As a person with depression and anxiety, I have to be careful not to blow shit out of proportion. I have the tendency to get wrapped up in my own head. I have to say, however, after being an addict I have learned to get over myself somewhat. That is not to say that I don’t have my episodes. It’s just that after having a gun pointed in your face, after having friends murdered or almost murdered, a lot of the little shit seems somewhat trivial.
When I was in high school, I set out to be the darkest, deepest, most depressed person to have ever roamed the face of the earth. In collage, I discovered Sylvia Plath and Elizabeth Wurtzel. I identified with their plight. The struggles of being at the bottom of an endless black hole, looking up and not even being able to see the slightest hint of light. Everything was the end of the world. Suicide was always just around the corner. My all time favorite Plath poem is ‘Lady Lazarus’. She wrote it after her second suicide attempt. She laments, “Dying/ Is an art, like everything else/ I do it exceptionally well.” She so clearly articulates the pain of being on the brink of wanting to escape, to end it all. This was (and very often still is) a pain that was right there behind the smile and bubbly exterior.
At first the drugs helped me to numb or suppress this pain. It calmed me. It quieted the storm of rage that was constantly brewing inside the pit of my stomach. My husband always remarks that how with every other girlfriend that he has had, the drugs made them crazy. Lying, stealing, whoring. They became despicable, ugly human beings that he could no longer trust. There is a certain amount of weakness in a person if they let the drugs change them to the point that they steal and lie to the person that they are closest to. All addicts lie and hustle, but you have to be able to sleep with yourself at the end of the night.
He has told me that one of the reasons that he knew that I was his soul mate is that I never betrayed him while we were getting high. If anything, the drugs made me more sane. To clarify, that is not to say that I need to be on drugs to have this level of sanity. It is more that I went through so much shit, and saw so much shit as an addict that it made me get over myself. I realized that aside from someone holding a fun to your head (and with the intention of pulling the trigger) shit is not life or death. This feeling of the world is bigger than just me was further compounded by having children. I am able to step back and look at things on a larger scale.
The irony is that when I was in high school and collage, I thought that I was so worldly. I was so deep and smart. I was going to be a rock star at a very young age and everyone was going to remark at how mature and insightful my poetry was. Now, when I take a look back at my younger self, I laugh at how naive I was. I was so fucking wrapped up in my own head. I was selfish. I thought that all of my problems were the most important things to exist in the universe.
I know that this is no longer true. I may be a little to detached. I almost never show a wide range of emotions externally. I have used up almost all of my tears, and thus rarely cry anymore. I am not susceptible to wild bursts of excitement. For example, if I won the lottery, I would not be one of those people that would be jumping up and down and screaming wildly. I would be happy, don’t get me wrong, but I am just not that excitable.
I am looking into finding ways to pay in forward. I am trying to help others. Be it social work, or volunteer work. There are bigger problem out there than my own. People face far tougher dilemmas than those that I face in my own life.
I am embracing many Buddhist principles in my life. I have taken a step back in my life. It is a little sad and ironic that it took almost a decade of a thousand dollar a day heroin and cocaine habit to figure out that I am the center of the universe. It may not have been the most ideal path to take between point A and point B, but the important thing is that I got there.