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October 11
16:25 2018

By Mike Rudon Jr. –
When your day is long…and the night, the night is yours alone. When you’re sure you’ve had enough of this life, well hang on! Don’t let yourself go, because everybody cries. And everybody hurts sometimes! – REM
Today, of all days, I decided to write about depression. It’s not an easy thing to write about. It’s not an easy thing to describe. I’ve written a lot of these articles. But this may be the hardest yet – and that’s because I’ve written stuff, both personal and political which has been pretty incendiary and deep and raw – all that good stuff. But this is harder. I’ve been sitting here for a while now. I write, and I delete. Then I write again. And delete again.

Like the chicken and the egg, I’m not sure which came first – my depression or my addiction to alcohol. I’ve been addicted to alcohol for a very long time. Maybe I was addicted from the very first time I tried it. I just never could handle it. I always wanted more, because I loved what it gave me.

I loved women even back then. I remember being at St. Catherine Academy one day and all these girls in uniform were walking past. I could smell the perfume and I literally couldn’t breathe for a moment – total sensory overload. Did I mention I loved women even way back then? But I couldn’t talk to them. I was painfully shy. I had no confidence. I was insecure. I would stand in a corner and never have the courage to approach these girls.
Anyway, I digress. Alcohol gave me a courage I didn’t have. It made me feel confident. My jokes were funnier. I was getting these girls. They liked me. I was the life of the party. I went to six different proms. I was somebody. I remember being carried out of Hard Rock one night after I passed out in the bathroom (thanks Stuart I still owe you for that one) – but I was still loved and looked up to. I was somebody. Only thing is, I don’t know, now, if I really was somebody or that was all in my head. What I do know is that I couldn’t stop drinking.

Fast-forward 25 years or so, and not much has changed. Except at some point I started hating the drinking. And there were and are so many things wrong in my life that I can tie directly to alcohol – failed relationships, friends lost, respect lost, financial problems, marriage problems, family problems – all tied to alcohol. And I started having problems sleeping at night. That was my first real taste of depression.

I’m not talking the break up with your girlfriend and go look for a watermelon tree to hang yourself kind of bad feelings. I’m talking about the one where everything around you loses its colour. The kind that keeps you awake all night, sweating and dreading the rising of the sun because you don’t know what the day will bring. The kind where nothing is important anymore – nothing. The kind where you walk around like a zombie, and the kind where you can’t stand yourself to the point where you go look for more liquor to dull the pain and emptiness just for a moment. I’ve been there. A lot. As much as I adore my kids, I have even been to the point where I believe that my life is sufficiently screwed and it’s time to check out. Not often. But it has happened.

The other day I got up in a good mood. In the bus I saw something on Facebook which offended me. Walking to work I passed a guy who was casually dumping a big drum of garbage on the street. And then I got into work and I realized that my coffee was done. And easy as that, I was down. Sometimes it’s a song. Sometimes it’s a thought. Sometimes it’s a cruel word from someone who matters. For me, sometimes there is not even an obvious reason. I’m here working and thinking from one thing to the next, and like the flick of a switch I’m down.

I don’t know what it’s like for you. I don’t know your issues. I don’t know what you’re going through. I don’t know what brings you down. Hell, half the time I’m clueless about me. But the one thing I do know, with absolute certainty, is that I am not alone. And just as I know that, I know that you are not alone. Find somebody to talk to. Don’t keep it inside. It festers. Trust me on that. But don’t ever feel that there is nowhere to turn, or nobody that understands. I went through most of my life feeling that way, and it’s the loneliness which drives you down the deepest. I know. It’s the loneliness. So reach out. Because there is somebody who understands.

Wait! You didn’t think I’d be able to get into depression, take a short segue into alcohol and provide solutions to it all in one article right? I’m pretty damned wonderful. But it can’t be done. See you next week, if God spares life.

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