If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.
~Vincent Van Gogh
WHEN THINGS HAVE FALLEN APART, HOW DOES ONE STEP FORWARD? How does one put things back together in a manner such that they won’t fall apart again? How fast should one go in the rebuilding process? These are questions I’m grappling with today. My breakdown is fading into the past and I am beginning to feel stronger, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I must admit, however, that I am surprisingly afraid to get better. It sounds crazy, right? Not really. You see, if I get better I have to go back out into the world that broke me down, the world that put me in the hospital.
I’ve never felt so terrible, so lost, as the day I was admitted. I had hit a point where everything had become a monumental task. That’s what true depression does. It takes away, not only one’s will to keep going and any possibility of light, but one’s cognitive ability as well. And this is a real blow to self-esteem. When I get depressed, the most simple tasks become monumental, tying my shoes, sending an email, reading a report at work, and even simply standing upright. If you read this and think it’s just melodrama or weakness, then you’re not depressed and probably never have been. Be grateful.
I’m preparing myself for the task of meeting with my employer to discuss options moving forward. Yesterday, I contacted the director of Human Resources and we agreed to set up a meeting for next week. I was honest, and requested that we meet at a Starbucks instead of at the district office, because I’m embarrassed. Thankfully, he agreed. I must admit that I absolutely dread this meeting.
However, here’s the reality. I have a family to support, mortgage to pay, and a life that ain’t cheap. Since having children, my primary goal has been to give them a healthy and happy childhood. So far, mission accomplished. But now I find my self at a crossroads. And the question before me is whether I can responsibly make changes that will lead to my own sense of well-being, while meeting my obligations to my family. I’ve come to realize that a big part of my suffering has been denying who I am and what I need, avoiding “painting” for fear of poverty and humiliation. I’m not willing to do this anymore. I know there are steps to take, many steps. I also know that if I “stay over my feet” and take one step at a time, all will be okay, possibly better than okay.
I’m working on learning to accept the gifts of the present moment. This alone will enhance the quality of my life, and the life of my family. After all, a happy dad contributes to a happy home. There is so much to be grateful for in each passing moment. So I’ll go to my HR meeting and trust that when it comes, I’ll know just how to act and just what to say. The best option is to simply let go. Let go of trying to control the outcome and just live the moment. I’ll take it as it comes, find the gift in the present, and ride the rails of faith, trusting that their strong steel will provide the course.
Remember, we are heroes.
Thanks for reading.