How to get out of the funk

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I have a better word for depression.

I’d like to call it The Funk, and respectfully so… I’d like to tell it to go fuck itself! Last week, I found myself in the grip of this Funk. It was a dark, lonely, and hopeless mental space that didn’t feel easy to just snap out of. Usually, I can convince myself that I need to stay strong and not allow it to consume me. But, this time… this time was different. It was almost as if it sunk its teeth right into my box of tools and ate them simultaneously.

I am no stranger to depression. I have had my moments every now and then. The feeling of melancholy, teeter-tottering sanity, and then regaining my sense of balance. BUT THIS! What the hell was this? This was new!

I often thought to myself that I was just having another one of my moments and that it would pass. But, It wasn’t passing. I felt so confused, weak, and helpless. I wondered… Was it just that time again? That time, where I falter and cave due to being completely burnt out?

I don’t mean my time of the month. I mean that time of the day, that time of the week, that time of the month, sure. But, that time doesn’t include menstrual cramping and back pain. (Well, maybe it includes the back pain.) But more so, what I mean is, that time that it can just come sporadically unannounced, unwelcomed, and plague my life without a single notice.

This was not the usual taste of depression, that kind that jumps up to say hello and holds onto you for a brief time period, and then let’s go. No! This was not that kind of depression.

Normally, or should I say not so normally, it would consist of apathy towards life. A need for a motivational speech or a cigarette, or maybe the entire carton even though I haven’t smoked in years.

This wasn’t like that at all. This time, It scared me.

What I’m talking about here was insidious and more powerful than I had ever experienced in recovery.

It was dark.

Sure, you can call it the disease. Go ahead. Call it what ya will but for me, I’d like to call it the cousin, Mr. Funk.

And when I say Mr. Funk got me, I mean that motherfucker married my ass non-consensually and made a full-blown commitment to tag team my mind along with his dear kin (the disease) and go for a long, drawn-out piggyback ride through mental turmoil.

And, I couldn’t shake them off of me.

Truly, of course, I know that I have a broken brain. A brain that I know not to listen to when it starts babbling nonsensical jargon.

This kind of brain, our brain, is difficult to diagnose; leaving us to be the only ones who can actually concede to this notion (that we have a disease in the first place) and muster up everything in us to do something about it; beginning with acceptance of our powerlessness.

So, yes, I guess you can say I did not concede but instead chose to lay down to get trampled on by the disease yet again. Still, this type of funk was not something I had ever thought I’d experience. Maybe I was completely lacking the acceptance part, the vigilance, or the will to do anything about it.

What I was though, was the observer, staring out as a witness knowing better and yet, doing nothing.

The willingness felt more like a chore. I didn’t have the strength for it among many other things.

Showering was a chore. Brushing my teeth was a chore. Waking up. Eating. Taking care of my children. Being affectionate towards my husband. Homeschooling my children. Meetings, twelve-step work, and calling my sponsor… breathing…you fucking name it. It was too much. I wanted to climb into bed, draw the curtains and wallow.

Instead, I went about everything begrudgingly, sighing my way through, kicking, and screaming internally.

I showered on the floor for months, just because my body felt so heavy. I didn’t have the energy to hold myself up anymore. Instead, I did it all sitting down, praying, and crying my way through it. As I’d pray and cry I would silently scream until I had nothing left in me or at least until my head just couldn’t take any more of the pressure that began to form the migraine from hell.

I didn’t have it in me to argue anymore either. Instead, I became quiet and my responses were all monotoned and careless. I stopped caring about everything. I stopped everything. I took to the backseat and threw the disease the keys knowing it would crash us straight into an oak tree.

The old me started to come back only, she wasn’t smoking crack or meth. And she wasn’t physically abandoning her children.

Looking back at it now, I see that when I went away mentally, It was almost as if I had abandoned them – including myself.

