* “Frozen”: Why Kids Can’t “Let It Go” – (The child psychology of “Frozen”)

* Loch Ness Monster Soup Ladle – ( ❤ ❤ ❤ )

 

Links of the Week – January 16, 2015

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* 7 Reasons To “Queer” 2015

* 12 Things Men Are Forgetting About Being Men

* PostSecret: One Small Gesture Of Kindness

* 22 People Who Are Not Ready To Be A Proper Adult Yet

* 24 People Doing The Whole Jesus Thing Wrong

* And The Moral Of The Story Is… Kids Don’t Always Understand The Moral

* Big Problem: Study Shows That 1/3rd Of Male Students Would Rape A Woman

* Handmade Personalized Plush Dolls – (Wonderful!!!)

* Craig Ferguson Was My Sober Shining Light: How The ‘Late, Late Show’ Host Made Me Want To Stop Drinking

* Donating A Single Rollerblade Is Not Going To Help Disaster Victims – (…or the needy)

* Double Chocolate Chip Cookies – (WOOT! PRAISE BREAK!)

* ESPN Mean Tweets

* Church In Lakewood Stops Woman’s Funeral Because She Was Gay – (#notmyjesus)

* Fat Guy Receiving Touchdown + Bowling Celebration + Fat Guy Cartwheel = YES! YES! YES! – (Mercer U. Football and my Link of the Week!)

* Homeless Kitten Born Without Eyelids Gets A Family – (Dawwwwwww!)

* Jake Tapper: I’m Ashamed By U.S. Leaders’ Absence In Paris – (Nail head, meet hammer.)

* No More Classical Music On WABE

* “I Was Dropped…” T-Shirt – (Feel free to order and ship to me!)

* Milo, Transgender Teen, Shares Transition Through Birthday Pancake Photos

* Milwaukee Brewers Roll Out “Timeless Tickets” – (I would totally get one of these for the Braves – if they weren’t moving out of Atlanta.)

* Raising My Rainbow: Mom, What If I Date A Transgender Person? – (Blog post of the week!)

* Stunning Set Of Vintage Inspired NASA Posters

* Recreating The Awkwardness: What About Grandma? – (This is really sweet!)

* Reverend Christopher Edward Carlton Funeral Service – (Why would I link to the video of a funeral service? This requires some explanation. Rev. Carlton was a much loved minister and counselor in our UMC Conference. He fought an ongoing battle with bipolar disorder and depression. A few weeks ago, the darkness overwhelmed him and he committed suicide. Watching this video brought me to tears. He was obviously an amazing man who had an extraordinary influence on thousands of lives. But his struggle…. Oh how I feel his struggle. The ministers who spoke here handle it so deftly, and so humanely and with so much true emotion at the loss of their friend. I guess I share this because I could’ve been Christopher. I get Christopher. I wish there were something I could’ve done to help Christopher. Despite the fact that I didn’t even know him, even in death he has ministered to me.)

* Sad Chipper Jones Live-Tweets The CFB Championship With Selfies – (Teh AWESOMESAUCE!)

* Schools Arming Students With Canned Goods – (Alabama. Say no more…)

* Schwings Shoe Wings – (MUST HAVE!)

* “Meet The Family” Mutant Family Portraits

* Glow In The Dark Murals – ❤ ❤ ❤ (My house needs these!!!)

* Whose Aunty Is This With The Stuggle Feet In White Kitten Heels? – (And then I fell out!)

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“During that time, the Brothers found out that I didn’t drink – never had – and they forced alcohol on me…. It took only a few swigs to loosen me, like my body was remembering something, an echo, or awakening to something, a birthright…. I now better understood how my father succumbed to it. It was a respite from worry, a rotgut way out, time deliriously spent, time unconcerned with the true costs to be paid later. I better understood the little lies liquor told, lifting spirits and drowning sorrows while withholding the whole truth – that, in the end, it is the spirit in peril of drowning. Sorrows have gills.”

– Charles Blow, “Fire In My Bones”

“…I’d come to understand that I sometimes confused the need for attention with a desire for sex. For much of my life I would crave attention with a carnal intensity. From anyone. From everyone. That feeling of being chosen…,to cover the emptiness I felt or to fill in the hole, the desired culmination being not so much physical intimacy as emotional affirmation. The boy who had once felt invisible would forever ache simply to be seen.”

– Charles Blow, “Fire In My Bones”

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Don’t Give Up

My friend Michael from Sunday School class killed himself on Friday. If you’ve never been depressed, you’ll never understand what a temptation suicide is. No more pain. No more sadness. No more nothingness. No more responsibilities. No more life to endure. The whole idea seems like such a relief.

