I have been struggling these past couple of weeks. Trying to find the right words explaining “where I have been,” is more of a daunting task then it should be. And the longer I procrastinate, the more it becomes an exponential challenge. So here it goes…
I had a mental breakdown. I suffer from depression, and suicidal thoughts. I had been in therapy for many years, and on medication as well. When I began my journey to the southwest, I was in a much improved mental state and able to stop taking my “happy pills.” Unfortunately, it didn’t work.
It was mid April, and I was in the Mojave Desert when I felt I couldn’t do this journey anymore. It was a day earlier, I was staying at a hotel in Phoenix, doing my semi-bi-weekly laundry and a hot shower, when the thoughts of suicide came back. I really don’t know what triggered the return of my depression, but I can tell you, with my experience it feels like a very dark cloud hanging over you. making it hard to process, and organize thoughts. Most likely, but I do not know for sure, it may have been a response to the isolation I had the previous months. After all, we are social animals (says Harry the introvert).
I was on my way to Los Angeles to join my brother and visit friends, but first I would spend a week in the Mojave. As it turned out, on the second day, I caved in, I didn’t have any enthusiasm to hike, and do photography, which is my passion. I needed help. So, I called my dear friend back in Boston (kudos to for T-Mobile cellphone reception in the middle of the desert). She in turn, called a good friend of mine in Pasadena, who just happens to be a clinical therapist, who then called me to get my ass to L.A. So yup, I made the drive the following morning to my friends, got back on the meds, and slept, and slept, and, slept. I spent a couple of weeks in Los Angeles, before I headed back east at the interaction of another friend.
This really is the abridged version of what happened out west. When I returned back to Quincy Massachusetts, I was still working on bottling up my depression when my heart began to weaken. I think it really started on a hike I did in Saguaro National Forest a couple of months earlier. I was feeling winded barely a half mile into the hike, and there were other signs on other occasions, mostly fatigue.
Unfortunately, heart disease for me is hereditary. It has been almost twenty years ago when I had a heart attack. It had been smooth sailing for quite some time, or so I thought. over the past couple of years my heart began to weaken considerably due to atrial fibrillation (a fib for short). I didn’t feel it at first but the feeling of exhaustion took over my life. I literally had no motivation to pursue Not So Nomad, or any other activity. Then in the middle of the pandemic last year, I was taken by ambulance, to the hospital. I was there diagnosed with a fib and cardiomyopathy. The left ventricle of my heart had considerably weakened due to irregular heart beating. Medication didn’t seem to help, and eventually I suffered from congestive heart failure. My heart was unable to clear liquid building up in my lungs. After three procedures, I am back on track. I feel better than I have feeling in years. Lots of energy has returned, as well as my passions. Still the recovery for my heart is still a slow process.
I apologize to all those individuals who were following me since the start. And Lots of Love to those friends that helped me through all this! I could go on in more detail, but I really just want to go on with the The adventure of Not So Nomad…. by the way, the name Not So Nomad, was inspired by my battle with suicide and depression.