Often I read someone’s blog post and it gives me chills. I shiver at the memories their words evoke in me, I tremble slightly as the epic-ness of what they’re going through rocks through me. I had one such blogger dude whose struggle with alcohol and depression was so eloquently, honestly, poetically expressed in his blog that I formed a bit of a lit crush. My enthusiasm and empathy, expressed in my notes to and about him, caused him to block me. Honestly, I am not the stalking type. I’m just often moved to the point of not caring about cool points and let my feelings pour onto the page. It can be overwhelming to some, I get that. I can be over the top when I’m being my real self.
But anyway, because of that experience I have stopped commenting. Even though I’ve recently read posts by bloggers (recent subscribers to my blog whom I’m now following back as well as a few I’ve followed for a while) who are dealing with life through the haze of illness (physical and mental). Their words, their feelings, and insights. Because I am highly empathetic, in some ways I suffer along with them as they rage through the latest injustice the illness has thrust upon them; I hold back tears or do a happy dance when they express it’s been a good day. But I do not comment.
Not because I don’t have anything to say, but because I fear I’ll say the wrong thing and come across as so many do – as just another well wisher who really doesn’t understand what they’re going through. Or that I’m making light of their reality. Or even worse, that I’m suddenly too concerned and therefore must be avoided. But in my silence, I’m afraid I leave them feeling as if I don’t care.
I spent the majority of my late teens into my 20’s (all but one year of my college career which lasted 7 yrs) depressed. I took to my bed for most of that time, barely going to class, barely interacting with others. I discovered alcohol’s numbing effects my freshman year and added alcohol abuse (alcoholism?) to my lifestyle. During that time frame I considered suicide on a number of occasions but being somewhat of a chicken when it came to dying, I never attempted obviously to end my life. Instead, I would put myself in situations where my death was a possibility.
I’ve had some therapy since then, but not any that lasted longer than two years. I was never diagnosed with depression nor did I ever take any anti-depressants. My choice. I had enough going on with the alcohol abuse, I knew that pills and alcohol were a deadly combination should I ever feel the call of suicide again. Which I did. That’s another story. Anyway, I find myself now in a state of mind that while I dip into that depressive state, it’s not nearly as consuming as it was. I’ve built up a number of coping skills that work well in keeping me from retreating to my bed or wishing for death.
These coping skills provide me with a happy place to which I retreat when the darkness rises up. I want to share my coping techniques, but again, I don’t. I keep my words to myself because I don’t want others to think I’m unsympathetic or dismissive of their pain. But the silence…the silence might lead them to believing I don’t care.
But I do. So much. I want people to get the most from their journeys as human beings; I want them to see their strength, bravery, self-worth despite what they’re going through. I want them to know there’s a shoulder (virtual in the case of the blogosphere) willing to hold them up when they need to lean and a sympathetic “ear” to listen when they just need to be ANGRY at their circumstances. I read the words, I feel the emotion.
I know how the light at the end of the tunnel is “always” a train. I also know that you have survived this long and that in and of itself is a testament to your strength, worth, and abilities. I wish I could take the pain away. I carry my pain with me; have come to grips with its existence in my life and I’m finding that I can live with it. I would wish that you are able to do the same.
I’m going to lose cool points for this, but oh well. I care about you as best I know how to, here in this virtual space. Do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself. I really do care, even if I don’t say / write a word.