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Struggling

Published by Don Gilman on

Yesterday was the 4th anniversary of my son’s suicide attempt. Always a rough day. This year is even harder since my other children now live in Oregon. I have no family living in the desert with me anymore. Thankfully I have the biggest, best circle of friends I have ever had in my life. Luckily I live in a city that truly seems to embody community and support. I don’t know what I’d do without that.

I also decided to wean myself off my anti-anxiety meds (good timing, right?) at the same time. Last night I struggled horribly with restless leg syndrome and some sort of medication-withdrawal-caused sleep apnea. Kept waking up gasping for breath. It was rough. Didn’t fall asleep until after 3 a.m.

I have one final Wednesday class tonight that I’m forcing myself to attend, but because I’m feeling so lousy, I asked a good friend to pick me up and he agreed.

Hopefully I’ll start to feel better over the next few days. December is always rough. I just kind of have to put my head down and plow through the month. The darkness sucks too. Just don’t really like winter anymore. By the time January comes, at least we’re through the darkest (physical and metaphorical) month. Light is returning. Plus, I’ll be focusing on Climb to the Light in earnest at that point. Right now it feels like everything is in a big pause mode.

This song, despite having no lyrics, somehow expresses for me the poignancy and melancholy I feel.


Don Gilman

Don Gilman has been climbing mountains for 20 years, beginning with an ascent of Mt. Thielsen in Oregon in 1998. He has been dealing with severe depression and suicidal ideation since he was nine years old. He also deals with PTSD and anxiety on a daily basis, and uses climbing as a form of therapy. In 2014, he woke up to find his then-13-year-old son had hung himself. Fortunately, his son survived, but that event has become the motivating factor that has made suicide prevention the most important cause in his life.

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