“What is called genius is the abundance of life and health”
Henry David Thoreau
Devouring a piece of pie just minutes ago, I had to glance up from my absolutely animalistic massacre briefly to see a look of horror on my boyfriends face. I had zoned completely out, there was nobody else in the entire world except for that piece of pie and I. There wasn’t piped in music, there weren’t other diners enjoying the 55-and-over menu, there wasn’t even another warm body across from me in the booth. I lost control, that piece of pie was my entire world for a brief moment – until it was gone. The sweet carnal knowledge of its existence only remained with me because there were crumbs on my sleeve and the beau looking dissappointed that he didn’t get any.
I couldn’t stop, not even if I tried. Addiction. It’s the monkey on your back that tugs at your hair and picks your nose for you. Really, it’s the monkey on your back that bugs the shit out of you, but you keep him around because you have forgotten how to pull your own hair or pick your own nose. Your monkey, he doesn’t really know what you need, just what he thinks you need. That pie, that fucking pie, I was on a spreak of weeks without battling with a purge, but there it went, fucking pie. Just like that I was overwhelmed with fear, regret, shamefulness, and sense of embarrassment as if I had just soiled my britches while giving my inauguration speech to be elected to President of the free world. I might have well had an audience of a million, billion, the feeling of shame was the same, even with an audience of one.
I wasn’t being judged, however. The pie was my idea, nobody forced it down my throat, nobody ordered it for me. I took a conscience effort to order it and then eat every bite. It’s an addiction, and before you start on with a “it’s just food” retort, fuck you. Keep it to yourself. And addiction is any adverse, uncontrollable reaction to anything that you lose control of, most notably things that can cause you or others harm. So a piece of pie might not kill me in my sleep, but it might as well, the torture it puts my mind through.
This all ties into a little story originating from Charleston, SC. A sad story of Kelly Kenney, a young lady whom I’m sure would have been my absolute best friend and worst enemy rolled into one. I never got to meet Kelly, much like my story of a few weeks ago on Julie Leger from Kentucky, but it’s different. Kelly is no longer with us, and I, more than perhaps any other person in the entire world, understands why.
TIMELINE (in a brief sort of way)
-girl has problems with addiction
-girl admits she has a problem and seeks help
-girl tries AA for support
-girl goes to tavern to only have “one” (and this, again, is a speculation, I wasn’t there physically, but mentally I have been)
-girl gets found passed away a few days later in the back seat of her car only because a total stranger recognizes her license plate from the news
-news reports of her passing and makes it seem suspicious
This is where I enter the story. Me, sitting in the truck bouncing through none other than Corbin, KY (where Julie Leger is from) was reading my afternoon news feed when this story slapped me in the face and warranted my attention. Something about the young lady in the picture made me think “whoa, she kind of looks like me” so I popped it open and read.
It wasn’t a physical characteristic that made us look the same, it was a look in the eyes. I know that look, her look, I’ve had that look.
“everyone is smiling with an invisible gun to their head. ”
Fear and happiness, pain and excitement, all the polar opposites of life all happening at once. The news had come forward to say she had addiction problems (me too) and bipolar disorder (manic depression for me, but they’ve been called the same thing a time or two) so yeah, we’re the same person. I wanted to reach into my tablet and hug that girl around her neck and tell her it was going to be okay, we’ll get through this together. Then I’d probably recommend grabbing a beer and trying to laugh it off, which would put us both back at the mercy of bipolarness. Throw a depressive a substance that will actually depress you more and you’ve just created the perfect storm. The problem with this is that within the brain of the addict and the depressive, the two tend to want to go together, explosively. Even the best support of AA friends can only help you so much, until you’re alone with your brain, then it gets real.
I had an experience recently, that I was going to keep to myself and maybe three others until going to my grave, which who knows when that will be, but after seeing Kelly’s story, I want to come forward and wave my hands in the air to say “hey, hey, we’ve got a problem here…people aren’t taking alcoholism and depression seriously enough.
The national rate for suicide is 11 people to every 100,000. How many of these are accidental suicide, though?
Before you say,” Nikki, you do know what suicide is, right? ”
Of course I do, I’m not dumb, but my encounter makes me wonder. I’m the depths of a good solid drunk coupled with depression, things happen that don’t become clear until months, sometimes years after they’ve actually happened. I had an experience where I had lost my job, lost my boyfriend, lost most of my family, all because I was an absolute basketcase. My life was in such turmoil I couldn’t see the light at the end of the philosophical tunnel, hell, I didnt even know how I got into that tunnel in the first place.
My tunnel was in the back seat of my car (keep in mind my car is a relatively small Coupe, in order to get in the back seat you have to contort and wiggle between the seats). I had driven to a gas station, town unknown, and sat in the back seat with a bottle of vodka. I had taken my antidepressants that day, which in all actuality probably caused more harm than good, and I drank because I was in such a dark state an anti-depressant couldn’t even start to fix my problems. I wad done, not with the intention of suicide, but just general lack of ability to see through the darkness. I turned my phone off and went off the radar for a while. The next two days were sort of a blur, a series of different gas station parking lots and sleeping in the back seat. I’d wake up long enough to choke down some more and then pass back out. I’d wake up, drive a few miles, go back to sleep.
It wasn’t until I got the message “call me now” that something clicked. I was probably an hour or two away from just drinking my life away – in the serious way. “Get rid of that fucking bottle.”
Right there, in a truck stop parking lot, I opened my car door and tossed a glass bottle of Svedka out onto the pavement, and then I cried.
It took about five days to get over the massive amounts that I had drank, even longer to get over the DT’s, which coupled with depression is something I can only applaud myself with super human strength for getting through. Kelly, found in her car, very well could have been me, however, I could very possibly still be in that car, having it get repoed from a gas station somewhere and only being found when the car goes to auction. It’s a very chilling thing to think about, but my depression, on that day I found myself in my back seat, turned into a ranging mix of addiction and alcoholism, addicted to feeling better but drinking things that made me feel worse. Thus is typically the life of the depressive drunk, a constant roller coaster of feeling sad, feeling worse, doing something that makes you feel worse, mix and repeat.
There are no conclusive reports as to how Kelly passed away, and I’m sure there is a whole group of people that would rather have another person to blame – a bad guy who knocked her in the head or something. My gut and heart tells me otherwise, and it makes me melancholy, but also makes me hyperaware of where I am right now and what I’m doing.
That pie, although it didn’t kill me, I fucking hate it, but not as much as I do about the fact that I lost control. I had to eat it. They say alcoholics have an allergy to alcohol, which makes it like poison to them. The allergy makes you lose rationality and reasonable portion size when it comes down to the drink. I’ve witnessed it first hand, not only in myself, but in others. It’s a sad spiral, and once you start spinning with the spiral it doesn’t stop until you’ve puked – like a sick carnival ride.
Awareness comes from all directions, and little old me, live from Elkhart, IN wants to tout the awareness flag high. Of you or someone you know has depression AND likes the drink use special attention! Never chalk it up to just being a little blue or just being a little drunk, if you couple the two, it’s a recipe for a perfect storm.
If the family or friends of Kelly Kenney read this, consider this a hug from afar from a daughter you never had, but would be happy to step in if you need it. I’m going to keep. Pushing on, in the name of Kelly.