i opened my eyes and knew i wanted more

November 5, 2012 | 73 Comments

Suspension bridge in Vancouver

Even through my haze of depression, I can see I have an especially good life.

Saturday night I had a short, broken sleep. I slept until almost noon, even with the time change. Steve and Emma decided to walk over to Starbucks and drink hot things while hanging out on mobile devices. Steve whispered their plans into my mostly-sleeping ear before leaving. I woke up a few minutes later and stared at the ceiling while I contemplated joining them.

I visualized walking into the coffee shop and saw their faces light up. An ache to be with them filled all of my spaces like spray foam. I got dressed and texted Steve to see if they’d still be there. He made me promise to brush my hair—something I’ve not been doing much of lately—and put on something sexy.

I brushed my hair.

I take having an unwavering cheering section for granted. It was good to remember and to sit with the remembering.

I just came back from the doctor. She filled out a form for me to be off work until Christmas. I felt such shame sitting in the tiny examination room, waiting for her to appear. Here I am a-fucking-gain, I thought. I told Steve last night that I worry this is all in my head and I’m the most convincing faker on the planet—having mostly convinced myself, too. We recently applied for life insurance for the second time. The first time was three years ago after my last medical leave. And now I’ve blown it for us again. Isn’t it possible that I could have just toughed it the fuck out and done my job?

I leave on Thursday night for Alberta. I’ll be in Caroline for 8 days at something called The Hoffman Process, an intense-therapy retreat. I, perhaps foolishly, have all my hope in this basket. I’m so desperate for change. This cycle of self-destruction is strangling my dreams, and I can’t (or won’t?) pull myself out, despite the gobs of love and support I access daily. I’m tired, you guys. And I don’t trust myself at all. None of my thoughts, instincts, desires—they stem from a black hole of need. Crippling, suffocating, pathetic, needy need.

A friend who broke up with me a year and a half ago because of my neediness, wrote in her farewell letter that she hopes one day I will know “unequivocal self-reliance.”

Me too.

The soundtrack for this entry is “Five and Dime” by Joshua Radin because that’s what’s playing in the coffee shop as I finish up.

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Joining up with Yeah Write for BlogHer’s NaBloPoMo. No guilt. Just fun.

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  • http://hellofisher.com Steve Fisher

    I believe my exact request for you to dress hot and strut when you walk into Starbucks. Huge difference! ;)
    Happy to be unwavering in all things.

    • Shannon

      Right. I should have quoted your text, I guess. xo

  • http://www.bigloveforgirlsatrisk.wordpress.com/ Kim

    i know this doesn’t matter to you, but my prayers and intentions this week are all for you.
    bow down to it, dig in, lean into it and leave it all on the tarmac.

    my paige’s last words to me before her Process were, “what if I’m the only one it never works for?”

    her FB status before bed last night was, “It’s funny how you can think you need something for so long, crave something, and when it finally shows up you realize it’s not even what you really need in that moment. I will free myself of expectation and love me before any other.”

    11 months ago, she couldn’t get out of bed, had put a belt around her neck and hung in the closet and fluctuated between non-stop crying and crippling anxiety attacks where she felt like she was floating outside her body.

    today, she lives in residence, is in her first year of college and the status is her realization that her desperation for a boyfriend is just not that important to her right now. she’s gonna love her first.

    even on a bad day. that shit works.

    i am holding you in a safe and love filled spot in my heart.

    give ‘er shit, shann.

    • Shannon

      Kimmie–it ALWAYS matters to me. It does. Thank you.

      I love Paige’s story. I cried in the parking lot reading it. Thanks for sharing it. Hug her for me. And then have her hug you for me. Hugs all around.

      I fucking LOVE you.

      Some day I’m gonna love me the way I love you and that’s going feel amazing.


      • Kim

        That last line made
        Me cry.

        That’s what I want for you.

  • http://www.stillhatepickles.com kiki

    I loved this post, though I ache for you and the struggle and pain. I have a really great friend who suffers from intense periods of darkness and self-destruction and I can say that all of us on the outside just wish we could pluck you out. Hope that the therapy helps. Appreciate your honesty!

    Found you via Yeah Write.

    • Shannon

      Thanks, Kiki. We’d really love to be plucked out. It’s nice to be loved that way.

      Thanks for being here!

  • http://www.stillhatepickles.com kiki

    Also, LOVE Joshua Radin.

  • Nonie Chalmers

    I have been following your facebook status and blog and was so hoping you would not go down this far again Shannon. You have no idea how much I am rooting for you to come out of this successfully. I need you to! You are loved by so many and every single one of us are sitting in your back pocket to help you at any moment. However what really matters is that you are trying to help yourself. I know you can do this. I have so much faith in you because I love you. As Always Nonie

    • Shannon

      Love you too, old lady. xo

  • Mariesy

    I have no perspective on what you are going through Shannon and I know that I come across as prickly, etc… But you matter a lot to me. You matter a lot to countless people. I hope that you work through this and can be all the awesome that deep down you know that you are. I haven’t always helped you in that regard, but I am a better friend that I was before because of you.

    • Shannon

      You’re my favourite kind of crunchy.

      I feel supported by you, M. That’s a big deal. Thank you.


  • http://www.mymomsawhackjob.blogspot.com Jules

    Be strong, it is a journey, but it appears you have a man that wants to take it with you all the way. Thoughts, prayers and hugs your way.

