October 24, 2009

Far On A Dark Wind

A depression settled on me this week the likes of which I have never experienced. Every movement, every endurance of every moment was an agony. At night I alternated between sweating and shivering and driving my wife crazy. No real sleep, no real rest for either of us.

When these depressions come each is more severe than the last. I don’t know how any could be heavier than this. No life. No interest. Having to do something every moment to take my mind off how deep I am in the fugue state. An old friend recently sent me an article about how depression, mental illness and addiction often go hand in hand. Those afflicted resort to a variety of dysfunctional practices to keep the day-to-day, moment-by-moment horror of life at bay.

I have endured addictions of many sorts. I have to be careful of everything to make sure I don’t begin to like it too much. I can/will grasp at any distraction to keep from seeing my life the way it really is, to keep from feeling the pain my decisions cause others, to avoid see the mess (literal and figurative) all around me.

Like many others I also turn to art, the process of creation. Trying to re-create? This urge/drive/need to forge the ugly dysfunction into something at least I recognize as a thing of beauty has been with me for many, many years. It is truly a blessing and a curse because any solace it provides is transient, only the passing over of the eye of the storm.

I struggle to get at the heart of it. Genetic? My family is living proof. My father and my mother’s father died from the long-term horror of alcoholism. Both sides of my family are riddled with cases of addiction and the inherent dysfunction. But for me it is also the weight of November. My father died on the eve of Thanksgiving in 1971. It was bitterly cold and the end of his battle with the bottle. At the age of 36 he died in his own piss and blood. My four siblings and I watched as his dead, emaciated body collapsed, pinning our mother to the couch. I was eleven. Following his death our lives of poverty, disgrace and abuse actually marginally improved.

His death has proven to be the axis mundi of my life in many, many ways. It is the event from which I cannot free myself. To compound the issue (as I was reminded recently) I am pretty much physically identical to my father. I guess in other ways we’re also the same. He was a talented man and an artist in his own right but the weight of it all was just too much.

How long is his reach? Why? Why? Why? Thirty-nine years later and still I sit here in tears trying to put the ghosts to bed. Sleep well Dad. I wish I could.

9 comments:

Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

Sending hugs, and assuring you of my prayers. I wish I could do more......

elizabeth said...

This is hard. I find the prayers for the dead to be of help...

Praying that Christ can pull you from this darkness and give you the wisdom to know the steps needed.

You are still on my prayer list and will remain there.

DebD said...

prayers and hugs from up north too. Wishing we could all do more to wipe away the dark memories.

Fr. James Early said...

You will be in my prayers as well.

King of Peace said...

Let's get together for lunch or otherwise.

November In My Soul said...

Thank you all for your love, support and prayers. The fog is lifting and I am making a conscious effort to write about other things, to keep moving,to pray often and to believe in healing.

elizabeth said...

It is all in balance; God is with us. My continued small prayers.

Anonymous said...

I came to this blog from a crossword puzzle. Reading the egotist for the first time. There are many who suffer as you do, In your giving
we are lightened. a true blessing.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled onto your blog via many other random clicks. I wept as I read your story. You are not alone. You do not fight alone. Thank you for sharing your words, your struggle, and your memories. They help me to know that I am also not alone.

I hope you have had some better days since this one .