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The Crushing Weight of Despair

The Crushing Weight of Despair
January 18
15:59 2019

By: Mike Rudon Jr.

My name is Mike Rudon, and I’ve been drinking pretty much non-stop since I was about seventeen years old. I’m thinking by now I should have been dead a whole bunch of times, or at the very least I should have been sitting on the side of the street somewhere, drinking rum straight out of a flask. Yet here I am, a fine specimen of a man, a heartbreaker, cute as a button, with a decent job, kids I adore, a family that loves me, mostly, and a few friends who think I’m pretty cool, at least when I’m not drinking. I’ve lost a lot, but I’m not lying when I say that just being alive, and relatively healthy, is a surprise and a blessing.

A friend told me that my column last week was sad, and I didn’t mean it to be. I guess it’s because I was reflecting on all I lost in 2018. I’ve faced the fact that for much of that year I was a wreck, in every way. I learned, at this late stage of my life, that I suffer from terrible depression. And maybe because I started writing about it, I realized what a terrible toll drinking and depression have taken on me. My marriage, such as it was, became a casualty of 2018. I can admit, now, that it was on life support for a long time. And that’s okay. I’m okay. I think I regret the way it ended, but not that it ended. And like Forrest Gump, that’s all I’m going to say about that part of my life.

I decided, also, that I’ll continue to write. I mean, what sort of cad would I be if I deserted my seven faithful readers? It wasn’t an easy decision to make. Writing is painful to me, because it forces me to face things I generally try to keep in a small, dusty corner of my mind. I was forced to admit that I am an alcoholic. I was forced to admit that I was destroying my family. I was forced to admit that to many persons, I am a nobody and a nuisance. I knew all these things, but through my writing every week, I was forced to face these monsters. For a time, because of my writing, I started to drink more. Here I was, writing about drinking, hoping to let persons know that drinking is a bad, bad thing. And I was drinking more and more.

But here I am. And like I wrote last week, I’ve decided that this is for the long haul. My story won’t always be pleasant. It won’t always be easy to read. One week I may come across as a jolly old soul. The next I may be writing about the rancid guilt which overcomes me when I fall off the wagon. That is just how it is. I have discovered that I have this Jekyll and Hyde thing going on. I pray daily that Mr. Hyde will be vanquished. And trust, me, this is a fight I intend to win.

If you are at all like me, you exist on an emotional rollercoaster. I sat in my office this Tuesday, just a couple days ago, and I had been happy all day. I had an amazing weekend with my kids. I had an amazing night with my Church brothers. I am in love (which is a good and a bad thing). I love my work. And I was at peace. And then, without warning, I felt this crushing weight, like a black cloud. I don’t know where it came from. I don’t know what caused it. But I couldn’t stop it. I tried playing music, but even the music irritated me. I tried to think happy thoughts. But it overwhelmed me. And that feeling lasted all Wednesday. It crushed me. Yet today, I am happy again.

As I do every week, I want to leave a message with those who are reading this. It’s a message of hope. I don’t know what your issue is. I don’t know if, like me, you are an alcoholic. I don’t know if depression or anxiety weigh you down. But you are not alone. I’ve learned, in the past months, that many persons suffer silently. A few weeks ago somebody stopped me on the street and told me that when they read my article they were shocked, because they never knew. See, I’m ridiculously cute and charming. I’m funny and sarcastic and smart. I’m a decent writer. And some people think I have it all together. But I don’t. We all have problems. We all do. But in this instance, be like Mike. Fight that sucker. And if you fall, like Mike, get back up. So many times I have been beaten by my failures, so guilty about falling that I keep myself down. In 2019, that won’t be the case. I’ m going to kill this demon in 2019. You can too. No matter how bad it seems, never stay down. I’m here if you need to reach out. Anytime.

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