Saturday, December 31, 2011

Taking A Risk ~ Take 5

I’m pretty sure I’ve written this here before… but it bears repeating, if for my own ears only. When I first fell into the black hole, my therapist at the time kept telling me that the antidote to depression was risk. I argued with her every time, citing the entire eighteen months before, where I had done nothing but take huge, life-altering risks. Leaving my marriage and home. Going to Moloka’i alone for three months. Buying my own home two hours away from Bay Area, where I’d lived my whole life. It actually appeared—to my eye anyway—that taking risks might have in fact led to the major depressive episode that I was experiencing.

Now here I find myself, over a year later, back in a seriously dark hole, having a conversation with my daughter, who agrees that risk can indeed be the antidote to depression. As we talk about it, she tells me her belief, that it’s not about taking the huge, life-altering risks so much as the smaller, every day ones. Where could I begin, she asks, in her uncanny way of getting directly to the most important point. And the answer is immediate; I can start right here in this blog. Where I haven’t been writing. Where I’ve been isolating, avoiding the truth. Where I’ve been hesitant/reluctant/afraid to say—again—how depressed and numb I am, and conversely, how sad I am feeling, how much pain I am in. After all, how many times can one say it? How many times is too many times? And won’t folks, at some point, just get tired of hearing about it?

Which brings me back to what I’ve also written again and again… I don’t write what I write here for other people, I write primarily for myself, as therapy, as a place to explore and discover and let it all hang out. It’s where I can be real, and not have to pretend or sugar coat or out-and-out lie. And sometimes, when I’m lucky, it’s where I can come to understand or be inspired, when the words just lead themselves there all by themselves, not as a plan or by will or orchestration; the momentary gift of a pinpoint of light; frosting on an invisible cake.

So here it is. My truth. I am suffering more deeply again. Some days, seriously so. And I know that I am no where near the only one. We all suffer. Some more than others, maybe, but it is without question part of the human condition. Right now, my best friend and her daughter and their families are in deep sorrow over a loss. My sister and her family are suffering as a loved one struggles. I, we, don’t have to look far… and it’s a common denominator I think; and often it can be our own suffering that opens our hearts so completely to the suffering of others.

Whatever opens our hearts more fully is a gift. Though I do resist -- unconsciously for sure, but nonetheless, and though I know better, I find myself again and again beyond reluctant to let the pain just take me. Hence the numbness, I suppose… self protection, fear that if it starts in earnest, it might never stop, or, might take me somewhere so out of my control, I might never find the way back. Which, ironically I believe, is the whole point...

This morning I came across this beautiful quote by one of my favorite authors, and it speaks perfectly to why it is I am drawn again and again to words, and it inspires me, to keep going, to keep coming back here, keep taking the risk, first and foremost for myself, but also, in the hope, the dream, that what I experience, what I am able to write here, might also touch someone else out there.

Writing, real writing, should leave a small sweet bruise somewhere on the writer... and on the reader.
~Clarissa Pinkola Estes


  1. oh that's a lovely quote, I'm writing that one down for tomorrow. stopping by to wish you all the best and more in 2012 Debby. Don't despair. Just get in the habit of looking up every day. Literally. Go cloud-busting. Feel what you need to feel and then move on. and look up! {{{hugs}}}

  2. Lovely quote.

    Risk-taking: another definition of my word for 2012 - discipline.
    Perhaps you want to join?
    I do each day something I do not like to do.
    Sometimes it is something as profane as getting up, other times it is something like cleaning the garbage bin and having to jump into it to get the job done.


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