I despise anyone who calls suicide cowardly. The only reason I survived my deep depression was because I wasn’t brave enough to kill myself.

What I say to you if you are in that place is that it can get better. Life can get better. If you’re thinking of killing yourself right this second, talk to someone. Call the National Sucide Prevention Hotline. If nothing else, at least wait until tomorrow. I was shocked how different I could feel inside my depression from one day to another. Don’t make an impulsive decision. See a doctor. Consider meds. Mine have saved my life and made it livable.

Know that there is hope. Know that there are people who care. Know there are kittens and sunrises and Diet Mt. Dew and Pop Tarts and warm summer rain, $7 thrift store pea coats, stars, music, dirt, graffiti, loyal dogs, fried shrimp, fuzzy blankets and gentle ocean waves that wash up on shore and kiss your toes.

Please don’t give up. I know it doesn’t feel like it now. But it won’t be like this forever.

We miss you, Michael.

Love,

Deanna

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National Suicide Prevention Hotline

1-800-273-8255

To Write Love On Her Arms

Dr. Weiner: Or How I Learned To Quit Worrying And Love Paxil

Until this summer, I didn’t know I could have no feelings. There was nothing but the flat, affectlessness of depression. Nothing made me happy. Nothing made me want to leave the house. I never looked forward to anything with anticipation. I never wanted to be around anybody. I had no hope. I had no reason to live. I just lay on the couch in front of the tv with a blank mind. And I finally got in trouble at work for just sitting at my desk and zoning out in the same fashion – just without the blanket. Things were actually better in a way until about five years ago when I stopped drinking.

I started drinking in graduate school when I was going though a severe, but undiagnosed depression – that kind of depression where you wake up in the morning and feel normal for a second, and then the weight of the sadness falls on your heart for another day and you remember. I went to night classes at seminary drunk, skipped internship events, finally dropped out of school and got kicked out of my apartment by my best friends because I had turned into such a bad roommate. But things were better because alcohol relieved some of the pain.

I moved to Virginia-Highlands into a filthy, crappy old apartment, worked nights at Emory in the AV department and drank too much while running up debt on my credit cards. After about 2 1/2 years of that, I was so tired of being sad. I decided to take up softball again after several years hoping to find a way to recapture some passion for living instead of just a passion for feeling nothing through drinking. I not only found a bunch of softball at the old Softball Country Club on North Decatur Rd.; I also found a husband! My husband’s father had been an alcoholic, so he was totally against drinking. I quit for him, but also because I was so happy, I didn’t need to drink anymore. My pain and sadness were gone! There was no need to mask my feelings. My life was finally happily settled!

And then the regular day to day reality of living with someone, even someone you love, started to settle in. I didn’t know how to communicate about the things that made me mad and sad and anxious and scared. I was hurt and passive-aggressive and resentful. I started having a beer every now and then when my husband was at the ballfield to relax. Then I started thinking that if he really loved me, he wouldn’t do things that hurt my feelings or make me mad. I needed someone who would treat me the way I deserved. So I had an affair. And my partner in the affair promised me if I left my husband, he’d leave his girlfriend and we’d be together. So I got an apartment and did just that. All I could take was the stuff that would fit in the five trips I made in my car between my house and the new apartment during that day when my husband was at work. I left most of my books, my baseball cards and my dogs. (You can’t keep Labs in an apartment.) And I left my husband, who I thought I’d love forever, after ten years of marriage.

And, indeed, I wound up getting treated just like I deserved. Of course, my partner in the affair didn’t leave his girlfriend to move in with me. I was devastated. So I got up every day, went to work and watched the clock because I couldn’t WAIT to go home and drink to numb the hurt. I’d come home and sit out on my porch on a ballfield chair or in front of the TV and drink Coors Light or Vodka & Diet Mountain Dew (Hey. I was living in Conyers. Don’t judge me! When in Rome…) until I’d pass out on the couch, usually watching “Little House on the Prairie” because it was so very soothing. I will say, I got a LOT of reading done that year because I could never sleep. I could only pass out and then wake up, go to bed and not sleep.

One day when it became obvious that my relationship with my partner was over, I snuck away from work in the middle of the day, went home and got drunk. And of course, the office called and needed me for an emergency. I had only been back at work for about 30 minutes when my boss came in. It was obvious I was drunk. Fortunately, I didn’t get fired. I was just sent home. But I was so ashamed. I was the golden child; I was gifted; I was supposed to go into the ministry. And somehow it had all come to this. I felt like the dumbest, dirtiest, most foolish and worthless person on the face of the earth.