Dereliction at its best. Abandoning oneself. Which reminds me of my question… why don’t they mention that in the alternatives? They mention it in the first chapter of the literature but not in the readings at the meetings.

I found that odd. Because you see, another alternative is dereliction and you can suffer immense pain from abandoning oneself and one’s recovery.

I should know. I am a professional derelict, at your service.

In retrospect, it may be funny now but it wasn’t. I was losing touch with why I got clean in the first place. They say stay-at-home-mom depression is real, well try stay-at-home-mom depression during a pandemic and isolating in isolation along with being quarantined for the last two years in counting.

Of course, all of this is by choice, considering the health factors involved and the fact that most of my family, are immune-compromised. Which by the way, fucking blows.

So what then? When the feeling progresses into a greater darkness than before?

These little bouts of sadness come and wrap their cold arms around me like a close relative and usually, most often than not, I know what to do to snap out of it. Tell it to leave, shut the door, lock it and call my sponsor. Pray. Meditate. Yada. Yada. Yada.

I can handle or at least I think I can handle this part… I mean, for fucks sake I have enough experience with saying “no!” to my disease. But like I have been saying rather redundantly; it wasn’t the same. It was darker than the other times.

It was the feeling of anger and hate towards everyone. The hatred towards myself. The unwillingness to sit in on another meeting, listening to another person sharing about their problems. The phone line. Zoom. The steps. My sponsor. The people that would openly share positive suggestions. The happy people. ugh! Those fucking happy people! There’s nothing worse than wanting to be out in public when you’re angry wishing and hoping for someone to jump up and give you a reason, an excuse to act out. I had none. I was alone, and of course, by my own choosing. I couldn’t stand them. I couldn’t stand myself. I could not stand one more minute of someone telling me to just practice principles. You see, I get it. I know that feeling all too well; where you just want to lash out and hurt everyone including yourself. Instead, I shut it all out. I cut myself off from oxygen. Cutting ties with the very little bit of people that I have had in my life, I was alone. Not to mention, my husband couldn’t stand me. I don’t blame him. I was so unkind to him. So much so that now I am picking up all the pieces, taking my own advice, and no longer shitting where I eat. I committed self-sabotage. I pushed everyone away to the point where I was left with only myself and my disease. This funk.

I didn’t want to be a part of it anymore. I wanted to die. So much in fact that I started to ponder writing a will. Having my husband adopt my two older sons. Just in case, so that no one could take them away from him.

I didn’t desire to get high. I thought about it, but I didn’t have the desire to use drugs. It made me sick to my stomach to think about it. What I wanted was to be gone. To take a permanent trip far away. Detach mind from spirit. To be free.

I envisioned myself going into my closet and grabbing my gun Betty. That’s what I named her. Black betty plays in my head while I say this because that’s where the idea came from. Anyway, I digress.

I saw myself putting the gun to my head. I thought about what my husband said about many people who lived because they were unsuccessful. I thought about how I’d aim in order to achieve death. I considered where I’d do it. What time I’d do it.

And, then…

Out of nowhere, I was like hold on… As if I awoke from a trance.

I felt like I was Mowgli from The Jungle Book being hypnotized by that damn snake Kaa. Until finally, Baloo saved him from being eaten. Do you remember that part?

At that very moment, my children were my Baloo. They don’t know it. But, they keep me alive. Sometimes I forget just how significant I am. And, sometimes, I forget that I have a disease. I am so perfectly imperfect that it drives me crazy to say this but I seriously felt like such a weak and pathetic failure.

I didn’t get out of that funk completely, but just like I eased into it… I’m easing myself out. Slowly. I am coming out of it. But, I am coming out. I know because I can smile again. I can feel myself here with me and I can feel god. One thing that I know for sure is that I won’t allow good ole slue foot to take me out of my life.

I’m sure that it’s not the last I’ll ever see of depression but at least I know that right now, I am okay. And, I will continue to be okay as long as I take positive action towards my recovery.

