I hate cliches, stereotypes, and tropes as much as you…

…but I have one that I find myself revisiting relatively constantly these days and this idea that there is a “monster” that lives inside my head. It’s only wish is to take me down. I have no idea why, how, or when. I can’t name it. It’s not simply depression or “mental illness”. It’s not something that can be undone with therapy, drugs, or corrective behaviors. I’ve tried.

I know, at this point, that it’s not a matter of if it will take me but when. As I’ve said before, I am trying very hard to spend what time I have left doing good for other people before my inevitable fall. I kind of feel like this is the same way that people who have been “on top of the world” also felt. Maybe that’s why the people I immediately think of who lost the race to their own monster resonates so strongly with me. I find myself fervently working, always working, here or on photos or writing or lesson plans; always something to try to keep going. If I have another deadline to meet I can’t go, right?

Those deadlines and tasks, though, don’t stop the loneliness from sinking in. No matter how much I love what I do on a daily basis it doesn’t change that I don’t have anyone to share it with in the way that I wanted. It doesn’t change that, for a minute, I *did* have that but it didn’t last. No matter how much I love family and friends, it doesn’t keep the dark clouds at bay for long. There’s always some reminder waiting around the corner to empower the monster to show me of all of my failings and why, exactly, I’m alone.

“It’s not a matter of if but when.” It’s not anyone else’s fault. It’s not even really mine. It just lives there inside me. It’s always been there. Living with that sense was something that I thought drew me and my former partner together. I thought, hoped, that maybe we could cling to one another and weather the respective storms that our monsters put us through.

One day, I will lose.

One day, the monster will catch up and overtake me. Hopefully, it gives me enough time to continue to help others. When I tell people I sense are in the same kind of danger that I am that life is worth living and that going on is rewarding, I mean it, even if I can’t square it with myself.

And that’s the thing, whether it’s Tony or Kate or Chester or Chris or someone else you know and love, sometimes there’s nothing we can do. All the 800 numbers in the world can’t stop the inevitable. Please don’t hold it against us. Please.

At the same time, as ever, I want to ask people to please, PLEASE, if you love or care about someone, let them know. There truly aren’t enough days in life to say it out loud and for someone who’s hurting, who’s battling their inner demons, it could be the shield that keeps that person here for just a little longer and, hopefully, could be the first or fifteenth or fiftieth rung on the ladder back into the light that they need.

In honor of that, Miki, I love you. I care about you. I dearly hope your monster is at bay and that you are doing better.

I wish I could say the same about myself but at least I plan to wake up tomorrow.