So then I started my drinking in the mornings on the weekends. Vodka & Diet Mountain Dew at 9am? Sure, why not? After about three months, my divorce was final; and after about six months, I decided I needed to get back in the world just to pridefully prove to people that I hadn’t ruined my life, that I was doing OK and was ready to happily move on.

I met a guy at a Christmas party and by June had moved to Midtown Atlanta to live with him in his condo. And we drank a lot! I’m pretty sure that there for a while we were technically minority owners of The Vortex. At least once or twice a week, we’d still be sitting at the bar there at 2am when they had turned on the lights and were sweeping the floors. But we were good customers and good tippers, so they never seemed to mind. Then we’d come home and sit on the balcony of the condo until 4 or 5 in the morning drinking Bloody Marys. Who needs more than two hours of sleep? Sure I was going to work hungover a few days a week, but I was having fun. So what if some days I had to just sit at my desk with my head down on my folded up jacket because the world was still spinning from the night before?

Things went on like this for a few years, but then when the economy went down the toilet, my boyfriend lost his job. We were just living on my salary and I was scared to death! What was going to happen if I lost my job too? I started drinking more and more. We had a very convenient convenience store on the bottom floor of my condo, and I could just swing through there every night after work and pick up a six pack of Heineken Light. I’d sit on the balcony and drink all six and fall asleep on the couch. And after a while, six weren’t enough. I finally worked my way up (down?) to a twelve pack of Natural Light every night. (I couldn’t afford to drink twelve Heinekens every night.)

I was drinking too much to go out in public to drink any more. One of my biggest fears was that I’d go out drunk and make a spectacle of myself. I wanted to get drunk as hell to quell all my panic, but more than anything I wanted to stay in control. I finally decided that I needed to get a handle on the drinking before something really bad happened. So I started by telling myself I’d just drink two beers. But if there were four more in the refrigerator, I couldn’t keep myself from giving in and drinking those too. Then I tried just drinking on the weekends. But there always seemed to be an excuse to drink during the week too: I had a bad day at work, I had something to celebrate, I had something to mourn, everybody else was drinking at Tin Roof after Thursday night softball. I was even playing ball (trying and failing miserably) while I was drunk off my ass. I was starting to realize that I couldn’t stop drinking even when I wanted to.

On February 22, 2009, a Sunday, I had been at the condo drinking all afternoon. When a friend called to ask if we were coming to the condo’s Oscar party, I told my boyfriend I was already too drunk to go. But they convinced me that it would be fun. I agreed to go, but told them I wasn’t going to drink any more. But when I got downstairs to the social room, there was free alcohol. I was powerless. I drank through the whole Oscar ceremony and then we proceeded to our friend’s 4th floor condo to keep drinking. When we drank up everything we had there, they convinced me to go back down to the social room and see if there was any alcohol left there. I found a half-full bottle of some kind of pink wine in the refrigerator and went back to our friend’s with it. The last thing I remember was sitting on my friend’s couch drinking this DREADFUL wine, smoking a cigarette, feeling sleepy and thinking to myself, “I don’t need to fall asleep on this couch with this lit cigarette.”

About an hour or so later I woke up sitting on the floor leaning against the wall next to the elevators on the 20th floor down the hall from our condo. I couldn’t get up. I knew I needed to get to our door, but I just couldn’t rouse myself and passed back out. Finally, I woke back up enough to make it home and my boyfriend was standing in the kitchen FURIOUS! Apparently, an hour earlier, we’d left our friend’s condo together and when both elevators opened at the same time we decided to elevator race to the 20th floor. (I have no recollection of this.)

My boyfriend was on the phone with the police when I walked in reporting me missing. He’d been all over the building and couldn’t find me anywhere. I was mortified. This wasn’t getting drunk and passing out. This was getting so drunk that I blacked out. My body was still awake, but my brain was asleep. I guess I’d been somewhere in the building wandering around for the previous hour, but I have no idea where I went. (I had some neighbors I didn’t really know who would giggle at me and say, “Hi, neighbor!” everytime I saw them on the elevator after that, and so I suspect they were somehow involved in whatever happened that night.)

I was scared shitless! I could’ve wandered out on Peachtree St. and been raped or robbed or hit by a car. The police had been called! This was the “out of control” I had been so scared of. My boyfriend and I both called in sick the next morning. When we woke up, I remember us just laying there in bed looking at each other sheepishly. We both whole-heartedly apologized and stumbled to the living room and fell miserably on our respective couches. I remember being prone on the love seat staring at the ceiling numbly through the entire run time of “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” on AMC. (That’s a long time! A long, long movie and all those commercials, y’all!) I was so frightened that it was hard to breathe. I literally felt like there was some kind of evil force trying to suck my very soul away. I knew this had to stop. But I didn’t know how I was going to manage to quit drinking when I’d tried so hard to manage it on my own and failed.

