Hey, guess what?
I found the Ladder out of Depression!
The LITERAL ladder.
^^^ Bad news is, it looks like this. ^^^
Several months ago, I found myself back in the Depression Hole, which was an enormous surprise given the fact that I wasn’t sad. An occasional teeny, tiny raging bitch, perhaps. Nearly beside myself with anxiety anytime I left my children, sure. More and more reclusive, absolutely. And having a terrible time breathing through it all. But not “depressed,” per se. Evidence mounted, though, that I had a Big Problem and that the only way out was to start climbing. Again. Which felt very pppffffftttt. And blerg. And OOF. And it’s been slow going, this determined walk toward slow hope, which seems kind of sucky except when I remember that “slow going” and “slow hope” include the words going and hope which are enough for now because they’re progress, and progress is better than being stuck.
Great news, though!
I found the Ladder out of Depression last week!
The LITERAL ladder.
Or, OK, to be specific, a literal ladder which is the path up to Arizona Hot Springs from the Black Canyon portion of the Colorado River, but pretty much exactly like the Ladder out of Depression in that it’s long, high, slippery and kind of intimidating, and also more securely mounted and with a reward at the top that’s more blissful and worth it than I think it can possibly be while I’m still at the bottom looking up.
On the down side, the ladder is as hard to get to, as remote and secluded, as we all suspected, in a deep canyon with sheer rock walls. And there’s just no way to discover it other than deliberately. On purpose. With planning and forethought and friends who’ve marked the way. One-Foot-in-Front-of-the-Other Style, and with help, which is a bummer for the part of me who prefers to be entirely self-sufficient — an I WILL OVERCOME kind of person!… A POWER THROUGH IT kind of person!… an ALL MY BYSELF kind of person! — and a triumph for the wiser part of me who knows I’m just a person person, the human kind who is both stronger and weaker than I ever imagined and who needs help to overcome.
On the bright side, that Ladder out of Depression? It’s not impossible to find, or hiding like I thought it was, or a moving target like I’ve long accused it of being.
There are maps, friends! And more than one right path to the ladder! And people who’ve gone before! And encouragers along the way!
There are even guides who will walk with you and show you where to put your feet and say things like, “Follow me,” and “Almost there,” and “Wait ’til you get a load of what’s at the top; it’s AMAZING!” Which is good and important and very, very necessary, it turns out, because sometimes my faith in what is unseen isn’t enough to get me up the ladder, and I need to rely on the vision of others for a while. For just a little span of time.
Until I can catch a glimpse of the Light myself.
And follow it home.
Many thanks to Helen of Desert River Outfitters (highly recommend!), John of the Just Finding Our Way blog, and Kathy of Kindness Itself for your companionship, hospitality and expert guidance on a truly WOW day in the Black Canyon on the Colorado River. For specifics on our day trip, launching from the base of Hoover Dam (pretty dam incredible!) and more pictures of our adventure, check out John’s report here.
Disclaimer: no promotional consideration or blah-blah-blah was paid for this post. I just think Helen, John, Kathy and my cousin Leslie, who joined me, are rad.
P.S. I suppose what I really want to say here is this: if you’re wondering whether there’s a ladder or a path forward or a way out, there is. And if you’re wondering if the Light is coming, it’s on its way. And if you’re looking for a companion in the dark, I’m waving to you, friend. And if you’re too tired to take steps right now, it’s OK – it is – we’ll just sit on the path together for as long as it takes and send love back and forth.