It's still not easy...

It’s still not easy.

Today is a rough and difficult day.

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Today is heavy and sluggish, and I feel like I’m walking through a Louisiana bog of thick mud that’s up to my waist. Today is colored with a hue of grey even though it’s sunny outside. The sun has been playing tricks on me, saying, “I’m here!,” but remaining out of sight. In response, and in between bouts of tears, I have been staring skyward, and wondering aloud in the same way a five-year-old would; “how in the world could something as big as the sun be so good at hide and seek?”

Today’s feelings, those of sadness and depression, snuck up on me. I went to bed last night with a mere thought of them, and even that was unsettling. But I had no expectation that I had unwittingly texted them, and they in turn interpreted the message as an invitation. I know this because as soon as I opened my eyes this morning, there they were, uninvited twins, standing bedside like the party crashers they are, dressed in unfashionable clothes and acting loud, rude and obnoxious.

I’ll be honest, even as I now type, I don’t want to share how I am feeling. I don’t want to because I am slightly, if not more so, embarrassed I feel this way. After a sustained period in which I have experienced mental health the likes of which I had not thought possible, today is a humbling experience, and a scary reminder of the past.

I thought I had left the blues brothers behind. I thought I left them standing at the bus stop, their mouths open in disbelief as I turned my back on them, walked up the stairs, took my seat and headed towards a more hopeful destination.

Since that day there have in fact been some brief stops at dark locations, but not this bleak. There have been those days during my travels of the last several years when I’ve stepped off the bus to stretch my legs only to have a big, white, fluffy, cotton candy like monster cloud move in and obscure that big yellow star in the sky.

But a helpful wind has always come along, usually in the form of a good friend, a kind word, ice cream or divine serendipity, all reminders of the fact I am not alone and life is filled with magic. And with that beneficial breeze the shadow that was filling up the doorway and blocking out hope is thrust aside, and light once again floods the room of my soul.

As far as the cause of today’s feelings, the “what” behind the weight of today, the answer to the question, if I had to say, it’s all about sadness. And, what I now know about sadness is, left unprocessed and unresolved it graduates into depression, and that’s a degree of experience that no one wants to pay for.

The sadness comes as I am now confronting the many losses of my past; a parent at the tender age of 7, my innocence to a predator at 11, the passing of 90 special needs and hospice animals my former wife, Deanna and I were privileged to care for over a 20 year span, a home I loved, a way of life that had defined who I was, and a marriage to a magnificent woman.

After years of beneficial and healing therapy, the layers that have been shed to date have now uncovered some deep heartache and hurt, and there remains more work for me to do to reunite with the orphaned parts of my being.

And yet, as difficult as today is, I am nonetheless mindful of the truth; I have a great many spectacular souls who show up in my life every day.

These are the unique and priceless treasures the universe has gifted to me; my beloved, my family, primary relationships of the past, close friends, an extraordinary therapist, a badass psychiatrist, members of different support groups, and so many others who decorate my life like pretty flowers and towering shade trees and lush meadows that run right up to the banks of sparkling rivers.

My good friend, Gregg, one of those colorful blossoms, likes to remind me,

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Today is a rough and difficult day. It hurts, and this path towards wellness is still not easy. Because of this, I will pause now and lean on the sturdy fence post of my dear friend’s words. I will go easy, taking it moment by moment, pausing to shower in the warm water of compassion and take long, slow sips from a tall glass of sweet tasting grace, all in hopes that with the dawn I’ll wake to find different guests by my bed, ones who dress better and I have actually invited.

And because you have given me the safe place for me to share, just now, I think I see the sun.