    • Shannon

      Thanks, Jules. Steve is a really great dude. I’m lucky.

  • Peach

    Shannon, my dear, we are just getting to know each other as rowmies. But I will tell you that you are not alone. I love that Steve so obviously adores you and does everything to make you happy. Hold tight to him and to all your loved ones, and know that there are those of us out here in the interwebs supporting you, too. xoxo

    • Shannon

      I like you, Peach. Let’s hug.

      • katie

        Rowmie group hug!?!?!?!

        Shannon you quite truthfully, sound awesome!!!!

        YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!

        I was totally shocked to read this post today – I think you are GREAT! Sending you support you in all the virtual ways possible!

        • katie

          er, you don’t sound like you are *doing* awesome…but *you* are awesome!! and well loved <3!

          • http://splatospheric.blogspot.com MizYank

            Yes, Rowmie Group Hug!! I remain poised for the adoption, too, despite–or perhaps because of–my appalling lack of parenting skills. I now understand the context for your earlier comment about splatting. I speak from some experience when I say this: The choice you made today speaks volumes about your strength. You’ve obviously got it in spades, and I’m betting on your success. (Sorry for the Rowmie Cheez Whiz, but everything tastes better with it, you have to admit.)

          • Shannon

            Yes to all of the hugs and all of the cheeze whiz. You guys are great.

  • Your Po, Forever

    Dearest Shannon,

    I love you, deeply. Always have and always will. And I sit here, heart aching for you, as I know what the darkness feels like. And I also am cheering for you, as I see you taking charge and doing something about it. As hard as it is to take the time off work and “all that it looks like”, to me it looks like someone who is taking care of herself before things get worse. Checking yourself into The Hoffman Process? Well, I don’t know what that is exactly, but I’m proud of you. What a great role model you are for your little girl to take the time to heal YOU so that you can be there for her when she needs you. Mama, you are making some very wise and very hard choices… and choosing each day going forward is BIG. I love you so much and think of you often. Sending you so much love and support and clarity… hoping that some of it will help you. I’m also so, so happy that you have Steve and Emma, they are truly amazing.
    Love love love, Your Po. xo

    • Shannon

      I feel the same for you. Thanks for this heart hug. xo

  • http://bellejarblog.wordpress.com Annabelle

    I am SO PROUD OF YOU. The things that you are doing to help yourself are SO IMPORTANT. I hope you realize what a huge step you are taking! I seriously cannot tell you how proud of you I am. Huge hugs from all at Casa Coe-Thériault. Love you.

    • Shannon

      Lady, it freaks me out how much I like you. Love you, too.

  • http://www.happinesscubed.net Dawn Beronilla

    I wish you all of the strength and courage you need to get to a place where you are happy for all of the right reasons.

    • Shannon

      Thank you, Dawn. I’m hopeful!

  • Jocelyn

    This made me verklempt. When my mom died, I promised myself to run towards people and not away from them. I do, sometimes. And 99 days out of 100 I’m okay with being perpetually single (but the 100th day sure smarts)(today was the 100th).

    I’m proud of you for running towards the people. I want to send you my digits in case you need to have text but you need to run towards yourself more.


    • Jocelyn


      • Shannon

        I can’t wait to meet you and hug you for inappropriate amounts of time.

  • Cecily

    Last year was one of the bleakest, blackest years of my life. I managed to read the book “The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression”, and the author mentioned that depression was the flaw in love.

    “To be creatures who love, we must be creatures who can despair at what we lose, and depression is the mechanism of that despair. When it comes, it degrades one’s self and ultimately eclipses the capacity to give or receive affection,” the author wrote.

    If you can still feel the love for Steve and your daughter, if you can take the steps you need to take to nudge you back toward wholeness, I feel that you’re further ahead than you might think.

    I won’t wish you happiness and I won’t fill you full of platitudes, but do hope you’re well (whatever wellness feels like for you) again soon.

    • Shannon

      I like those words. I like you.

      I’m on my way to well. I am.

  • TSB

    I have no profound words. I just love you and I’m always rooting for you.

    • Shannon

      I love you, too, TSB. No profoundness needed. xo

  • http://livingoffscript.blogspot.com Bee

    I know exactly what you’re going through because I’m going through it as well. I’ve only read your blog a few times, but I know for a fact that you can’t — not won’t — pull yourself out of the cycle. If you could, you would have. Going to the Starbucks *and* brushing your hair are huge achievements. Don’t sell yourself short by thinking “yeah (I did those things), but…” I know I need to listen to my own advice. It’s hard. I hope the therapy retreat helps.

    • Shannon

      Thanks, Bee. Thanks for your comment, encouragement, and for being here. Hugs to you. xo

  • Lisa

    Not sure I have any words to add to the above awesome comments full of love so I will simply say, “I was here. I SEE you. And, your guts are beautiful.”

    • Shannon

      Thanks, Lisa. xo

  • http://splatospheric.blogspot.com MizYank

    Just another Rowmie shout-out, wishing you healing and peace.

    • Shannon

      Rowmies are the greatest!

  • http://mrsjanuary.com/ Cassie

    This made me sad. Get better, beautiful!

    • Shannon

      Thanks, friend. That’s the plan! xo

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