Broken again. Sorry if this feels like such a sob story. No wait, I’m not sorry. This is my therapy. I need to remind myself sometimes, that putting these feelings into written words are for me. I’m not looking for sympathy, advice, attention… I just want to vent. And I’m trying to make this feel like a safe place for that. You don’t have to read it if you don’t want to. It wouldn’t offend me one bit. I’d understand.
I pulled off the highway at a rest area, stepped out from my truck’s recycled, temperature-controlled stuffy air and quickly realized that it was much cooler outside. I usually pay attention to this, but I didn’t today. The coolness felt good on my skin. It wasn’t until that moment I realized I’d had it set too warm inside the truck. I took in a deep breath of the outside air as I sauntered to the restroom. I smelled trees and sage and fresh air. It smelled amazing. Out of nowhere, my eyes welled with tears and I nearly cried. I’d already cried when the sun came up this morning. I was finding so much comfort in the heaviness of the dark that I didn’t want day to arrive. I admired the pastel colors of the lightening sky, but just cried. I didn’t wipe the tears away – I wanted to feel the gentle tickle as they rolled down my cheeks. I needed something to feel and focus on, and that’s all I felt I had in that moment.
It’s depression, I thought. Dammit. These small things, like sunrises and the fresh smell of Montana air usually bring me joy and are a reason I love being a truck driver. But not today. Today, for no reason, they just made me cry. My head felt heavy on my shoulders as I realized this depression was settling in again. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to fight this, but I knew I had to find a way to stop it before I fell too deeply back into its vicious cycle.
I’m just broken. I stayed as strong as I could, but one thing after another kept piling up, and once again, I broke. Adam broke, too. Both of us – at the same time. This happened last year around this time, and it wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t so pleasant this time, either. In normal circumstances, a small food container that I put into a high cabinet in the truck falling out and hitting Adam wouldn’t phase us too much. But with all the things that have been going wrong over the past month – the bigger things – that we’d been working so hard to push through piling up, we lost it. Because a food container fell. Adam reacted how he reacts when he breaks. He stepped out of the truck with our giant trucker atlas and began tearing it to shreds in the lot of our shipper. I retreated to the bunk wailing, uncontrollably crying and hyperventilating until my hands shook and my legs felt like noodles. Then Adam got back in the truck, tossed the remnants of our atlas on the floor, grabbed me, and we hugged. Sometimes you can only take so much, and the teeniest, tiniest, stupid thing puts you over the edge. Enter small food storage container.
A few weeks ago we requested an unplanned week off because we anticipated this breakdown. We felt it coming. Thank goodness we have that time coming up – it’s what’s keeping us going right now, I think. It’s a hope that we can cling to – we might have a little control over that time. We hope. But hope is usually what gets us in trouble, so I don’t know. I think we’re feeling apprehensive about, well, just about everything. Especially hope.
So now what? I don’t know… When I break down like this, it always seems to trigger my flight response. I seriously look off into the trees I pass by at 60mph all day long, wondering if I could just park this stupid truck and start walking off into the forest. Disappear. I wonder how far I’d get? Could I be the next Everett Ruess? Please? Could I be so fortunate?
So naturally, my responsibilities overrode all my daydreams of running off into the hills, and I just continued to drive. But my mind didn’t stop trying to come up with a solution to fix my broken self. The only thing that will work, I think to myself, is a long hike. I mean, this got pretty bad – I seriously entertained the thought of quitting – I don’t know what we’d do or where we’d go, but I just wanted to give up. Maybe even with no notice. Right there. Just run.
After a 600-mile, 12-hour day of working, driving, thinking, and struggling, I decided I’d hold out for my summer hiking trip. Right now, I need a longer hike – a thru hike – one where I really live in nature for an extended period of time until I feel that unique, particular freedom one acquires during a thru-hike. Then, and only then, would I feel repaired. Cured. Unbroken. But… Responsibilities. Plans. Goals. Life. It’s all crap that gets in the way of the therapy I truly need to lift my soul and find that shine of happiness that comes from deep within.
So anyway, I decided I’d hold out for my summer hiking trip – it’s only two weeks long, but I’ll see if that will be enough time to patch me up and hold me together enough to endure another year. And if not, I guess we’ll have to reevaluate our situation – a change of some sort might be needed. I have no idea what that could be right now, but I’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
For now, it’s Adam and I accepting each other’s reactions to our situation and just letting them be okay, and just holding each other through it all. I don’t know how I could live through this life without this partnership and this love. Outside of the inner chaos of our world right now, at least we’ve got that. Love.
F*#@ you, world. You can’t take that away.
Tonight I love my middle finger.