Falling Into Recovery

October 2019

A picture of holes drilled into rock, and my left foot which I sprained on the hike up the Berryessa Trail. After spraining my ankle and having to climb back down all by myself, I realized that the only person who was going to get me down any mountain was myself.

My Summer was lit on fire with daily dosages of self-pity, self loathing, and lying on the floor feeling absolutely worthless. There would be nights where I’d sleep on the wooden vinyl floor because I felt like that’s where I belonged. Working in education, I had the entire summer off but that also meant I didn’t have a job during the summer. My sudden lack of income but abundance of free time compounded with the terrible mental state I had put myself in.

I spent most of July and August just sitting still in my room doing nothing but sit with myself lost in my thoughts. I remember just laying there on the ground staring into the ceiling fan for hours. I remember waking up from bed and after peeing, just going back to my bed and laying there for hours. I remember sitting in my bathtub with the cold water on for hours. I remember the deep isolation I felt in my room, my home, even with roommates, even with one of my oldest friends, my cousin, my blood, my brother, in the room right next to me, I felt more alone in those two months than any time before. But it all changed with one simple sentence that set me off on the road to recovery.

The turning point in my life was when someone told me “Don’t worry, we just need to find somebody to save you.” I’ve been fighting my shitty mindset for a decade now, I’ve been trying to pull myself out, by myself for years. There was a time I was living in a car in Chico for 2 years by myself while going to school, doing an internship, and being involved with student organizations without a single helping hand from anyone. I buried one of my brothers and didn’t have the luxury of having anyone support me during that difficult time. I was wasting away in my house knowing full well that nobody was going to come knocking on that door unless they needed a favor because I had already lived that life before.

Maybe a part of me wanted to be saved at one point, but the tone and way this person said it to me, it made it seem like my life was just so trash and that I was so trash that I could only be salvaged by someone “better than me.” Maybe a part of me just really wanted to hear anyone encourage me for once in my life and say:

“Hey man, I know that life can get you really down, but I just wanted to let you know that you’re a fighter and I believe in you, keep up the good work, let’s grab a celebratory drink sometime just to celebrate getting through another day!”

But whatever part of me that wanted that ended when I fell and sprained my ankle on a hiking trip. As I laid there with my swollen ankle at the top of the ridge line, no cellphone service and a 4 mile trek back down, I realized that salvation wasn’t going to knock anytime soon and although there were a few people on the trail, I was done thinking that other people will help me with my problems. I only had two real choices, sit there and complain about my problems or do something about it. So I got up from the floor, I gritted my teeth, I clenched my fist, and with tenacity in my eyes I struck back at life and decided to no longer sit here like a sad sack of shit and get the fuck up and keep pushing forward. I came to terms with the fact that maybe it was a little unfair that I was dealt a shitty hand in life sometimes, but I refused to stop making excuses for myself. Life’s an ocean with no lifeguard on duty, when you start to drown you either fight to survive or you drown.

After having sprained my ankle on my hike and limping back to my car all by myself, I realized that I needed to start taking responsibility for the terrible way I’ve been dealing with my depression and negative emotions. That meant checking myself into the psych ward and seeing a psychologist and getting some clinical therapy to help fix the mess of a head I had.

What answers did I find on the top of the climb?
None, there was no answer up there. I knew why I walked up this trial.
Answers are not found, they are chosen, and I’ve chosen mine.
Nothing, that is my answer.
There is no happy ending when you climb to the top, there’s only you.
I wasn’t born with the right color skin, right height, right family, right wealth, and right place.
What little I do have and made for myself, I barely even care for. The things and people I’ve lost over the years I truly cherish.
I’ve chosen nothing because I could fight hard and be strong all my life, but that doesn’t mean the days will get easier.
I won’t lie to myself and tell myself life gets easier, it doesn’t, some people suffer until the day they die.
The truth is that sometimes life will only get worse, but life doesn’t get better, you get better.
If nobody else will push forward with me then I shall go boldly into the unknown alone.

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