People recovering from drug or alcohol abuse, or any addiction I suppose, experience a phenomenon referred to as the “pink cloud”. A time when their sobriety seems better than they could have imagined, everything is going so well. It is considered to be a dangerous time because when reality comes crashing in, which it will, it will be a harsh lesson that will test their resolve.
I suddenly feel a hit of reality, like the sting of a face full of cold water, about this new future I’m carving out for myself. And it hasn’t even begun yet.
I have experience with what they call the black dog – depression. If you could draw it it would be a long, black Labrador, draped over your shoulders, weighing you down. Growling in your ear. Sitting on your chest in the early hours of the morning.
This is a whole other dog. Self doubt is a tortured rescue dog. Cowering at every sudden movement. Ears flat against its head, tail between its legs, saucer wide eyes. It is blind terror in the night. It is the violence of a winter storm, the urge to change everything, to erase every footprint, to take it all back. I take it all back! I never could be a writer! I never was this brave! With every thunder bolt cliche in my work I cave back into myself a little more. I likely have no talent at all, I think as I creep, trembling, deeper into the shadows under the bed.
But everyone feels like that, right?