Old man who can’t surf anymore has bleak, almost hopeless message about depression.
(the keyword is ‘almost’)
I’ve been battling severe depression all my life.
I don’t know how I’ve made it this far. I’m going to be 65 in a few weeks.
I’m currently so depressed I haven’t gotten out of the house in weeks or done any of the things I normally love to do this time of year.
I have no friends I feel I can to turn to for support, correction, I have none I wish to turn to. Most of my life I haven’t. Friends I did have at various times pulled away and vanished when I sank into depression and tried to ask for help. Thus I almost never did, fearing that happening again, knowing it would, made me less likely to ask again, and convinced me that the thoughts that depression put in my mind—that no one cares or gives a shit whether I live or die—are true. And so when it hits hard again, the disease convinces me that I don’t want to risk telling the very, very few good friends I have now. I don’t want to burden them when there really isn’t anything they can do to help. (You know who you are, and thank you for accepting me the way I am. You are a big part of the reason I’m still here…)
I haven’t had a girlfriend in nearly 30 years. Those very few, very rare and very special relationships I had long ago were the cherished exception to a life lived alone and celibate, without touch or affection or intimacy or even companionship. The last one was so long ago I can’t remember what it was like to hold someone I cared about or be held by someone who cares. I don’t have any expectations that I ever will again. But the memories of the special moments with those special women is something I try to remember and hang onto in the dark hours alone…even as the thought that I never will again batters me down and down and down…
My mom, who I love and is always always always there for me, is in her 80s and has her own issues now, and my brother, who I love, is on the other coast and overwhelmed with kids and family. In either case, they want to help, but don’t know how. I don’t know how they can help either. Such is the mystery of this disease.
Why am I still here?
Why don’t I escape from this decades long torment and anguish? Because that’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Although it really isn’t temporary, it keeps coming back, there are still those few moments when it lifts and the beauty of life and nature are revealed, and those are why I don’t give up. Won’t give up.
Even with brutal episodes of hopelessness I couldn’t understand or control, I still pursued the dream…I found an amazing remote location with multiple breaks in walking distance, some world class. I built a home on the bluff above, with a little right point on one side, a left break on the other, and a freight train reef a short walk down the path and along the beach, multiple beach peaks for miles in both directions, and still more reefs and unsurfed empty points beyond that. The beauty that surrounds me there is beyond description and the solitude complete.
But now I can’t surf them. I always wanted to surf alone, but now it’s too dangerous. I have serious heart and health issues, and my body will not do what I want it to do. When I do go out anyway, I can’t get up and am limited to only ride prone or on my knees. Sometimes the frustration and sorrow become overwhelming.
It’s so close and I can’t have it…
But there are still moments of exhilaration even out of the water…
Like getting up before dawn and watching from my driveway as the first golden light of the rising sun hits the spindrift unfurling from a perfectly peeling right hander running down the reef. As I load the truck to head out with my beloved and excited dog George, his unbounded life force is contagious and infects me, fills my soul with renewed desire to live, to live fully…and I dream of being out there again, paddling into a big one, pulling in, flying out with a hoot, cracking the lip, landing the reentry and laying it over hard for another turn to go flying down the line…
Surf to live. Live to surf.
Originally posted as a comment on this article and writing it helped me take a step forward. Big Wave Charger Has Powerful Message About Depression.
Reposted in hopes it might help someone else get through another day. If so inclined please share on your social media with the following hashtag.