Coming out of the dark

Jazz, by Henri Matisse and the cover art from The Body Keeps The Score

Sunday wraps up three months at the Petoskey RV Resort in Northern Michigan. A Summer 2020 consisting of two cruises to Alaska, multiple RV’er meet-ups, and visits to Colorado & Oregon ended up being entirely different than planned. When we arrived in Emmet County, Michigan on June 4, the total cases of Coronavirus in this county was twenty two. The infection rate stayed the same throughout June and now, with tourism bringing many people to the area, the total infection rate has only risen to fifty four….so we still are in a relatively safe part of the country. We’ve managed to limit our socializing to a handful of other couples and restricted our visits to restaurants to perhaps once a week. In the past six months, we’ve entered only two other rigs and have only had three other people inside ours. My hug count over six months is three with perhaps one drunken kiss on the cheek. In spite of the situation, we’ve managed to make new friends and have fun, albeit socially-distanced.

I feel compelled to address the last blog entry (which I’ll probably be removing soon). A few that know me best understand the details of what has been bothering me for the better part of a year. Although I have been in no uncertain terms implored not to disclose anything – even at a high level, please know that the situation has been resolved. With apologies to the “implorer”, if this blog is to be honest and reflective of our lives, I need to address the elephant in the room. In both the literal and paradoxical sense, I have had a secret…..but I never knew many of the details. My utter inability to resolve or even incrementally improve a crisis brought on a serious level of depression – something I imagined as impossible. Likely obvious to anyone following our blog… or even anyone speaking with me on a regular basis, this has been a debilitating and humbling experience. I’m of the “rub some dirt on it and it’ll get better” make up and these feelings of despair and helplessness have never been part of my life. Doctors of both the body and mind variety believe that this stress and trauma directly contributed to my January. septic shock health scare. However, working weekly with a Charleston-based psychologist has been so rewarding and I’m certainly in a better place now than I have been over the past nine months.

Quite frankly, I was embarrassed to be prescribed Lexapro, an anti-depressant last October, but I knew that it was desperately needed. Fifty six prior years I operated and thrived in a focused, detail-oriented, driven (and sometimes hyper) mode, so the “new me” was someone I did not like nor recognize. Lexapro has lifted the lows, but also limited the highs so its been a trade-off, but a necessary one. I have not been as social and have often limited my time around others, even while doing fun things. Not feeling my creative, witty self, blogging has been difficult as the words, tone and humor don’t seem like me….even to me. Fortunately, I’ve had a global pandemic as overhead cover, so I’ve got that going for me…which is nice.

A mere few weeks before the happy conclusion of the aforementioned crisis, I hinted to the psychologist about a significant childhood trauma. She said that talking about it was important, but that this work would get much more difficult before it got better. To describe that as an understatement is ….well, an understatement. I devoured the book she encouraged me to read entitled “The Body Keeps The Score”, and its message was compelling. One line from the book that resonated with me was, “The greatest sources of our suffering are the lies we tell ourselves.” Literally with a single and simple question, my therapist Christina changed my vision that the “world is flat” to “the world is actually round”. In one simple question.

So, while people expected me to be ecstatic that Crisis One was resolved, I was in the “deep end of the pond” on Crisis Two. And I thought retirement was supposed to be a hoot. I’m plodding on through this self-discovery stuff, realizing that childhood shit is long-lasting. I’m trying to get my Mo-Jo back and hopefully writing more blogs will help move that ball forward.

Thanks Mom & Dad

Lynn as well as my mom and dad have been especially wonderful during these past months and I’m so fortunate for that support. Stay tuned and thanks for coming along on the ride.


11 Comments on “Coming out of the dark

  1. Thanking for posting this Jim. We have missed your blogs, even in an epidemic, but love your beautiful photos you share. We will continue to keep you and Lynn in our prayers for safe journeys of all kinds. ‘Til we meet in the next bar. Sherry


  2. thanks for sharing. I pray that will help you feel better. Please don’t be embarrassed about any meds. If they work and help your body AMEN!!! Tell Lynn HI!!!


  3. So glad to,hear from you! You have a loving wife and family that will always be there for you! There is always a light at the end of the tunnel even when it is not as bright as you would hope! Sending lots of love to both of you!


  4. I applaud and respect you for the hard work you’ve done and continue to do. Perhaps not your intent, but by sharing you likely are helping one of your readers who could also be struggling. May you have more good days than bad. Best to you and Lynn.


  5. Thanks for your transparency and allowing Wendy and I to be part of your journey. Rock on and keep sending me songs : )


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