So I told you about the good memories that were invoked on the earlier part of the trip. Now, I think I’m ready to talk about the not-so-good ones that were invoked.
I was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana the other night. It was a convenient place that was only a couple of hours from Gulfport and on the way to Natchez and Vicksburg so it got added to the itinerary. Plus, this way I could take a day to visit the LSU campus and some of the plantation homes along the Mississippi in that area. It did occur to me that the last time I was in Baton Rouge, Jan 1997, my car broke down and then I broke down, needing 9 days in the hospital to recover. It was easily one of the lowest points in my life. I could probably point to it as the “bottoming-out” of my depression, the point where I knew I either had to get help and get my life together or just go ahead and die right there. Obviously, I chose the former. 🙂
Anyway, I drove to the area west of Baton Rouge where my car broke down, Livingstone. I then drove down Hwy 190 toward Baton Rouge, which was a trip I made on foot 7 plus years ago. Some of it looked familiar, some of it had changed. Eventually I found the place where I finally passed out and had to be picked up in an ambulance. I was struck by how easily I could feel the way I felt then, weak, desperate, and hopeless. Needless to say it wasn’t easy to shake that feeling, and I had a hard time even getting to sleep later, but I managed, by remembering how good my life is now, and how much I enjoy the life I share with my wife every day. I’m not desperate, not hopeless. I’m healing from those scars..
And in some ways, I’m glad I tracked down those memories and brought them to the surface. They’re embarassing in many ways, but they are part of me, and of my past. Better to acknowledge them than run away.