So, that when Mr. Funk comes knocking, I’ll know what to do.

I’ll fight.

You might be thinking that is the opposite of surrender, but maybe it’s not. Maybe it just means to surrender and to admit.

If the first step starts with surrender, followed by an admission… don’t we have to continue to fight for our recovery? For our lives? I believe that I do. Every day.

Whoever told you otherwise, may not have felt like they needed to hold onto something so strongly with their life in order to keep it.

If I don’t fight for my life, for my recovery. I truly believe that I will die.

Because at one point you see, I held a pistol in my hand ready to kill a man for a man I didn’t know in order to get high. I was ready to kill. I was ready to die. There wasn’t anything that I was not willing to do.

So for me, here, in this place… I will have to apply the same courage if you’d even consider it being that.

I know my days here are fragile. I can tell by how many people continue to die. Yet, here I am… leaving claw marks behind on almost everything I’ve ever touched (and I am tired) but, I am a survivor.

And – I will recover – with grit or in spite. I will remain standing.

I no longer shower on the floor anymore. I’ve started to feel a sense of gratitude towards my life again and I know I have the people and the higher power in my life to thank for that.

So how am I getting out of the funk? By accepting that the funk is already inside of me. Remembering where the fuck I came from and not allowing myself to forget. Four years and some change is a long time, but in an instant, it can all be revoked. I am not exempt from being back where I came from.

And I don’t want to ever forget that.

So don’t stop. No matter how hard it feels. No matter how big it the day looks in the morning, take it one moment at a time. Remind yourself where you started and that if you gave up, took yourself out, or allowed the disease to finish the job, you’ll miss out on the gifts that await you.

A wise man once told me that if you’re ungrateful for all of what the universe gives to you, what makes you think it’s going to want to give you anything more? Do you want to keep giving gifts to people that don’t even say thank you? That really hit me in the spirit. Because I started to think about how ungrateful I am at times. Where I came from. I didn’t have a pot to piss in. I came from nothing. Yet, here I am. A mother. A wife. A woman that can actually stay loyal to one man. A woman with a purpose. I no longer have to wake up in search of the next fix to fix me up and get me going.

There’s nothing easy about this. But, it really could be a hell of a lot worse. I know because I lived it. And, I understand that it could get much worse from that. So when I say positive action… I mean, putting on music that makes me feel good. Getting out of bed even though my broken brain tells me to remain there for ten more minutes. Handling my responsibilities.

At the end of the day, my mind is like the inside of a car that I have no clue how to drive. The manual is more like the tools behind the steps. I have to learn the steps in order to operate the mind. In this way, I have to learn the manual. Because my entire life, that’s what was missing. The manual on life. On my mind. On this fucking car that seems to just do what it wants when it wants. Well fuck that, and fuck the funk.

My mind is not a home. It is a prison. My soul, my spirit is where my home is and will always be. And I look forward to the future with gratitude for the person I am. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

So I encourage you to write your own version of what it’s like to be in the funk and then I want you to give it the middle finger and tell it to fuck off. let’s start a movement. Let’s call it #fuckthefunk and let’s use our voice to talk more about the ways we suffer in silence and what helps us to get out of it.

With that being said, I hope that you live life today with a sense of knowing that you don’t have to suffer and that there are solutions to find your way back to yourself. I think what’s important… is simply taking that first step and moving forward rather than sitting down on the floor and refusing to get back up.

Failure only lies in not getting back up after the fall. So… why not stand up and move out of the way? Observe it, and then recognize it as something that is already within you and choose to not hit ‘select’ on that option but rather move around it. Like one big fucking car accident that you have to drive around.

It may make you late for work, or take a few minutes out of your day, but it’s worth the time to take those minutes for you and scream into a pillow if you have to. Cry it out. Dance it out. Write it out. But whatever you do, don’t give up. You’re worth fighting for. Even if it’s you doing the fighting for yourself.

–Addict Named Mom

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