Broken Promises

8 06 2010

And strangers break their promises
You won’t feel any
You won’t feel any pain
– Eels

I don’t really want to be serious tonight, but I did promise to tell my story. Let’s compromise!

I saw my therapist tonight. He said, “If it’s any comfort, I think you’ve bottomed out.” Um…yay? I suppose it’s a plus that he doesn’t think I’ll get any more depressed than I already am. Right?

So I was kind of bummed on the way home, but then I saw a truck that had the word “Legit” painted on it in big swirly letters. I really want to meet that driver just so I can say, “So, you’re legit…but are you too legit?”

And now, back to our story. When last we left, our incredibly depressed heroine was contemplating her first drink.

I want to take a minute to discuss my mindset at that point in time. In my mind, I’d done everything I was “supposed” to do. I was married in the temple. I attended church regularly. I prayed, read my scriptures, paid my tithing…all that I was taught would bring me true happiness.

I wasn’t happy.

Every time I heard “multiply and replenish the earth” I started crying. Nothing in my Mormon upbringing had prepared me to give birth to a dead baby. I was supposed to stop taking birth control, get pregnant and then have a baby. End of story. Nobody mentioned the awful things that might happen between point A and point C.

I was angry.

God told me to multiply and replenish the earth and I tried, dammit. What kind of messed up God tells someone to do something and then totally messes with them?

I was disconsolate. I was livid. I was miserable.

I had a plan.

I’d done everything I was “supposed” to do, but it obviously wasn’t working for me. Now I would do whatever I wanted, because really, it couldn’t possibly get worse.

So I went to a bar. I chose it carefully, because I had no idea what I’d be like or what might happen. I just knew there was the potential to feel better. I went to a bar where I knew the bouncer–we’d been on a few dates before I got married–and I felt like I could trust him to kind of watch over me.

Darin, if you ever read this…thank you. For more than I’m willing to discuss on a public forum.

I don’t remember what that first drink felt like, but it must’ve been decent, because it wasn’t my last.

I learned to drink.

I learned which drinks packed the most bang for my buck. I learned which ones made me gag but were totally worth it because once they were down they made me feel warm and fuzzy and like everything was okay in the world.

I didn’t drink every night, or even every weekend. Most of the time I was achingly sober, which gave drinking an allure that seemed not only difficult but pointless to resist. Why would I not do something that brought me a moment of respite?

I’ve had a lot of trite phrases thrown my way during this whole journey, and this is the one that always makes me laugh: “It’s not true happiness. When the glow wears off, you’ll be even more miserable.”

Bullshit.

Pardon my language, but at that point there was no such thing as more miserable, and if I could get 30…60…120 minutes where I didn’t think, by golly, I’d take it. Anyone who throws that phrase around has no idea what true depression feels like, and I’m happy for them. I’d prefer nobody feel that way.

So I drank. And I distanced myself from my husband, my family, my church. I still participated in all the things I had before, but it seemed empty. That was the one problem with alcohol–it wore off, and I certainly couldn’t spend every waking moment drunk. After all, that’s what alcoholics do, and I certainly wasn’t an alcoholic.

I couldn’t admit that I was drowning. I had to be strong, because that’s what you do when horrible things happen. You pull on your big girl panties and press forward. (That was a rather disturbing visual. Sorry.) You don’t say that all your dreams and hopes for the future vanished overnight and now you feel like there’s nothing to live for.

That might make other people sad, and I was sad enough for everyone.

Luckily, I found a solution. I didn’t have to drink all the time, because there was something even better! It was cheaper, more accessible and, best of all, every bit as legal as alcohol.

*No, WordPress proofreader, I did NOT mean Gustave. I meant must’ve. It’s a perfectly good contraction, so just go edit a Danielle Steel novel or something. Jerk.

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11 responses

5 08 2010
Heidi

One of the only reasons I DIDN’T drink during my depression (and, believe me, I sometimes considered it) was that I had friends who did, and they would have REJOICED that I’d “fallen”. I didn’t want to deal with the gloating. Also, I had some anxiety stuff going on that often made driving/leaving my house very difficult.

But I know that if I HAD started drinking, I’d probably be dead now.

Sometimes bravery is just putting one foot in front of the other, which is what we’re wired to do. It doesn’t seem very brave, but it’s braver than giving up. Thanks for sharing.

5 08 2010
Takes My Pain Away « Like Swimming

[…] Broken Promises […]

9 06 2010
Jessica

telling your story lets others know they are not alone. Alcohol was never a problem with me but anxiety and single motherhood have given me a reall run for my money and I’m always grateful to read what others have been through just to know i”m not alone.

Thank you for your bravery

12 06 2010
Jenny

Thanks, Jessica. I don’t feel very brave, but I’m doing my best. It’s good to share our imperfections–how else would we feel any real connection?

9 06 2010
Amy

I am so touched by your story. You are so strong to be able to share the heartache that you have experienced with the loss you have had to endure. Thank you for sharing and for being able to say that all of the “right” things aren’t what make someone happy.

12 06 2010
Jenny

Thanks, Amy. It took me a long time to come to grips with the fact that my life wasn’t going to look just like what I’d learned in Young Women’s. We all have to find our own path to happiness. Sometimes it takes a while.

9 06 2010
Sue

I am here and I am reading. I am captivated by your descriptions of circumstances and emotions. I keep reading over the words “I had to be strong, because that’s what you do when horrible things happen”.

9 06 2010
Kristina P.

Having experienced anxiety and knowing how scary it can be, I have to say, I am so thankful I haven’t inherited my mom’s depression. Because I don’t know if I wouldn’t have done the same as you.

9 06 2010
Karla

I feel like a heel. I have been completely oblivious to your heartache and pain. Please forgive me and help me know how I can redeem myself. I want to be a real friend. p.s. You’re a great actress!

9 06 2010
Emily

Wow! This is my first visit to your blog and I don’t know what to say…but you are such a compelling writer, I want to say something. ‘I’m sorry’ seems kind of trite though, doesn’t it? I mean, since I don’t know you. So, I’ll just say: you write beautifully, I *am* sorry, and I’m glad you’re sharing your story.

12 06 2010
Jenny

“I’m sorry” isn’t at all trite–it’s one of the few things a person can say that isn’t trite. Thank you.

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