This week has been full of pain.
After weeks of successfully managing my time and energy on my “On Track” plan, my energy and motivation started a downward slide and my old demon depression reached for me from the darkness below. This was inevitable. I knew I wouldn’t maintain a perfect run for the rest of my life, and it was only a matter of time before I failed. Even my confidence that the electroshock therapy I underwent gave me a solid edge against the demon didn’t make me think it was gone for good.
But I was determined to get through any darkness, absorb whatever failures and accept them, stay on track as much as I could and get all the way back on as soon as able. I was changing my habits, my life, my world, and I wasn’t going back to the cycles of depressive failure and despair I went through for many years.
The darkness washed over me, but I held to hope. Saturday I still managed the most important goals on my list, my writing and exercise. Sunday is my day off, but I got in a good swim with my son. But by Monday, the depression had me firmly in its grip, and it wasn’t helped by the news of death I was hearing.
Clarence Clemmons died. Now, I didn’t know Clarence, but as part of the E. Street Band he was a bright star in the firmament of my musical dreamscape since I was about sixteen. Part of music itself died when he went, and it made me sad.
Later in the week, Gene Colan, one of the great comic book artists, died. I grew up on his work. Batman, Howard the Duck, Tomb of Dracula, and countless other books over the years were graced with his very distinctive and beautiful style. (And Howard the Duck was a shitty movie, but a witty and really sophisticated comic, just so you know).
A short while ago today, I got up from a nap and saw that Peter Falk died. And yeah, didn’t know him, but loved his work my whole life.
The most painful death, though, was that of Linda Dubler. Linda was the curator of film at the High Museum of Atlanta, and she died of bone marrow cancer. She was also a friend, who I enjoyed many films with over the years before I got married and fell out of touch (with her and most of the world). But Linda wasn’t just good people, she was wonderful people, and hearing about her death really got to me. I’m tearing up even now as I type this.
All this death this week. By Monday I knew about Clarence and Linda, and the knowledge was an extra claw for depression to rake me with. I managed to do my pushup regimen and stretching that day, but that was it. Tuesday, I went for a swim with the kid.
Also, in my state of depression and grief, I lost control of my emotions long enough to get belligerent with Kate, who was having a bad day herself, and I seem to have ruined our chances for any sort of future. This isn’t really an overreaction on her part, because she’s forgiven several similar (and worse) eruptions as I’ve adjusted to the neurological changes brought on by the electroshock, and I was sort of on probation.
We were getting along. We were getting close again. She was coming to see me next month for a few days.
Now it was all over. And my heart ripped.
This of course hasn’t helped. The axe fell yesterday morning, via email, and I collapsed. I felt I’d destroyed one of the two or three things in my life that really matter, and to be honest I still feel that way. A good friend came over to make sure I didn’t drown myself or anything, and I talked with him a few hours. I also had never gotten around to my pushups on Wednesday, but had promised my son I’d do them, so I did those in the late afternoon. By the time my friend left, I had my equilibrium back and felt some hope about my life again…
I’m not back on track, but I will be soon. I’ll do the next day of pushups tomorrow, and be back on M/W/F next week, and maybe today, maybe tomorrow, but certainly by Monday I’ll be writing again. And I’ll be posting my On Track updates. And I’ll be me again, I hope, at least in the sense that I don’t spontaneously start tearing up at the drop of a fucking hat.
My heart is a wound. I miss Kate. I love her. I want her. But I know I don’t need her, and I’ll endure, even if I may not be as happy.
The worst of it is I hurt her. I let her down. One of the saddest moments I experienced yesterday came when my friend was talking about how good a person his boyfriend is, and how his boyfriend had done nothing but make his life better in every way. And I was sitting there about to crumble into myself, thinking how very much I wish I had been that for Kate. Through that realization, and other tiny epiphanies during the day, I came to see matters between Kate and me with new eyes. Just in time to be too late.
But, deaths and heartbreak and depression aside, I’m battered and bruised and perhaps kinda gutted, but okay. And I’ll be On Track and moving forward.
Tune in next week, same Byrd time, same Byrd channel…