2019 Whisky Wind-down, 1: The Down

A calico cat, in closeup, stares at you. Over her shoulders, just out of focus, sits a bottle of Ardbeg Kelpie and a tumbler with a dram poured in it.

Today’s dram: Ardbeg Kelpie.

Today’s tasting notes: If you love big, cask-strength Islay whisky, the sort where the first sip scores your mouth to prepare to lay down a sweet ride on the ocean … get thee to your best bottle shoppe and acquire this. I don’t have a seal of approval or such, but this would be on any such list I developed.

Today’s brief preface to thoughts: A kelpie is a legendary creature, specifically a shape-shifting water-beast in Celtic lore, said to haunt the lochs of Scotland.

I don’t know if such things are real. Legends tell us stories we may choose to believe, of things that may have been real once (or remain real but hidden). It’s a matter of choice to believe in them, to seek them out, to find our own truths.

Today’s thoughts: I suffer from depression and anxiety.

This has been the case for me for at least half my life. Until recently, however, my struggle was carried out on a personal level only.

That changed this year.

I finally acknowledged it was time I had some assistance. Getting to that point took an incredible amount of time, frustration, and overcoming fear. So much fear. When you’ve lived half your life learning to cope in certain ways, you really might not be inclined to give those ways up on the hope that someone — an external someone — might have a piece of the solution you’ve been needing.

This is especially true when the one and only person you really trust to talk to about such things is yourself.

I’m not going to make this a long, mopey recovery post. Frankly, I don’t have that in me. I’m still a bit amazed I have this much in me. But one of the remarkable things about the ongoing improvements in my mental well-being is an ability to look at something, keep looking at it, and even start to do something about it.

Not coincidentally, these are all common factors to overcoming writer’s block.

I may never be the scribe I aspire to be. I may never be good enough to be the understudy to the person who carries the pencil box of the person who holds the backup pencils for the official pencil box carrier to a third-tier, semi-notable writer … but dammit I’m going to stop worrying about the outcome and just get some words down.

Nothing else for it.

My mental improvement has been a journey, and it’s not over. I owe tremendous thanks to so many people who helped me get to the point of seeking help, receiving help, and keeping going when the help takes time to, well, help.

Several friends, whom I will not name here, have gone through, and continue to go through, similar issues. Their support — especially, in many cases, just their examples in living their lives — has made such difference in mine.

Several family, whom I will not single out, have also helped tremendously in this regard.

Okay, I will single out a couple, only because I know specifically they will not mind.

Without The Empress of Whisky, my life partner, I would not be here, full stop. She’s the pole star in my wanderings, and the constant that keeps my going. I love her fully and forever.

Also, Cat. She really is the best cat.

Today’s toast: To the future, and to the joy that comes of having one.

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