Posted by: Jack Hope | Monday April 16, 2012


Dear Terry,

What a horrible little trap I find myself in.  How much of my life can be summed up in one word:


Such a small word to describe something so huge.  Nevertheless, there it sits in all it’s horror: relapse.

I wander around the corridors of Saint Paul’s Hospital for lack of anything better to do.  The word plagues me.  The voice of objective truth gets drowned out in all my anxieties and fears:

It’s not as bad as before.  I don’t suffer from that soul crushing despair or that nightmare longing for oblivion.

In a way, that just makes it all the worse.  It is much more insidious.  I’m functional despite the symptoms.  I can take care of myself, I can handle most of my day-to-day responsibilities.  And yet it is drawing me back in.  Crippling me before I ever take that first step out my front door.

A part of me rebels at the thought of being here: I’m not injured or sick, I don’t belong here!  All of my pretensions of accepting my condition fade in the light of the raging voice in the back of my mind.

But I am sick, just as much if I had cancer or MS or Cerebral Paulsy.  No matter what others think or even what I think, I have an illness and it must be fought like one.

Even after all this time I made that most elementary of mistakes and avoided doing what I should have done sooner: Get help.

It was easy to believe that I was better, that these little issues were just that.  The month and a half that I spent back home was such a time of energy and excitement for me.  I felt healed or nearly so.  Perhaps I was. But I let my complacency and my isolation get the better of me.

Complacency and fear.

My Achilles’ heel.  Always have been.  So easy to be paralyzed by fear, so easy to become complacent to be sucked into a comfortable and simple routine.  And not even realize that I’m being sucked downwards.  I’m like the frog sitting in a pot of water, feeling happy and comfortable in my little world, not even realizing that it’s slowly boiling all around me.

I should try to focus on the positive: I jumped out before I was completely ruined this time.  But the damage!  The damage that has been done this time around is not insubstantial.

I have likely lost my job.

It could be worse.  It could be so much worse.  I suppose that is part of the learning process too, the upside of this little go around.  It’s hard to accept that when I feel like I am looking into a new abyss, with the rug pulled out from under me again.

This will not reach the level of major episode, just a small one.  With luck it will soon be arrested.   I will be on the path to recovery and then going on beyond this.

As long as I stick with it.

I used to get a little thrill every time I took the train downtown.  I loved the atmosphere, the vibrancy of the city.  I felt like this is where I was supposed to be.   Now I dread getting on the train and coming down here because it mean dealing with things that I’d rather not.

The cherry blossoms are in bloom and it should be a time of going forward, a time of new growth, but I’ve been kicked back a square or two in life because of my own foolhardiness.

Facing my fears has always been a struggle even at the best of times.

And yet now is the time I must do it, most than ever.  I want to go beyond my depression so badly I can taste it, but I have still haven’t mastered the skills and the vigilance needed to defeat this enemy.

There’s always a way out.  There’s always a solution.  It may not be obvious, it may not be easily accessible but it is there.

I don’t think I could keep going if I didn’t believe that.

I just have to find it.  Somehow.  I’m getting help again, which is always the first and most important step in battling depression or any other mental illness.

This is a far cry from the exuberance that I felt only a month and a half ago.  I hope I can find a way through this.

I miss you very much.  All my love,




  1. I went ‘over the edge’ last week, but since opening up about my depression/anxiety, had many hands held out to help haul me back out again – still scrambling, but getting there. Hope and hugs to you x

    • Thanks. I’m trying to tell myself a lot that this isn’t as bad as before, but still…

      I’ve had some interesting revelations though. I hope you’re doing well and thanks again for your support. xx

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