The next day at work I poked around on the internet and found the Addiction Recovery Guide‘s Alcohol message board. People there had stories that sounded just like mine, but they were getting better. They encouraged me to find a recovery group. Then one blessed soul there gave me a sound “kick in the ass” challenge and I relented and went to a recovery meeting. Thank God! I found experience, strength and hope in the stories of my fellow recovering alcoholics. I went to this group almost every Monday through Thursday for a couple of years. I learned so much about myself and my faults and strengths. And I made friendships and support structures I’ll have forever. And I honestly have not wanted a drink since the day I walked in that room. (It doesn’t work that way for everybody. I am truly blessed.)

My boyfriend moved out a couple of years ago. The time had come. The relationship had run its course. And we parted as friends. But it was so nice to feel like I had the freedom that came with singleness. I could watch whatever I wanted to TV. I didn’t have to worry about where someone else was. I didn’t have to be quiet in the mornings. I relished all that for a while and then last year just kind of lost myself in Dr. Who for a while. Distractions had become helpful denial. I never wanted the leave the condo except to go to work and church, and I certainly didn’t want to do anything with other people. And then, as I mentioned in a previous post, the big depression started settling in around November of last year.

I fought it pretty well until Mother’s Day this year, and then the wheels came off. I called in sick that next day because I couldn’t get out of bed and the sadness and depression hit full bore. By summer, I couldn’t feel anything at all. (I felt happy for only and exactly THIS moment all summer long. Really.) My heart hurt all the time. Sometimes I’d just lay on the couch, cover my head with the blanket and pray for a bus to hit me since I was pretty sure I was too cowardly to kill myself. I’d wake up in the mornings with my heart racing. I’d lock myself in the bathroom at work and cry. I didn’t want to drink again. But I sure did recall why I had, how it numbed the pain and worry and sadness. Once again, I was out of control and powerless and I knew I needed help.

I called the Wellness Center at work (bless my liberal workplace!) and met with a nurse who discussed my depression with me and who gave me the number to call to find a therapist that was in our insurance network. When I got up to leave she asked me, “Are you going to call?” When I answered, “Maybe,” she sat me back down and made the call for me. (God bless her too! She’ll be getting a Christmas card this year!)

I scheduled an appointment with a psychotherapist (Dr. Weiner) and started meeting with her weekly. We started discussing my issues with relationships, anger, vulnerability and trust, including the effect childhood sexual abuse has had on all facets of my life. I started feeling better about myself when I understood more about how all the pieces fit together. And I slowly started feeling feelings again.

I started working through “The Courage to Heal Workbook” to learn about coping and healing. My friend loaned me a book called “The Gift of Imperfection” that was a tremendous help towards my understanding that I can live my life without shame and be my authentic self without fear. And I saw a psychiatrist who prescribed Paxil for anxiety and depression.

I knew for my whole life, particularly as I got older, that I had a touch of social anxiety. (And the alcohol had helped with this tremendously.) I was generally afraid of people, especially if I didn’t know them really well. But I didn’t realize until I got into therapy how much fear and anxiety I had about EVERYTHING. I was afraid to go someplace I wasn’t familiar with because I didn’t know where I’d park. I was afraid to try something new because I was afraid of how embarrassed I’d be if I wasn’t good at it. I was afraid to go to a movie because what if I didn’t like it. I was afraid to spend money on myself because what would I do if I went broke and had to be homeless. And heaven forbid if I had to go somewhere and make small talk with people! *passes out*

I can’t begin to tell you what a difference the Paxil has made. Between the therapy and the Paxil, I’m only afraid of things I should be afraid of like bears, the bubonic plague and Velveeta. I make eye contact with strangers on elevators and say hello. I went to Atlantic Station where I’d never driven before, figured out the parking and found the store I needed without breaking a sweat. I had company spend the night last weekend. And I invited people over to watch Dr. Who next weekend.

But most importantly, it’s brought back my joy and my hope for the future and my dreams. Little things like bringing a smile to someone’s face make me happy again now. I’m thinking about going back to theology school and trying it sober this time! And I’ve discovered that I love writing and would like nothing better than to find a way to do more of it.

So the point of this long-winded, meandering, narcissistic story of my adult life is this. If you are hurting or struggling, there is no shame in it. And there is no shame in asking for help. In fact, the only way to heal is by getting help. We can’t do it alone. It’s the aloneness and isolation that push us farther and farther down into our abyss. Reach out to someone. Reach out to me. There is help. There is hope and there is no shame. Healing and recovery and renewed joy and hope are possible. And they feel incredible.