This piece was originally published May 10, 2011
And I used to be strong
And I used to be a man
But now I fold at your feet
Like a burning letter
I’m sitting in my car, late at night, watching the blood well from the lines I’ve just sliced into my arm, and I’m wondering just why I did it. In hindsight I’ll manufacture some kind of explanation, but in the moment all I can think of is, I’ve got to find a reason for someone to care.
And in the moment, I am out of my mind.
Shaking from head to toe, I grab my phone and I call my wife and ask her to remind me why I’m worth keeping around. She talks me down, but I keep shaking all the way home.
And there you have just one of the recent skirmishes fought between my brain and itself.
To say depression has only just wrapped me in its loving embrace would be wrong. I’ve been falling into that pit off and on for most of the last 20 years. But it was this year that everything came to a head. It was this year that, as I spun my wheels frantically trying to deal with the release of two books, the writing of two regular columns, my first-ever comedy festival show, a full-time night job and the accompanying sleep deprivation, and providing for a wife and three children, I finally cracked open, and lost my ability to keep it together. Thankfully, this also meant I stopped pretending everything was OK. The meltdown came suddenly, frighteningly and with devastating force, but it was the meltdown I had to have.
It’s been a terrifying, strange, surreal, ridiculous time, suddenly finding myself buffeted by waves of panic, sweating and gasping for air and sobbing for no good reason, stricken suddenly by the all-pervading terror that everyone I love has finally become fed up with me and left, as undoubtedly they will, and as undoubtedly I deserve. Suddenly finding myself shrunken and diminished, huddling in a ball against the pain of the world. Suddenly finding myself clenching my teeth and wondering how long I have been. Suddenly finding myself completely unable to cope.
Always the fear, the fear. That an unanswered text message means a friend has cut all ties. That when I’m not around, people talk about me, saying what they REALY think. That I’m pathetic, weak, worthless, and the voice that won’t stop whispering to me “Fat Loser, why don’t you give up? Nobody could love a THING…