"Have you ever felt like you are in a dark tunnel with no way out and you can't even see the light?" Someone asked me the other day.
I nodded and said, "God yes. Yes I do."
And then I ordered shots because I am not the best person to have in depth conversations with.
Any advice I may offer will probably be followed with the statement: " and then fuck them if they can't take a joke anyway."
Which pretty much means you should do the exact opposite of anything I may suggest.
In any case, the question made me think about how small children are more likely to survive being lost in the wilderness than an adult is.
That really makes no sense at all unless you live in my brain.
It's a fucked up confusing world in there.
A small child, lost in the wilderness, will sleep when he is tired, eat when he hungry and drink when he is thirsty.
He will seek shelter and stay still to keep warm.
An adult, or an older child, in the same circumstance will push himself past exhaustion and risk exposure to the elements and death, in an effort to be found again.
They will panic and may even run across roads or paths that would have led to help without noticing.
I think that's how I got out of that dark metaphorical tunnel.
I went back to the basics.
I stopped running.
Ate when I was hungry and slept when I was tired.
Sort of living on auto pilot.
One foot at a time.
One breath at a time.
This last year has been the worst time in my life.
It was Hell.
There was a point that I simply could not even fathom an end to the tunnel.
I couldn't imagine that anything would ever be anything close to okay again.
I thought that I simply could not take anymore of anything. That if even one more small thing was placed on my shoulders, I would simply die.
Just lay down and die.
This is called stress overload, by the way.
It's Hell on your mind and your body. I didn't sleep, I forgot to eat, my muscles ached and my heart raced. I was broken and lost and terrified and so much more. So, I climbed trees, painted walls, did ridiculous things at ridiculous hours of the night, cleaned stupid shit and drank entirely too much tequila, desperate to just keep moving, with no destination or reference point.
This is obviously a bad fucking idea.
At some point, a friend held my shoulders and told me to breathe, just fucking breathe. I think I babbled out something about how bad it was.
How really, really, fucking bad it was.
He told me, quite simply, that there was nothing broken that could not be fixed.
Nothing lost that could not be replaced.
He said that even if the worst possible things I could imagine happened...
If Husband never got better, if we lost the house, the car, if we couldn't fix this marriage and the dog ran away?
Even though it felt like we were in Hell?
I was alive, my kids were alive, and somehow, someday, we would be okay.
I thought about it, which is weird for me, because I usually tell him to shove his irritating optimism up his ass.
I decided that he had a point, and found a little bit of hope again.
And then, things went from bad to worse and then from worse to "why does God hate me?"
And then some jack off stole my minivan from behind the gun store.
I called my annoyingly optimistic friend and told him that I was probably a serial killer in my last life because Karma fucking hated me.
I told him I quit.
I was broken and lost and I didn't have enough strength to care anymore... and then I hung up before he could shove any more feel-good, don't-worry bullshit at me.
And I quit.
I stopped running around in circles.
Stopped cleaning dumb shit and painting walls.
I slept when I was tired, ate when I was hungry. I got up, fed the kids, went to work, came home, fed the kids and went to bed.
One foot at a time.
One breath at a time.
And somehow, without me really noticing it happening, the tunnel became a little less dark and scary.
Somehow, when I stopped running and trying to be found?
I found me.
So I guess, if I were the sort of person to offer advice, or involve myself in deep meaningful conversation?
I would have told my friend that everyone gets broken, that we all get lost in that tunnel, and that sometimes all you can do is breath.
That sometimes, when if feels like there is nothing you can do to get out of the darkness?
Nothing may be the best thing to do.
Back to basics.
One can always self-medicate with meth-amphetamines and vodka, sell your kids to gypsies and become a hooker.