There are moments when the monster wins

Walking up the stairs with my arms full of laundry and my coffee cup balanced on the top, I tripped.

I didn’t fall, but my knee hit the stairs and I dropped everything. The hot coffee burned the front of me and also managed to get on most of the newly cleaned white clothes I’d been carrying.

On another day, I’d probably laugh or curse. Or maybe I’d do both.

Not today.

Today the tears I’d been holding back came rushing forward violently. Before I knew it, I had to sit as my body convulsed with sobs, the deep kind that take over every inch of your body. I felt like my insides were ripping apart and that nothing could ever be right again.

After a few minutes, I stopped.

Grabbing a white sock to dab my eyes, I started to clean up the mess. I’d have to wash all the clothes again, spray clean the carpet, wipe down the walls and put burn cream on my chest.

I moved through the motions trying to squash down the pain inside and just go forward, but I could feel it clawing at me. Its talons scratching my gut, begging me to just succumb to it.

So, I made my way to my bed. Pulling the covers over my head, I let it come. The pain didn’t disappoint. It was faithful in its ability to crush me and tear at me. I buried my head in my pillow and screamed.

This happens sometimes.

The weight of life just crushes me and everything just becomes too much.

My mind becomes a prison in which I am stuck reliving decisions and fighting against my own reality. Over and over the same records play until I want to smash them against the wall.

Then the fantasy takes over and my mind becomes a blur of alternative realities where I’m not here in this bed screaming in pain, but I’m happy and living a completely different life constructed from dreams of what might have been.

Sadness, disappointment, grief, regrets, guilt and fear all swirl around until it almost becomes a game to see how deeply I can feel.

Then it just stops.

The tears cease, my gut unclenches and I roll onto my back and look at the ceiling. I will myself to slow my breath and to be calm.

I roll onto my side and look at the green walls of my bedroom.

Flashes of the day my husband and I painted it run through my head, along with images of cool forests and tall trees.

I stare at the walls and concentrate on being here.

I’m right here.

Scanning the room, I take in all the little mementos of the life I have.

Moon lanterns made at camp, my collection of old perfume bottles that were my grandmothers, a painting of a creek running through a forest that hung in my childhood home and two large pictures of my children as babies.

My boy. In this picture he has this little drop of drool right on his chin and he is staring straight at the camera. I love looking at those sweet wispy curls and I still get lost in those amazingly bright blue eyes.

My girl. She is wearing this adorable pink knitted bonnet and dress that her grandma made her and is lying on her tummy. Those soft and chubby cheeks fill the picture and I remember how I couldn’t stop kissing them.

Nothing is so bad that I can’t endure.


It’s what being grownup is all about.

Sarah: That’s not fair!

Jareth (Goblin king): You say that so often, I wonder what your basis for comparison is?


Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

–The Princess Bride

I’m up and writing, but that monster is still calling me back to bed. I can feel its pull, almost hear its talons clicking together in anticipation of ripping at my gut some more. It doesn’t always give me a choice, but today I have some fight in me.

I’m going to fight.

Time to shower and leave my home.

Reinforcements, a good book and coffee, are greatly needed.

Sadly, I am acutely aware that I am not even close to alone in this battle and that so many will relate to this piece. Know that although I am often lost in my war, I am here to support yours. If you need an ally, you’ve found one.

I’m still here.


11 thoughts on “There are moments when the monster wins

  1. “Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the ‘life’ (child) that you have stolen, for my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom as great — You have no power over me.” –Sarah, Labyrinth
    Fight on, friend.


  2. Reblogged this on A Modern Ukrainian and commented:
    “so, I made my way to my bed. Pulling the covers over my head, I let it come. The pain didn’t disappoint. It was faithful in its ability to crush me and tear at me. I buried my head in my pillow and screamed”

    ya that’s about right for a wednesday.. all wednesdays.. sometiems all days in general


  3. Thanks for sharing when this is so personal. It’s always when you are on your own that one thing can quite literally topple you. I seem to live on a roller coaster these days, the highs and lows come really fast. I took a really difficult call at work today, it was confrontational and quickly had me shaking, dry mouth and shaky voice. I was so glad to have a colleague in the room who reassured me that none of that came across, and I sounded calm and confident. I shared it with another colleague too, who also helped. But you know, if I had been working from home, that phone call would have finished me off – I’d be a wreck under the duvet. Allies make such a difference in keeping us strong. I’m working from home the next couple of days, wish me luck!!!


  4. Sometimes it just takes one little thing to knock us down, doesn’t it? Good on you for going with it. I used to fight it, and try and plod on, but I don’t anymore. I close the curtains and pull up the covers, as you did, and let it come. And sometimes I call my husband when I’m feeling like it and cry to him. I feel better more quickly if I just flow with it. Sometimes the clouds get in the way of the sun, but it keeps coming up every day, and it eventually peeps through …


  5. Wow!! A very personal, soul baring blog entry. Thanks for sharing such a personal moment. Dealing with moments like these in our lives are hard. You seem to have a good handle on how to deal with these moments. Stay strong:)


  6. In the midst of your post, part of me wanted to deny ever feeling like this, that I would ever lose control like that. I had to remind myself that I once cried until I made my nose bleed, huddled on the floor while my husband cuddled my shoulders and back. I thought I would never find my way out of the pit, and now I like to pretend isn’t gaping behind me, ready for me to fall back. Don’t let the black dog win.


  7. HI Bridgette,

    Dreams that might have been…that’s the painful part. I thought it was the midlife crisis thing in my case, but you are a bit young for that.

    I misread your penultimate sentences: “…I’m often lost in my war…” I thought you were saying that you’d lost your war, but I see that you are only lost within it. Don’t give up. I don’t know the way out, but I gotta believe that there is one. Peace.


  8. I am in awe of your ability to be vulnerable and share the darkness as well as the light. All the psychology books say you have to feel your emotions, be with them, not stuff them down, in order to get past them, and that’s exactly what you did. Good for you! I have a hard time sharing about times like that, though God knows I have them, in spades.

    I found your post at a good time. I needed to read it. I’ve been feeling so sad tonight, and don’t want to call anyone, don’t want to post on Facebook, don’t want to blog. And until I read this, I didn’t want to just be with the sadness either. But I’m going to now. I may even blog about it. Or maybe I’ll just get in bed and pull the covers up and cry. Either way…thanks.


  9. My father’s still in the hospital. He just got out of the ICU. He is an amazing and kind man. Usually. Now he is only sweet and thankful to the nurses and others tending to him just as you would be to any store clerk or bank teller but he is snippy and unpleasant to my stepmom & I who do more and care more for him than anyone else. He is in pain so we of course say nothing.

    I have not seen my dogs or my step daughter and missed the last four days of work. I am exhausted and have ended up in sobbing tears (at work no less) both times I have called to check in with Dad today. But in these scary and emotional times, I find my significant other has cooked a wonderful meal that will provide us leftovers for a few days, my dogs have not forgotten me, my stepdaughter just wants to know if I borrowed her gray tennis shoes, and my co-workers have done whatever they can to keep my desk caught up. Everyone around me either held me up or treated me as if the world is not going to end today. That was so what I needed. My normal life is still right where I left it. You have to let those black, erupting emotions out. You must acknowledge them and give them their due. It seems that once you do that, their hold on you loosens enough to open your eyes and look around at all the good things that fill your heart. You’re normal & so am I.


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