It’s a quarter till ten on a Friday evening and I willingly walked by the clumps of my hair that lie upon the bathroom floor. I quickly passed the dirty dishes in the sink and sat down on my living room floor. I opened up my laptop, peering over the top towards an unmade bed that has stayed in my peripheral direction with absolutely no other intentions for change over the past several days. I am far from a slob and in fact, I like to refer to my behavior as controlled clutter that sooner than later is quickly sorted and neatly placed back in an OCD-ish perfection of precise detail and alignment. I’m convinced that I struggle with ADD, but I’m willing to also accept the fact that maybe this is just who or what I have grown to become. I struggle with everyday routines and the ability to concentrate on anything that must get done. I have a very addictive personality and thrive on the gambles of life. I can’t sit at home and concentrate on one specific activity. My dvd player has never been used and I can’t even sit in a chair. I’ve read the first page of every book I own without a glimpse of the next page or chapter. Paying attention to anything that doesn’t have my full attention is like watching Telemundo. I find myself sleeping very little and it’s often unpredictable if I will awake at 3, 4, or 5 am. When I am focused, determined, or passionately challenged, I can make amazing happen. However, that has been few and far between these days. Some of my biggest struggles have been due to depression, including admitting that; especially to myself. The word depression, depresses me. When it was brought to my attention that this could be an issue I need to address, I was in complete denial. Depression to me was a person that wasn’t happy with life or living and was in constant sorrow. This was not me – AT ALL. What was happening to me? What exactly was I becoming..
I did not take my first pill until I was twenty-three years old. It was a sleeping pill because I was tired of taking Nyquil to fall asleep when I wasn’t “sick”. I stayed on over the counter and prescription sleeping pills for over the next six years. Every night. This was a small phase in my life that I will raise my hand and admit to having depression tendencies that were very stereotypical to me, at the time. Relationships, as I’ve stated on more occasions than I‘m willing to admit, have been rebuilding challenges for me that have in return tested my ability to handle myself “after the fact“. These signs, among others had their explanations. Today, I find a lot of what I deal with to be puzzling and often unexplainable emotions that have very little rhyme or reason and even less warning. Just over two years ago, I finished my second marathon in the span of one month. I witnessed the transformation from heartbreak to bucket list improbable triumph within a single year. I stayed strong, healthy, and unbelievably devoted to my personal well being. I knew deep down that I had reached the peak of my love for running, by alone achieving every goal I had set out to capture. This was a downfall that I still have a struggle to find a reputable solution for.
Over the past half year, I found myself coming home from work with absolutely no energy. The collapse on the living room floor, struggle to walk, and all disregard for any daily responsibility fatigue. I was happy, healthy, and optimistic. I had a wonderful girlfriend, a brand new house, friends, and a loving and supporting family. Prior to these circumstances, I ran to run. Now, I could barely walk from my car to the door of my own home. Sometimes, I would barely move for an entire weekend. Thyroid issues, blood tests, ekg results; I didn’t care what it was as long as I could get back to being myself. Everything always checked out ok, or came back negative until I was asked the question. “Do you think you could be depressed”? I quickly answered no, well,….no. No way. Well, um, I mean do I think my life is perfect? Do I wish things could be different or can I be sad on occasions? Yes. Listen, I do not think I’m “depressed”, but I think it would also be very careless on my behalf to ignore the possibility. Besides, I just want my legs and energy back. If fatigue is an enormous symptom than by all means lets fix this.
My struggles in life have been publicized on my behalf. Enduring separations from anything that is of importance to me in my life is a small battle in my heart that I often lose control over. Relationships, distance, home sickness, and now unwillingly losing activities I’ve found a passion for. Over the past month, I scrap, sweat, and claw out an occasional three miles a few times a week. My legs feel like concrete pillars. I’m dealing with heel spurs and shin splints. Sometimes, it feels painful to even keep my shoes on. I stood for up to eight hours a day at work for over twelve years, and now it’s a terror to do half of that. Age and the abuse on my body may have backstabbed me and something that I desperately grew to love and cherish. Not having the energy I once knew was attainable, has only made my progression worsen.
Finding substitutes to fill emptiness in life never feels just. They are replacements that have visible scars that forbid you from finding instantaneous contentment for something you are unwilling to admit you need to let go of. I still have a fairly healthy diet and walk when and wherever I can. It’s never going to fill my void and I’m slowly trying to accept this. There is a line in a Ryan Adams song that I love: “I’ve never been to Vegas, but I’ve gambled all my life.” I realized that throughout my entire life, I have been fixated on chance and possibility combined with mild risk taking. This was a recipe that gave me a sense of lazy hope. I would spend my savings on a candy bar I did not like if it gave me a chance to get the golden ticket. This smoke and mirror optimism was actually an addicting and irresponsible habit that will never have any positive attributes. My intentions are always genuine, but actions are often inexcusable. I have accepted responsibility and acknowledge that excuses are never going to become solutions.
Recently discovering photography has been a savior for me. It’s the third amigo to my love for walking and listening to music. It has allowed me to clear my mind and literally see the world in a different light. I can vaguely see a photo before I take it and then envision what I hope it will become in return. I see blades of grass, clouds, sunrays, barns, tree limbs, and shadows that I never have before. My vision has intensified and I can find the beauty in more of the world than I could ever dream imaginable before. I feel grateful that this does not feel like a substitute but has formed a new passion for me to enjoy on life’s little journey. It has healed several painful holes of emptiness and has guaranteed me hope for a better tomorrow. This, to me, has been picture perfect..
Cheers to new found passions and hopes. To never replacing something, but rather moving forward with your head always held high. Accepting your faults with your attributes and giving yourself the chance to succeed.