The Cloud of Depression

There is this cloud that hovers over me at times. It comes out of nowhere, a blob of darkness filled with feelings of emptiness and a cacophony of horrible insults aimed directly towards me. It follows me, penetrating my thoughts with lies that I find myself believing. What’s the point, Nicole? You’re not going to get anywhere. You are worthless. Give up. 

My body feels weak and heavy as the cloud hangs over me. All I want to do is sleep & cry, cry & sleep. I am filled with hopelessness & pain. I lay there in my bed, begging for it to go away, to leave me alone. Make it stop. But it won’t stop. It won’t go away. I don’t know where it comes from. It comes out of nowhere. I can be feeling extremely excited or happy about something & then boom, just like that, those feelings are replaced with shame and depression.

It makes me not want to move or do anything. It renders me paralyzed, motionless. I no longer want to talk to people or to be touched. I get angry when someone asks me what’s wrong, or those gut wrenching questions like, “Why are you feeling this way?” I don’t know why I am feeling this way! If I knew, I could probably fix it! The thought of eating something is unbearably disgusting to me. I feel trapped, unable to get away. My head aches & pounds. It consumes me. I feel alone, even though I know I am not really alone, that there are thousands of people that experience the same thing on a daily basis. Knowing that doesn’t make me feel any better about it.

I don’t have any advice for you in this post, any words of wisdom to make any of it go away. That cloud, that horrible & ugly cloud just keeps coming back.

That, in itself, terrifies me. 

 

God Saved Me

God saved me.

I know that, to some people, that statement sounds incredibly stupid. There are people out there who think that He doesn’t exist, that He could never exist. Then there are the people who believe in Him but hate Him because of the tragedies that they’ve been through in their life, because of the people they’ve lost or the things that they’ve seen. I used to be both of those people. That probably doesn’t make sense because how could I be both people? Well, I was both people, regardless of the logic.

There are two things I used to believe. One was that God didn’t exist & that He was this imaginary friend that desperate people made up because they were searching for something to believe in. He wasn’t there, there was no God, & there couldn’t ever possibly be. I believed that the Bible was created by flawed men, and that it was all lies to control stupid people with. There was no God, there were just people that hoped there was.

My other belief was that God was there, He existed, but that He must absolutely hate humanity. I used to turn on the news and see all of the people dying from natural disasters, diseases, serial killers, mass shootings, etc. I thought of the people (some of which were children) that were laying in hospital beds all over the world riddled with cancer, begging for the pain to stop, begging for it all to end, questioning why they weren’t good enough to be healthy. I saw hurricanes and tornadoes on television that destroyed peoples’ homes, killed animals and children and everything that this God said He loved.

And then I looked in the mirror at myself, track marks on my arms, bags under my eyes. I thought about my life, about how my daughter was going to be taken away from me, that I didn’t have a bed to sleep in, that I had to steal from everyone and anyone. I was infected by a disease, a disease that has no sympathy; addiction. I was full of mental illness. And I knew that I did this to myself, but I wondered why this God wouldn’t help me. I didn’t know that it was going to get that bad in the beginning. I remember thinking that He was sitting up there in Heaven or whatever, staring down at me from His big comfortable throne, and He was laughing at me.

I hated Him. With everything inside of me, I hated Him. 

When I went through my recovery for the third time, though, I was surrounded by people who loved this God. I questioned their beliefs in the beginning. “How could a loving God kill children? How could a loving God allow diseases and terrorism and every horrible thing that has happened to happen?!” I asked people this question, I screamed & shouted it inside of my head. I didn’t get an answer. I went to church with these people, these people who loved God and had a faith that could move mountains. I went to church week after week after week, confusion & doubt nearly drowning me.

And then I felt Him. 

It was an experience like no other, a feeling that is extremely hard to explain. It was as if I could feel God pulling my spirit out from my body & filling it with something I hadn’t felt in so long; hope. For months after this happened, I started getting deeper into the bible and memorizing scripture and studying the passages. I did it partly because it was part of the program & I had to, but also because I craved more of Him. I desperately wanted to be closer to God. 

