Life Is More Than A Bumper Sticker ~ Late Afternoon Thoughts

On a site I follow daily, they posted about depression as living in the past. There’s a tremendous truth to that…However, those of us living with depression for any length of time also know “the mind is a dangerous place to wander in, unaccompanied – especially at night.” And that depression is more than a bumper sticker.

Over these last few years – you’re welcome to read about it in other posts – I’ve also discovered there’s a huge difference between the “dark night of the soul” and a “dark night”. Tuesday was one of those “nights”.

Duane Townsend (.com)

Duane Townsend (.com)


It’s a feeling of things not being quite right, of emotions that want to come to the forefront for no apparent reason. It’s a soft feeling of dread. A feeling of loneliness that may or may not have roots in reality.

It’s a terrible feeling when you that in your mind there’s no one to call … which is vastly different from the feeling there’s no one who cares

Sometimes, I set the timer and just “let it all hang out”,~ however,  sometimes – such as tonight – it’s more important to do a version of what AA calls fearless moral inventory. I do what I call a version of that because when I’m doing this inventory, I must sit quietly and track back where this is all coming from.


You see for those of us with severe depression, there is no “It will suddenly get better”, “snap out of it, quit being selfish”, “fake it ’till you make it” or “Pray and all will go away as if it had never been”. If such things had worked for me, there wouldn’t be the gash scar on my forehead or the long scar on my neck from the exploratory surgery to see if I’d damaged something after I’d tried to commit suicide.

And I've actually had a couple of these tossed my way ...

And I’ve actually had a couple of these tossed my way …

For those of us with severe depression, it’s a life-long job. And 99% of the time, it’s a job that’s actually quite easy…it’s that 1% which gets really, really difficult and makes even doing the simplest tasks a major undertaking.

And here’s the other “rub” … sometimes when we are going through these “dark night(s)” … it’s highly possible no one will know. We’re awfully good at hiding. There are those we can’t hide from – ourselves and our [don’t judge my term here – there’s a reason for it] higher power, and eventually, one of the two (if not both) will get our attention …

When I was at CRU, they gave us a tool called F.L.A.S.H to instantly check our feelings (which as you know, feelings are neither right NOR wrong – they just are.). F-fearful, L-lethargic, A- angry, S- sad. (not just “down” but sad) and last H-happy. Of course, being the sane adults we all were, we laughed quietly at such a childish idea. Childish until you realize that given the letter – you then must try to identify why. Not necessarily solve it, but identify it ….. Ah, not so childish or easy now, is it ….
So, after – OK, the truth – two days of F,S,S,F,A (FSSFA sounds like a bill from a drunk congressional committee) I can say I’m firmly in the H camp.

This isn’t a call for pats on the back … but rather part of my ongoing attempt to be honest and transparent with others …

We will now resume your regularly scheduled broadcast. 

An Important News Interruption … Early Afternoon Thoughts

Now, it’s not the Royal Baby ~ Although, I do have a BuzzFeed graph of what the internet might have looked like this afternoon …..

the internet on the royal baby

No – it’s a very important discovery …..

Those of you who’ve been around my blog know that I suffer from depression…sometimes serious, deep depression and that I have (according to the Doctors) probably suffered for as long as 60+ years.

Treatment/medication are fine.  But this article from The Independent in England has given me tremendous hope.

I”ll link to the article, but this just might be the money quote:

Researchers used a particle accelerator called the Diamond Light Source to understand the structure of CRF1. The X-ray machine’s powerful beams illuminated the protein’s structure, according to the Sunday Times, including a crevice that could become a new target for drug therapy.

The information gained from this study will be used to design small molecule drugs that fit into this new pocket to treat depression.


This is wonderful news, and news that gives me hope for all of those (myself included) who suffer from this disease ….

Here’s the link to the article ….

Early Morning Thoughts ~ Poison to Medicine (part 3)

“take full responsibility for whatever is happening,
even if none of it seems to be your fault,
and decide to turn poison into medicine.
– Geoff from the book, “The Buddha, Geoff and Me

When I began to write about ZZ and the “dark night of the soul” decision I made, the words did and have not come easily. There has always been concern about being misunderstood, or simply dismissed as being a “drama queen.” As this is a personal account, it can be taken as such. Perhaps you have faced something similar. If you haven’t, as I said last night, be very thankful.

When I made my final decision to end it all, for so long I felt as if I had been locked in a box. That there was no key to the lid, and I was literally quite finished … as a older gay individual, an older human being and as something of worth. None of those were correct assumptions, but to me at the time, they were not only valid, but universal truths. I had chipped away at what I was for so long – there were serious cracks in the marble of my foundation. I knew in my heart of hearts that what I wanted from ZZ was never going to be – couldn’t be. I knew that I had given away too much, that I had run dry of what to give for basically nothing in return. I only knew that my vision was faulty, but I hadn’t come to the realization (yet) that I was not seeing him as he was – only as I wanted him to be.

So – the time had come. I was manager of a small apartment complex, and it was easy to decide upon the place. A downstairs, empty apartment. I actually did write a letter, being vague and careful. I chose the candles, the necessary piece of equipment, the pills to dull the pain, and the applesauce to sooth the stomach. I
made my way down the stairs of my apartment (I lived on-site) and into the empty one. I taped the letter to the inside of the door, and went into the bathroom. Lighting the candles, and laying out what I had brought. I arranged everything very attractively – again the gay in me.

I climbed into the tub, and stretched out and prepared. Well, as much as one can prepare for that. This is something I can’t prove, but you can’t disprove – I believe that most of us in those moments have a moment when the mind can “snap-to” and we can see something for what it is. It certainly happened to me. There was no earth shaking, no wind,no thunder or lightning. No booming voice spoke from the ceiling (which did need to be repainted), nor was there a knock at the door to interrupt. What came to me was the entire situation that I was planning and setting up. I realized that it was as empty and futile as I had been feeling. This was not going to solve anything or make anything better.

There was a realization that I was about to embark on the most selfish, thoughtless act I could have done. You may think that I had lost my mind (well, OK – maybe I did) at what happened next, but I began to chuckle. As I looked around at the seedy stage set I had put together, I saw it for what it was. Nothing that could help, nothing that would solve anything. I was actually heading to do nothing more than validate what I had been erroneously thinking. And then I began to cry. Three people came to my mind that I had not thought about during all the preparation and downward spiral. I realized that to these people I had some worth, and they had worth to me.

I climbed out of the tub (not the most comfortable place) and blew out the candle. I took the note off the door(which needed to be thoroughly cleaned), and went upstairs. ZZ (who was a bartender from 8pm – 3am) was surprisingly awake. I sat down and told him what I had almost done. His reaction neither surprised me nor helped.

The spiritual journey does not consist in arriving at a new destination

where a person gains what he did not have
or becomes what he is not.
It consists in the dissipation of one’s own ignorance concerning one’s self and life
and the gradual growth of that understanding which begins the spiritual awakening.
The finding of God is a coming to one’s self.
– Aldous Huxley

Tomorrow morning: how the poison has turned into medicine

the locker picture from
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