In the Midst of a Storm

Backyard Sunshine

Backyard Sunshine

My sweet love, the Viking, brought me coffee this morning even though it made him late to work because he knows I’ve been struggling this week.

I fell asleep last night before even eating dinner, fully dressed, worn out from hours of crying. Every other evening this week has looked much the same, while my partner holds me close and his shirt soaks up my tears. He brings me Aleve when the dehydration and stress from crying give me splitting headaches. He brings a glass of water and an anti-anxiety pill when I shake uncontrollably and hyperventilate. Some nights, like last night, he eats dinner alone because I am too engrossed in holding my mind at bay, battling at the edge of despair. He is brave, he is patient, he is kind to me, and I am blessed. So why share the misery when the good outweighs the bad?

I rarely write when I’m in the midst of a depressive episode because I’m usually too exhausted, too uninspired, and too guilt-ridden to share my petty sorrows. The depression I live with is not uncommon and sometimes I even believe that it isn’t shameful, any more than any other chronic disease is shameful, but I am ashamed that I cannot control my own mind when it spirals into darkness. I am ashamed to come across as melodramatic and self-obsessed, but sometimes I need to write to escape from my own head. Sometimes I need you, my friends, to share with me, so I feel a little less alone.

I’ve lived long enough now to see the backside of many depressive episodes. The cycle repeats, not always with regularity but with certitude. I feel it coming in the tightness that constricts my throat like a boa constrictor wrapping around my neck. Panic, never far, is my dogged shadow. Tears come easily and over the smallest of slights. I am feeble and emotionally fragile. I feel helpless and dull, waiting for the inevitable. I can quantify it, now that I’ve lived with it long enough. Assuming an average of one episode per month, beginning when I was perhaps ten or eleven (before I even had a word for depression), each lasting around a week, I have spent approximately 216 weeks, or four years, of my life in suicidal anguish. 1,512 days and counting. I can measure its beginning and know that it will end, but in the midst of the storm that is little comfort. I know that this, too, shall pass, but I dread the next. During the worst moments, I see my life stretching before me to the horizon, like the ocean, with depression piling up like wave atop wave, roaring towards me, and I wonder if I will survive the next inevitable crash. I wonder when one wave will be too much and will sweep me out to sea to drown. I know that what I feel now will end, but not for long. It’s debilitating. Sometimes I ask myself, why continue when the mental anguish all but extinguishes the remnants of life I cling to? But, in truth, I have more than enough reason to carry on.

I wait out the storm and emerge after bathing my skin in saltwater from hyperventilating, uncontrollable sobs that wrack my body so hard my stomach aches and my throat is sore. I am dehydrated from weeping and my eyelids feel like sandpaper.

The world through my eyes.

The world through my eyes this morning. It’s lovely, so please forgive the melodramatic absurdity of self(ie)shness.

I will make it through, as I always have before. And I have a partner who helps carry me through the darkness. I have a good life, a wonderful partner, caring friends and family whom I love dearly. I breathe in the rain-fresh air this morning in my own sun-soaked backyard, and, for the moment, forget to fear the future. I am blessed, I will endure.

To those who love and support someone with depression or other mental illness, know this: you are valued beyond measure.

Please don’t mistake depression for ingratitude.

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Adventures in (Resuming) Ponyhood, Pt. II

First Riding Lesson: Complete

Verdict: Yay!

Current Status: OMG, PONY!!!

Ahem.

Must contain myself.

Before getting to the barn yesterday I was pretty nervous. How much would I remember? Would I look like a total idiot? Would the trainer like me? More importantly, would the HORSE like me?

Turns out, items 1, 3, and 4 were just fine. Item 2? Well, that’s part of the fun.

My lesson horse was a mostly sweet Tobiano paint gelding, with a little bit of grumpiness. I get him. His name is Perfect.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take any pictures. I went by myself, and didn’t feel comfortable asking someone I just met to indulge me by snapping a bunch of photos that would probably be unattractive and I would summarily delete.

But I have something just as good, I promise.

May I present you with a photo-realistic drawing of me and Perfect.

Seriously, guys, you’ll be impressed with my artistic skills.

It’s amazing…

Just like the real thing…

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Here it is:

Megsie Rides

Megsie Rides

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yep. That happened.

Next lesson is in t-minus 6 days. I can’t wait for pony snuggles.

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Adventures in (Resuming) Ponyhood, Pt. I

After many years of talking about it, I am FINALLY going to my first riding lesson in over a decade tonight.

Eeeep.

I’m so excited, I keep forgetting to breathe. Not an optimal state when trying to command a highly sensitive, 1000 pound prey animal, but whatevs.

I’ve spent the past few months looking for a suitable barn nearby (as in, less than an hour away), and found many, but most were quickly eliminated for various reasons, namely:

1. Barn was too expensive.

I would love to be able to spend the equivalent of a month’s rent on lessons and leasing (not owning!) a horse, but I just can’t.

2. Barn was poorly run.

I read a LOT of Yelp and Google reviews trying to get a feel for places. Absence of reviews doesn’t necessarily mean a place is good, but it d0es mean no one has been pissed off enough to tell the internet about it, which bodes well. The ones with bad reviews, I still studied carefully to try and make a determinations of whether it would be worth it. One bad review doesn’t mean much, but when you have people legitimately complaining about the owner/trainer violating horse safety, time to run the other way.

3. Barn caters to the wrong discipline.

I’m a total English-riding snob, and if I so much as glimpse cowboy boots and neck reining, I’m out. I know there are probably many, many perfectly responsible Western riders/horse owners out there, I just haven’t met them. Western riding tends to either be rough or lazy, and the whole redneck persona is not appealing at all. I grew up in I-dee-ho, so I feel entitled to this opinion.

4. I don’t own a horse.

This means that I must rely on riding schooling horses for the foreseeable future. I didn’t think this would be much of an issue, but a lot of the most highly recommended trainers do not have lesson horses available. Disappointing, but understandable.

Prior to finding the barn I’m going to tonight — fingers crossed, it’s as good as it looks — I spoke with a very nice trainer named J, who,  as it turns out,  was absolutely terrifying.

J owns a small “boutique” stable (her word) about fifteen minutes from me. Perfect.

J was very friendly and talkative. A good match for an introvert like myself — I don’t have to say much.

J wanted to be “honest” with herself and her clients. She reiterated this many times. She was very honest. Honestly, a little too honest.

For instance, when I mentioned my budget for a horse was under $10k (which, let’s be real, that’s a lot of fucking money in my income bracket) she replied, “what? You’ll only get a broken down old nag at that price!” Then, she tried to convince me to buy a nice starter horse at the very reasonable price of $25,000, plus her $1000 finder’s fee.

Um… No.

Fortunately, this conversation took place over the phone, so she couldn’t see my face.

I have high hopes for tonight’s adventure. First step: try to squeeze myself into tall boots. Why, oh why didn’t I get zippered boots?

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