Experiences similar to the first one started happening more frequently. I constantly heard His voice, I felt Him on a daily basis. He pushed me to stay strong, He comforted me, He told me how much He loved me, how much I was worth. He told me that I was His daughter & I was unique and beautiful and everything was going to be okay. He was by my side throughout my entire recovery. Things started to happen in my life. The relationships with the people that I love were being reconciled, I wasn’t craving heroin anymore, I was becoming…different. When I graduated from the program, I realized that He had been here for me the entire time, I just wasn’t listening. I was doing my own thing, and my own thing led me nearly to death.

I still have questions, I still wonder why the world is in the state that it is in. But I know that He has a reason and that He loves us. I don’t know why I was saved from addiction while thousands of people out there (some of them people that I love) died from it. I also don’t think that I will ever get the answers to any of it, that I will never know any of the reasons, but I think that I have to have faith regardless.

So, yeah. God saved me. And He can save you, too. You just have to listen.

 

 

Dear, Drugs.

Dear drugs,

You never loved me. You constantly left me on the verge of collapse, ripping at my soul, tearing out my heart. You were terror in a syringe, masked by the feeling of “escape” that you gave me. You lied to me, that’s all you ever did.

You never cared about me. You made me sick, riddled by cold sweats and constant nausea, paranoia and disgust. In the dead of the night, I clawed at my skin. I wanted to get away from you so badly. There were times when I thought that I had finally gotten rid of you, but the bruises that marked my arms reminded me that you weren’t gone. You were never gone. You were always there.

You took my daughter from me. You took my family away. You made me lie to the people that I loved, you made me steal things from people who trusted me. I looked in the mirror and there was nothing left of me but you; you & your empty promises, your sick game that you make millions of people play.

You stole my happiness, you ripped it away from me. I was nothing anymore, void of compassion, unable to feel guilt or empathy. You consumed me until I was nothing but bones peeking out from underneath cold, pale skin & all I craved was you. I couldn’t eat or sleep. I couldn’t live.

But the best part about all of this, my old friend, is that I won. Now it’s you that is nothing. I am three years free of you & I have never felt better. I am strong. I am alive.

I am more than you will ever be.

 

For the Recovering Addict…

They say that everything heals with time. They say that the pain gets more bearable & things get easier. But lately, I feel like my heart is on fire & my soul is under attack. The things that I have done, the people that I have lost, the fear & the anxiety that continuously plague my life; it feels like it never stops. There are days where I can say that it isn’t that bad, that the trauma I put myself through is something that I can deal with, something I can handle. Then, there are the days where I wake up dreary eyed & filled with unfathomable sadness. I drag my feet to the bathroom, my stomach lurches & aches, & horrible recollections begin pulsing through my brain. Over & over again.

It was supposed to get better with time. It has been almost three years. Life was supposed to get easier. I’m sober, for God’s sake! Isn’t that good enough?

The reality of all this, the painful realization that has embedded itself into my brain, is that it doesn’t get any easier. It gets harder. In active addiction, you learn how to mask the emotions & the feelings through drug & alcohol use. You numb yourself to the point where nothing really hurts you anymore. You’re just there, barely living, & your body & psyche adapt to it. You don’t really have to deal with all the hurt in your life because the chemicals do it for you. Take those chemicals away & there is nothing left but you. So you have to learn how to handle it. You have to pick yourself up & fight through the things that you didn’t want to fight through before. I know, It sucks. I’ve been doing it for going on three years now.

It’s not easy, but I think that’s where the beauty of it all lies. The beauty of recovery is where your unacknowledged pain is, where your forgotten sorrow lives. You can either take those traumatic elements & use them to shape yourself into a better you, or you can leave them there. You can leave them there & ignore them, until they come back up & next thing you know, you’re using again. Deal with what you need to deal with & keep fighting, because it’s worth it. You are worth it.

