The Shadowed Path

[originally published November 5, 2015]


It's weird. I actually had a good day today. Woke up feeling actually okay, got to the kitchen where Pops had made me a cup of coffee, let the dog out, and got ready to go to work. The sunrise was magnificent, skies more or less clear all day, not too cold. 

I know I'm feeling better because for the first time in at least two weeks I didn't have to nap on my first break. I finished up Dune Messiah (there's a weird book) and cleared up some mail I'd been putting off. I even got my ballot filled out and sent in. Maybe voting day is what pulled me out of my funk, lol. I do love democracy.

After work I got my oil changed (only 4000 miles too late) and discovered that I'd let the oil run below the point the dipstick could even measure. Depression is such a cunt (sorry, Mom). Seriously, how many things have to pile up before the fog lifts? I can't even imagine what people with constant depression go through. Being bipolar 2 I at least get to dip in and out. Thankfully my medication keeps me from getting too high or too low. But even two months of low-grade depression has made a deep impact on my ability to get things done or to enjoy the things I normally take pleasure in.

God damn I have a lot of problems. It would take too long to list them out, but suffice to say I'm amazed I'm able to hold down a job, produce a podcast every week (or month, whatevz), take my dog out, and pay my bills "on time". I can't even imagine how difficult it must be to date me. Or be married to me. 

Which brings me to the subject that's most pressing on my mind: my relationship, or lack of it, with the Love of My Life.

I miss her daily. I know she wasn't perfect, but she was mine. She was always there when I needed someone to talk to. She nearly always laughed at my jokes. She went with me to most social events. She invited me to family gatherings. She rarely inquired about my feelings, wasn't very good at being comforting or affectionate, but I know without a doubt that she loved me. And now she's gone.

She's not dead, at least not last I checked. She's out there somewhere, still using the phone I bought for her, still on my plan, still going to work and probably still complaining to anyone who will listen about her problems and how she can't do anything about them, and yet, I miss her.

Why is it so hard to let someone go who isn't good for you? Near the end of our time together she wasn't spending the night, she was cagey and weird, she was hiding her feelings from me and generally behaving like someone would if they were seeing someone else. Over the last few months her responses to my emails have gotten less and less sincere. I'm pretty sure she's moved on and it kills me. We were supposed to be on a trial separation while we both worked on our mental health, but I don't think she's really doing much at all. She started massage school but now it seems like she might quit that as well.

So why do I want her back? Why would I willingly invite that drama back into my life? Am I just hopelessly addicted to being taken for granted? Do I have any self-respect whatsoever?

That's what love addiction is all about. It's the reason why I let my wife mistreat me for so many years. It's why I would lie to my family when she didn't want to see them. It's why I would be intimate with her even if I didn't want to. It's why I stayed with her, fighting and clawing until the bitter end even though she was clearly cheating on me.

Addiction is a killer. It doesn't matter what the addiction is. Anything that takes you away from your values and your safety threatens your life and the lives of the people around you. Seeking recovery is the best thing you can do, both for your mental health, but for those you love as well. Putting aside problem behaviors and truly facing up to the issues that lead you to avoid your troubles in the first place is the only way to ever life a healthy and productive life.

Writing these things down has helped. Sharing my struggles with you is helping me face my fears and stay focused on my plan of healing. I can't do it alone. None of us can.

I still miss her every day. I may for a good long time. And maybe, if my recovery goes well, and she receives effective treatment for her conditions, perhaps then we can start over. But for now I have to grieve, to make sense of this loss, and move forward along the winding path of recovery.

If you are struggling with the pain of heartbreak or loss, if you're facing serious mental challenges, if you have an addiction and you've been afraid to face it, please talk to someone you trust. Talk to a close friend or professional counselor. Or hell, talk to me. Send a fully confidential email to us here at and let's talk about you and your issues. Everybody can use a good listener sometimes. Hang in there, and know that you are not alone.