The day of November 22nd is a crucial day for me – a sacred day. The concept, of course, is that of marriage. One year ago today, at three o’clock, I became the luckiest man in the world. I married one of the most flawless and impossibly beautiful women that the world had walking upon its surface. The woman I was blessed to marry is the most amazingly talented and brilliant women that one could ever hope to know.
I remember everything. I remember the day I fell in love with this fantastic, scintillating star. I remember arriving at her house to speak with her family about the transplant process and sickness, and she happened to be the face behind the opening door. My brand new lungs, which were so filled with breath, were suddenly gasping for air. I was smitten, and remain so until this day.
It was kind of odd how the love came to be. I just blurted out that I was in love one day after her brother’s play. I can remember the smells…the scented sage and the candles. God…I can even remember the faint scent of linen, which her then apartment always had, as the large bathroom also served as a large laundry room with an unhooked vent. None of these I ever loved so much as I love her. It was a funny thing for me, because I never love romantically. I love the world, and I love kindness, but I don’t generally fall head over heels for anyone. And it was a funny thing because I had never been in love and had no idea what the hell I was doing.
Something perfect happened when I met Sweet Bee. She was unique and dynamic and magnificent. Back when I met her I was so strong. I had forgotten my biggest weakness-the depression. I slept easier after leaving behind my loneliness – but mostly, I slept easier without the delusion of self that I had been intoxicated by for so long. The delusion that I could stick my head in the sand and everything would work itself out for me…and in my favor.
I wish I would have told her of my susceptibility. I wish I would have known it my own stupid self. But god…can you imagine how hard it is to come out and admit that you’re weak, after spending three years preaching Hope to the world? Good. Because depression is not a weakness- it’s a disease.
I can place myself back in our marriage day-I can see ourselves walking down aisles and stairs and listening to the “Great Gates of Kiev” as we entered our reception. The most fantastic thing about all of this is not that it simply “happened”… but that it was perfect. I had never been so happy in my life. The first week of our honeymoon was a fantastic Godsend in my life. And so went the following year. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined something so perfect and unimaginably flawless.
I had certainly made my mistakes, but the strength of my beloved carried me through all things. Somehow, I arrive here today at my one year anniversary having just lost her. Lost everything I ever held dear and sacred.
This, of course, is not the fault of the woman I love. This is…all…my…fault.
I am a sufferer of clinical, chronic depression. Me-the Breathe Easy guy- am now seeking help for the clinical depression that has caused me to fall apart and to drink too much and to lose everything, including my dearly beloved wife. I had done some pretty stupid things in my life (see “invincibility complex”), but something so amazingly powerful as depression does more damage to a healed body than sickness ever had a chance to do to a healthy youth.
I remember the beauty of waking up to the sunrise at by beloved’s old apartment. I would look at that rising eastern sun and swoon. Then my wife would walk out and wait to be taken to work an there was something complete in me. She was that completeness in and of herself. That morning when I knew I would love her for the rest of my life, I can remember the brisk and cold air, blowing through the sunrise. The clouds were slim and wispy as if they were only there to be a part of the pink and orange morning beauty. The morning is a beautiful thing that is beautifully predictable – you can always count on that burning orange sun calmly rising in the east, and the brisk chilled winds to make sure you know you’re awake and alive before you rush off and commit to a day.
This morning I knew how much I loved her and I stepped outside of her old apartment was just such a morning. The toaster had just fried itself and I had to toss it outside before the whole thing caught the apartment on fire. After I pitched the toaster into the grass I was taken breathless by the scene. The flawless orange and yellow with the onset of beautiful blues was the true awakening. I knew I would always love this woman. One deep breath of crisp spring air, and I knew…this was peace and love. This morning was three years ago, and serves as this article’s cover photo.
As the next year and a half came and went, we had nothing but happiness. Every couple has its issues, of course, but we always fought hard to overcome them. The new bliss of our love was unconquerable and we would never let something tear down the life we were building. In September of 2014, I had totaled my car and was appropriately punished in court. This was the moment my depression returned. As my love began to drive me everywhere, and the stress of the incident reared its ugly head, I began to collapse again.
The following February I lost my license for six months, and it affected both my job and mental health in such a way as to take its toll on me. An apathetic malaise began to surface, and things stopped being done on time or done correctly because I was focused on the wrong things. I began to allow my wife to become the sole source of strength between the two of us, and that is my fault and my fault alone. This is the problem with people who ignore their depression and any sub problems of said depression such as drinking. Your mind becomes so hard, and so cluttered that you need to soften to survive.
Unfortunately, when you sober up again all you begin to think about is dulling the pain. And the sick, self-destructive cycle continues on and on forever, because alcohol is a lie. Things began to really spin out of control in April of this year when I nearly lost my Grandma, and immediately thereafter lost three very close friends to Cancer. Then, as I began to continue making poor choices, my own health became worse. Finally in June of 2015, I myself developed Cancer. The very day my wife and I closed on a house, I was sent to Cleveland via ambulance and spent two weeks recovering. I wish I could blame it on dumb luck, but the truth is the only cause is dumb, bad choices.
I had the Cancer successfully removed in July, and spent the remainder of the month worrying for my job. Finally, after July, I resigned my post and accepted that I must move on. At first, the happiness began to return, and I recognized my alcohol abuse, but continued to refuse treatment for depression – saying it couldn’t be possible that I – the Breathe Easy guy – could be depressed.
After the money started growing thin, and the clients started disappearing, so did the happiness. And finally, I had lost the only woman I’ll ever love – because I was a pig-headed ass who made a long string of poor decisions. Then, she was gone. Finally, the illnesses became real. I recognize the damage I have done now, and am seeking the help I need. I will see a specialist, and now have a sponsor in case I feel like drinking or doing something stupid.
The important lesson is that we shouldn’t be forced into a position in society into which we have to fall on the darkest times to seek the help we need. Depression, alcoholism, obsessive disorders, and you name it – these are real, and quite serious destructive diseases. Diseases just as risky as Cancer and Cystic Fibrosis. There is no shame in looking someone in the eye and telling them, “I have Depression, and I see a therapist twice each week.” There is no shame in saying to someone: “I am an alcoholic and I am now happy to say I am sober and in recovery.”
This world possesses great beauty, and there is nothing like living in it – clean, and with a clear head and a full heart. I know I need help for me now, and that I need to continue getting help for me, but I will never give up on love. I pray every day that she will not give up hope on me and my recovery, and I pray every day that we can rediscover that happiness. Burning toasters, post-it love notes, spontaneous gifts of love, and a good bouquet of Alstromeira. The life we have built is a beautiful one, and deserves every ounce of love I have to give. I just wish I would have seen this sooner.
Now, however, even if I wake up in the middle of the night sobbing, and need to make a call; or if I look at a bottle of wine with lust in my eyes, I know I have the help I need and there is someone to on the other end of the line. I know that if my life comes back in the door I will be strong enough to help it stay standing this time because I finally had the courage to seek the help I needed so desperately. Life is worth living, and love is worth saving. There is always a way, and there is always hope. Even when you need a shove to seek it out or to fight for it. Don’t wait until it’s gone before you try and find the courage to save yourself and your love – don’t wait until your whole life walks out the door like I did.