Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Have you gone Mental? (XXXVIII)

Today the roller coaster continues. I go down at break neck speed and then, hitting somewhere near bottom begin the long ride at a much slower pace to the top. If you've ridden such a contraption you know what I mean. My favorite roller coaster was the one at Jantzen Beach Amusement Park in Portland,Oregon.

A friend and I rode it 10 times in a row on a day when it was a dime a ride. We'd save up $20.00 and then one of our parents would take us to the north end of interstate bridge over the Columbia River from America's Vancouver to Portland. This when it was a toll bridge. Neither his parents nor mine wanted to pay the toll for crossing the bridge.

Twenty bucks was more than enough in those days to do everything a young boy could want to do in an amusement park for about 6 hours. Even though I was much older, when the amusement park was torn down to make way for progress, I wasn't sure that "progress" was a fitting term for what they did to a place that holds so many memories.

When you ride the long climb to the top you are filled with anticipation and not a little fear because you know what happens next: a sharp drop with a curve at the bottom where many a lunch was lost (not mine!). My depression-anxiety works like this. The ride up represents the anxiety getting more and more intense. My head begins to ache, my skin becomes clammy and my chest tight. I hold on for dear life.

Maybe this is what I do with my anxiety I hold on to it hoping this will be the last and worst episode I'll have. When the level of anxiety reaches its apex I take a long deep breath.. there is pause, than I start the desent picking up speed. Faster and faster I drop to the painful solace below; I call it painful solace because I think anxiety is taking up more of my life than depression at this point. Perhaps the anxiety is so bad I long for depression. When I seem to be able to just feel the depression and reach into my bag of tricks for a temporary remedy the "curve" in the tracks appears when my depresson is at its worst. It appears that anxiety "turns into" depression. The car slows slightly and there are a few shallow valleys when depression comes to the fore. I don't know if I handle depression better or I'm just more accustomed to it. I pray, I cry, I rage against this horrible feeling I have experienced since I was a young teen that holds me captive each day.

Like the roller coaster, the pattern is set. This represents my life each day. My anxiety begins in the morning upon awakening. It calms down a bit after I take my medication, in about one - two hours. It reawakens about noon time and I take another pill. I am calmed more quickly now. It is not that the anxiety is gone. It is because the anxiety and depression become so close they kind of mesh. Maybe this makes no sense to you. It is a theory of mine about myself. The depression is with me always. There is always a significant "under current" that runs through everything I do. Many of you know the feeling. It is what quenches the enthusiasm in my life. It is why I don't enjoy things as I could. It is why my laughter is muted and my happiness is so temporary. It is the emotion I try to hide with my humorous personna. Many of us walk this path daily. I know I don't hold the market on this one. But even this is empowered by certain stresors.

This is how I am today, the anxiety is more intense as is the depression as I beg and plead for God to take away the power of my child's addiction. I hope against hope that there will be full surrender to the higher power called God. Sometimes I surmise that addiction is primarily a spiritual disease and to experience remission one must take a fresh look at one's spirituality. Further I feel that we may need to come to the point of desperation.

Having hit this point, we must pray that God will enter the innermost part of our lives and make the changes there that will help us recover. There are so many obstacles to overcoming addiction. The bag of tricks is not an approach that works, It involves self-knowledge which is impossible until one takes the vital step to stop drinking, using, gambling, or whatever holds them hostage. Once one stops the harmful behavior the healing process can begin as they "clear" and begin to see life as it truly is and accept life on life's terms. Overcoming addiction is a path one can only walk with much support. The hardest part is facing oneself. In the innermost part of myself, I know its true.

Typos and all ... God bless you.

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