Gratitude, Sadness, Fear, Hope

I have been listening to this song on repeat today. I don’t know if it has anything to do with what I am about to write. It’s called Hopelessness Blues, by Fleet Foxes.

On Saturday, I celebrated 500 days clean, a number I have been looking forward to since I celebrated a year. I had planned to have some kind of fun party that day. However, once again life did the opposite of what I wanted it to do and I ended up at a very different kind of party than what I expected.

I flew to Colorado for the weekend to be with friends while we celebrated the life of our dear friend Trevor. I have never experienced such speechlessness in my life. There is no right thing to say. I spent a lot of time trying to think of something to say that would fix everything, something that would make me and all my friends feel better.

Even though we all know that there was nothing we could have done, and it is no one’s fault that this happened, I think it is possible that we all feel some regret about things we didn’t say to Trev. I certainly do. I’ve had this blog since last August, and never shared it with anyone other than family and people already in recovery because I think I get a little sentimental, ramble-y, and weird sometimes. I told Trev about the hospital I went to, but I didn’t follow up with him.

My depression shows up in my inability to function. Trev was so ambitious I thought he was years, not weeks, older than me. It always seemed like he was doing well, and when I moved away I didn’t call enough. I spent about five months determined to move back to Colorado, and then I detached and made my new life in Austin and lost touch with my friends there, a little bit on purpose. The last time we talked, and Trevor told me about the attempt he had just had (almost one year ago), he seemed awake. He seemed like he was here, like he was ready and willing to live. We talked, hugged, and I told him about fighting the tough fight and that he could do it too. He seemed like he was going to make it. I think that I was living in this fairy tale world, believing that since I got better, everybody else would, too.

I worry that Trevor didn’t know how much I loved him. And there is nothing we can do about it? This sucks. Selfishly, I wish this story was something I was hearing about in a meeting, not something I had to experience first hand. Maybe as time goes by I will gain a better understanding and perspective on all of this. What I do know is that I must be militant in my own recovery and in my communication with those I worry about. It has been said before that depression is like diabetes- it doesn’t have to take over your life, but it requires attention and maintenance or else it can be fatal.

I have certainly learned things and will continue to learn things in going through all of this, but that doesn’t make me feel any better. I don’t want to have a good day because it makes me feel far away from Trevor. Thank goodness for my therapist and my loving support system here, but I still feel kind of lonely.

I am so glad that I saw my friends again, I was able to remember how much they mean to me. Before I moved away from Boulder for good, I was dealing with a lot of inner turmoil that I didn’t exactly speak openly about, and that inner turmoil tinted every memory that I have of my two years there. This weekend, I was able to look back and remember the good times that we had together. The silliness, the dancing, the late nights, and tickle-fights. I love those people and I always will.

I just finished typing all of that and needed a dance break, so I put on the following song and danced like a fool around my apartment. (Something that might make you laugh: sometimes I put on this song and close my eyes and pretend like I am dancing on a stage and moving people to tears with my dance moves. If you have ever seen me dance, you know the low probability of that happening.)


Grant Me the Serenity to Accept the Things I Cannot Change

One month ago today, Trevor died. I want to know the thoughts he was having. I want to know how he felt. I want to know a lot of things about his last 24 hours, and I will never get to.

One month ago today, something could have been done, right? There could have been something. He could have heard something or seen something that would have changed his mind, right? Maybe not.

I know that today, there is nothing that can be done to save Trevor. I know that I am only causing myself more heartbreak thinking of the things that could have saved his life. It’s too late. I have been repeating the serenity prayer in my head constantly since I found out about Trevor’s death. It only works some of the time.

I  know that today, Trevor lives on in the smiles of the people who love him. I am reminded to have compassion and empathy for everyone I meet. Each of us is on our own journey, and together we can struggle, we can help each other up, and we can enjoy the good days. There are so many good days. There is so much beauty in this scary, confusing, gift that is life.

The true meaning of my life is derived from the connections I make with the humans around me. Each of us just trying to figure it out. I hope to see and be seen. If I had never shown my true self to Trevor, I never would have had the blessing of knowing him.

It is too late to save Trevor. And there are so many like him who will not get whatever it is they need in time. These things will break my heart as long as they are true, but they will also remind me to live with kindness on my sleeve and love in my heart.