How to get out of the funk

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I have a better term 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. No! This was not that kind of depression that usually introduces itself to me every now and then.

Normally, or should I say not so normally, it would consist of apathy towards life. A need for a motivational speech or a cigarette 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. 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, that is difficult to diagnose; leaves us to be the only one 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 will to do anything about it was missing.

The willingness felt more like a chore I didn’t have the strength for amongst 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…

Either I didn’t do it or I did it begrudgingly.

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 building.

I didn’t have it in me to argue anymore either. Instead, I became quiet and my responses were all monotoned. I stopped caring. I stopped everything.

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.

But then what?

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.

I can handle or at least I think I can handle this part…

But, it was the feeling of hate towards everyone that I couldn’t stand. The hatred towards myself. The unwillingness to sit in on another meeting to hear another person talk about their problems. The phone line. Zoom. The steps. My sponsor. The people that would openly share positive suggestions. 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.

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.

My children are 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 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 one thing that I know for sure is that I won’t allow it 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 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 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 go back.

–Addict Named Mom

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