“I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.”

Edgar Allan Poe

I have noticed that sometimes, the things that I thought were band-aids were really a poison. Instead of healing the pain, dread and loneliness, they began to kill me slowly. They drained the color out of an already dim world. I thought they helped, but sooner or later, I knew they didn’t.

In my own journey, these escapes, or these drugs have taken a number of forms. I never turned to alcohol or hard drugs because of how they may set off my medications, but that does not mean I did not medicate. I medicated with escapism. Sometimes that was porn, sometimes that was something else, but it was always an escape.

I have come to know that sometimes life hurts. It aches. The pain won’t quit or slow down. In those times, I just don’t want to feel anymore. I want something to make it stop hurting. If pharmacies made emotional Aspirin, I would want to partake. But there is a problem.

After being stabilized in High School, I thought the world could not be brighter. All of the color had been squelched from the world, and now the colors flooded my senses with incredible intensity. All the color came back because I had known the opposite. I had known the gray.

The problem with trying to get rid of all of the pain, is that it is not just the pain that goes. Everything goes. The good goes. The bad goes. Purpose goes. Hope goes. Care goes. Love goes. I am left numb, feeling isolated and alone. Nothing hurts because there is nothing to hurt. Nothing is good because there is nothing to be good. The only thing left is my heart, crying out that there has to be something more in the rare times when I am not checked out.

For me now, this means that unpacking years of pain..It means learning to feel after trying not to for so long. Having been on both sides of the fence now, feeling and numb, there is no comparison. We, as humans were never made to exist, we were made to live. Numbness leads to existence, but feeling leads to living.

There is a problem with the drugs we use to check out. When the pain is so intense that we want to check out, and we turn to something, the feeling of numbness captivates us. It draws us in. It allures us. Before we know it, though, the splendor fades, and we are left addicted. We are left broken. We are left numb, just existing.

Though it is so hard, the road of remaining feeling is far better. Instead of checking out into any number of addictions, whether they be sex, porn, alcohol, media, take the road of feeling. Then, strange as it may sound, invite people into your story. I cannot do life alone, and I would recommend that others should not as well.

Finally, if you find yourself steeped in addiction of any time, I want to let you know that there is no condemnation. My Quiet Cave exists in order that people find abundant life in the midst of bipolar disorder. Condemnation is not part of that. If you struggle, so do I, and it is ok. I would not be writing this if I had not been through the throes of addiction. However, I would hope to inspire you to another way. The way of feeling is hard. It is bumpy. It is rough, but it is good. I hope that you can find your way, find hope, and find that the world truly is a beautiful place.

To many days of feeling and learning to be whole.


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