It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about you or says about you. What matters is what lives within your heart & what you think and say about yourself. That’s what is most important. Look around you & make a mental list of the things that you are grateful for today. Remember how painful it would be to lose it all. Addiction is life or death, it’s shown its ugly face time & time again. It has taken valuable people in society.

Don’t let addiction win. It’s your choice.

 

Get Up, Soldier. Fight.

I don’t really give a damn if you are black, white, purple, brown, red, rainbow, etc. We are all fighters. We are born soldiers. Even at our weakest & most unbearable moments in life, we were created to endure. We were created not to give up, no matter how stupid that may sound. 

Walk through your personal Hell (we all have one), because I promise you that it ends. The devil, as grizzly & mean as he is portrayed to be, is actually weak and cowardly. He is nothing. He will not defeat you if you don’t let him. 

And trust me. I know there are times when it seems like there is nothing left inside of you to fight with, that you have no energy left. Sometimes, we hit our breaking points & we don’t want to go any further. We want to lay down & we want to give up. I am telling you right now that giving up should never be an option. Nothing ever good comes from giving up. We were created to fight battles such as these. The darkness doesn’t last forever.

So promise me you will do something different. Get up, soldier, because you were made for this. Get up, because laying back down could cost you your precious life. And we only get one.

This is for those women or men who are reaching for the bottle, the ones begging for more pills. This is for the little boys and girls getting bullied at their schools, for the teenagers slitting their wrists. For the people who no longer feel like getting out of their beds in the morning. This is for anyone & everyone who has ever struggled, and I am pretty sure that’s 100 percent of the human beings on this planet.

Let me tell you this, people; everything that you have ever been searching for to overcome these battles has been inside of you this whole entire time. So get up, soldier. Fight, because that is what you were born to do. And don’t stop. Please, don’t ever stop. 

 

Find Your Light

I am alive, more alive than I ever have been before. My heart beats, flooding my veins with renewed purpose. My lungs fill and expand as I take in a breath of fresh air and my eyes widen. I am hopeful.

Within all of the darkness, I have a found a light that guides me through. This light tells me that I am worthy of having a voice and that there are people out there who will listen to me. It shows me my way when I am lost. It fills the emptiest parts of my soul and creates within me an everlasting peace. This light is my compass, my hope, the protector of my happiness.

You have that same light inside of you too. Trust me, it’s there. It’s waiting within the shadows of your innermost being, it sits in the realm of your darkest thoughts.

Find it. Let it out. It’s dying to guide you home. 

Don’t Worry, You’re Still Learning

Our minds are beautifully vast and limitless, filled with years of memories and collections of information. We, as human beings, were created to learn and to adapt. We were destined to know things. From the second we entered this world as screaming, crying babies, we learned how to eat. We learned who our mothers were, who was going to take care of us. We got older and we learned how to walk, speak, listen, read, write, count, etc. The list could go on and on about all of the various knowledge that we gain in a lifetime, but the basis always stays the same. We are creatures who thrive on experiences and we are evolving and learning every single day.

I, myself, am only twenty one years old. But I look back to when I was eighteen, only three years ago, and I am blown away by how different I was. In those three years, I learned how to really be an adult, how to be responsible as a sober person. Through painful experiences, I grew to stand up for myself, take care of my daughter, keep a job, take care of an apartment, and create a budget. I learned that the absolute best things in life don’t come easy. I came to understand that some things just can’t be changed. I realized why I should never settle for the things that don’t make me happy and I learned how to let go of the things that were holding me back.

And I am still learning, like everyone else. We are always learning. I will continue to make mistakes. I will continue to fall and I will continue to learn how to get back up again. And so will you. It doesn’t matter how old you are, whether you’re 15 or 102 years old. We are all still learning. Our experiences and the things that we learn throughout our lives are what make us who we are, and they shape us into who we’re becoming.