When I’ve been in my darkest days, I’ve always turned to writing. It’s the pill I took to get out of my deepest funks, to lift me out of a lack of desire to live, to a place where I opened myself up to infinite possibilities and a life worth living. My funks, or bouts with depression began, in my teen years and became deeper and darkest throughout my twenties and seeming to taper off somewhere in my late thirties. It wasn’t until high school that I had an inkling that there was something that felt greater than myself, pulling me down, spiraling my true essence out of control. A teacher at Traip Academy pulled me aside from a two day health and well being conference into a room with a counselor and another adult for support. Without knowing it, tears had begun to stream down my face during one of the sessions and cried out for help to anyone that might be listening.
In my early twenties came meltdowns, triggered by God knows what. My body would tighten in defense and anger would erupt when I felt safe and hidden from the rest of the world. Heat would engorge my entire body and it felt as though a thousand needles were pricking through every inch of my skin. Exhaustion would come to my rescue and I would crash. I feared being alone, wanting to keep it all at bay, something I seemed to be able to do when I was around people. It only became worse when my father took his own life on Father’s Day. I was twenty two, married to my high school sweetheart, and a mother of a one year old boy. My doctor wanted to put me on Prozac, the new miracle drug of the time, but I bit my lip and stood my ground. I refused to be that person, I didn’t want to admit that I desperately needed help. I had strived to do everything right in my life. I had graduated school at the top of my class, college was a breeze, I kept myself busy by volunteering and being active with any group I could find in school, but somehow when being focused on doing what I thought I should be doing, I forgot to help myself.
It wasn’t until the end of my second failed marriage did I begin to see the light. My world that I had built up around myself was crashing down and I was the cause. I had made choices based on what I thought the world wanted from me and had refused to listen to my heart or gut about what I needed and wanted most. From the outside looking in, I imagine I appeared to have it all. I had a beautiful home with lush gardens, three incredible children, a business I had built from scratch, and a list of community organizations and events that I had my hand in. Yet these were some of my darkest days and not until the first brick fell did I ever allow myself to even whisper out loud when everyone else was asleep that I was dying inside. Fate stepped in and somewhere in the yellow pages, I found an amazing woman,a luminescent sage in Kittery Maine, who guided me through some of the most difficult decisions I would ever have to make.
And then I began to write, everyday I sat down at my laptop and wrote. At first I dipped my toe into the water and shared only glimpses of what I was feeling or experiencing but then as days, weeks, and months rolled by I began opening up in my writing and almost magically my life seemed to follow suit. I started a blog, A Little Lift. I turned it into a series of books, three in all – one published. I moved out with my three children and became divorced for the second time. I continued to write, diving deeper into my pain with each new post. I traveled to Mexico and Honduras and was filled with new vibrant visions and exotic smells. I wrote about letting myself heal so that I may live and grow into the person I had always dreamed of being and then I began to meet people. I kissed a lot of frogs but somehow avoided getting too many warts and even had a near miss with a prince before I met the one. Even when I feared being judged for writing about my most intimate moments and experiences I continued to write and grow as I landed in a profession, helping children to find new ways to become calm and safe when aggressive and hurting most.
And then one day, I woke up and life wasn’t so dark anymore. Instead of catching glimpses of light cascading down into my day, the clouds seemed to have passed and my cheeks were warmed by the constant stream of sun shining on me and my three children. I wrote about feeling the light inside and all that it made me grateful for…and I’m still writing. Life is not perfect but it’s beautiful.
I’m married for the third time. I have a blended family with five children, a farm, and some animals. I am happy and no longer fighting to stay afloat in the dark, murky waters I used to call home, and I am still writing.
I’m not sure when the idea first popped into being but I know it came through my new friend and co-conspirator, Anne. It went something like this, “you should start a writing group of sorts, I’ve given your book out to three people going through divorce, you should lead a group where people who are going through divorce can come together and write to live, or something like that.” I smiled, lowered my head, and wondered.
Yesterday I called Anne. A name for the book I want to write about her being a medium came to me and I wanted to share it with her. She interjected that she really thought I should start A Writing to Live group at her office. I paused and said it could be called, “Writing to Live – writing through life’s hardest transitions.”
This morning I woke up excited to write and texted Anne and said when can we start it?