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Abner Crunden

Advocate, Art, and High Vibrations

Bemidji, US

My story begins in the heart of the Midwest. Contrary to how I live my life now, I grew up with tradition and faith woven into the very fabric of my upbringing. Raised in the Mormon faith, I walked a path that was well-trodden and familiar. As the years unfolded I discovered many truths that were all but conventional.

I left behind the only world I had known to seek my truth, embracing my authentic self and my new autonomy. This path was not without it's share of challenges- marriage and divorce, battles with addiction, abusive relationships with myself and others.

I hit my hardest low as the pandemic began sweeping across the world, thrusting us all into a state of uncertainty. Unknown medical illnesses led to lonely moments of despair, experiencing the greatest depression I have ever experienced. Leaving a weeklong hospitalization after the darkest night, I got a dog and dove into therapy. I got married and gained two beautiful bonus kids, changed my lifestyle, then boom- Cancer. With determination I stepped into remission with new found strength after being pushed to the brink on many occasion.

This life is equal parts humor and despair, what matters is the manner in which we endure. Scars of my past, the echoes of trauma, they lingered as I found myself grappling with the indescribable weight of PTSD. Yet it was in this darkness that I was able to find a glimmer of light- a lifeline of support through group therapy and a newfound resolve to heal.

I believe in the power of resilience; the strength that can be drawn from the darkest times. Through laughter and tears I've learned that the human spirit is capable of remarkable feats.

With Gratitude,

Abner

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Dogs Are Better Than People

Nov 21, 2023 6 months ago

Living a somewhat predictable family life, while leading a nomadic life of unpredictability at the same time, forces one to live life in the moment. Moments often escape the mind as you move from one to the next, leaving others behind with the expectation of our brain to store them as memories, and the anticipation of our brain's ability to recall these moments when referenced. The ultimate trust we must all radically accept. Being recently disabled, it has been a struggle adjusting to life slowing down. Taking care of myself was always a last priority. Being diagnosed with PTSD, major depression, and an anxiety disorder became too much for me to be able to endure after the addition of a pandemic, mysterious illnesses, toxic relationships, and irresponsible decision making landed me in a week-long mental health hospitalization. Depression won't allow one to receive love and embrace it. It doesn't care how fortunate of a life the person has that it infects, nor does it care about the impact of one's life on others. My family is full of love, I have been able to rely on a handful of amazing friends throughout my life, I had an important job helping others, yet I still couldn't escape my depression. I remember the uber ride home to my one bedroom apartment in my clothes I arrived in a week prior, someone broken and incomplete, someone I am not anymore. I recall walking into my apartment, stale despair lingering in week-long stagnant air, dancing with the smoky notes of whiskey left dripping on the bathroom floor. All my things in disarray. 'What a shithole' I remember thinking to myself, looking through the eyes of this person I used to be, numb enough to gather everything in sweeping motions into trash bags. I was scared. I was disappointed in myself for how I left my home for anyone to have to see if I had been gone. I was sad, I was lonely. This was the hardest day of that whole experience. I'm a human being, I wanted a companionship. I needed that presence of another life in mine. With such trauma tied to so many relationships in my past, how in hell was I going to move forward in my life having companionship? I had been burned so many times with exes in such a variety of ways I'd sooner offer lucifer fellatio at their place than entertain a date of any kind. I was in outpatient therapy, quarantined at home, alone. Naturally, I was a codependent person historically. Shaken by anxiety every day, having crying spells, speaking to my therapist and mother led me to decide I was going to get a dog. For the first time in years, I felt the warmth of overwhelming love lift the weight off my heart for this new companion that I didn't even know! I was able to feel real excitement for something I wanted more than anything in that moment in time. My parents, siblings, friends all supported me; aiding in the search of my dog. I found the most handsomest little schmoop I've ever loved with my whole heart, Arthur. The second I picked him up, he melted into me for safety, and I never felt more safe and joyful. I have had dogs I have loved in the past, but with animals it's as if there are no rules, you can love them all the most and that's okay. I had met and held others, but he was the one that I needed to take home with me. From that day forward it was he and I against the world. He gave me a reason to wake up every day, because he would slobber all over me and tell me all about how excited he was for a day with me until I got up to take him outside. I was unable to sink into my deep, dark days of depression because this fluffy, happy little floof depends on me. He loves me and he wants to spend time with me. If he's awake, he expects me to be awake too. Not my favorite dynamic at first when it came to kennel training. Which is why I failed and let him sleep with me on the third night where we both slept the most peaceful sleep either of us had ever had. Arthur has shown me what it is like to be loved unconditionally. There is nothing he would rather do besides be with me. I had the opportunity to give him a great deal of exposure to others by getting my ESA letter from my psychiatrist. He was in the car with me everywhere I went from that day forward. He came to the office with me every day and sat faithfully by my side, comforting me. He lays with me when I am sick, sad, or anxious. He plays with me, even if I am not in the mood, he gets me up and moving my body around playing fetch and chasing each other around the house until my asthmatic ass turns into a kazoo. I'd like to say he doesn't judge me, but he does get awfully mouthy sometimes when I am hesitant to comply with his demands to push myself. He is everything that I need to be a better person. He is my best friend, my angel who saved me. He's my Boo Boo, he's a good boy. He's my dog, Arthur Lew, and he'll always be my favorite floof.

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