“In the darkest hour the soul is replenished and given strength to continue and endure.” — Heart Warrior Chosa
In the depths of our misery, some of us hated ourselves so much that we didn’t believe we deserved to live. Some of us had this idea planted in our minds when we were children. Some of us had lives that didn’t seem worth living. Some of us were suffering so much that we were willing to do anything to rid of what we thought of as our miserable life. When things are so difficult in life and it seems there is no other solution to our problems, some of us turn to thoughts of suicide.
How do we go on when we can’t any longer? Very gently. We use everything we can to help us stay alive; the thought of a beloved child, a special friendship, time-out from our normal life, or turning ourselves over to our spiritual source. When we feel suicidal, we may not care about anything; we feel alienated and isolated. But we’re not. To even keep breathing connects us to life; breathe in and out, slowly. If we open ourselves to the fullness of the moment, from this most basic act our connections expand infinitely. We’ve only to hang on, one minute at a time, and reasons to hope again will come. Life is precious because it was given to us by our Higher Power who loves us unconditionally.
It was the “Mother of all Depressions.” For four days I was unable to get out of bed. I couldn’t eat. I didn’t care about anything. I wanted to die. Really; I found myself hating my life so much that I began to think putting an end to it was the answer. A tape with the obscene mantra, “I hate my life, I hate my life, I hate my life” began to play in my mind. The last time I felt similarly was one dreadful July 4th five years ago, when I found myself being admitted to an Adult Psychiatric Unit.
Experiences can sometimes begin to feel familiar to that time five years ago. Questions from family or friends about drug use, an uncontrollable anxiety over issues that later seem to end up as the small and minor challenges of a life in hyper drive. Family members and friends have no idea how to handle the evil, bitchy side that comes with depression. We fight, scream, cry and make threats. The choices I make when depressed are often not at all healthy and incongruent with physical or emotional well-being. Sometimes, the thoughts inside my head secretly struggle with the ways close friends have changed and seemingly moved on with their life. I may feel my life, in comparison to theirs, isn’t moving.
When I’m depressed, I want something; a pill, a hit of dope; SOMETHING that will stop my ability to feel. I will listen to recorded pipe organ music for hours and hours on end. The music of Bach, played on a pipe organ usually relaxes me. Those in my close inner circle have involved themselves with attempts to get me to do something to pull myself out of that dark evil place and back into the light. With each attempt I often hand them some bullshit line like, “Sure, I’ll get up and take the dogs for a nice long walk” or, “Yeah, and I’ll eat something.” What did I actually do? I went back to bed, but only after laying some feigned guilt trip about how much I may have missed them lately and how terrible I feel for the things I do that drives them away.
My pathetic actions give them yet another glimpse of how capable I am of beating the fucking shit out of myself for the ways I have hurt them in the past. Sometimes, family and friends threaten to close our relationships. “I have forgiven you and you should take a look at what you need to do to forgive yourself” a close friend once said. When this friend said that to me I began to know how familiar my interactions with them could feel. It seems I can be a cycling, emotional train wreck seeking solutions or fixes to my problems, from them.
Gradually, I have found myself coming around, getting back into the light of life and feeling better. A combination of things has worked. I began years ago writing or journaling about thoughts and feelings I experience, being as honest as I possibly can be with myself, in my personal journal. This process of sharing has become so comfortable to me, that I often write these same thoughts and feelings in a blog that anyone can read online. I read from many books that have sustained me through some tough times of painful personal growth. I pray.
From loved ones, I have received many gifts: words, though sometimes harsh, have raised my awareness of my behaviors. Love and “big momma type” hugs are a tactile way of feeling alive. Time spent sharing experiences or in quiet contemplation with other loved one’s travelling on a similar path of personal growth brings connectedness, and dilutes feelings of isolation. The last gift from loved ones has been their understanding and patience.
Tools learned in earlier cycles of depression are known to work and avert another “Mother of all Depressions”:
- Heightened anxiety is a precursor to thoughts that are not totally based on reality
- Understand self forgiveness
- Accept the way people change and move through life; we all must do the same
- Do not compare your life with anyone else’s
- Be grateful for the loved ones who have stayed by your side and reach out to at least one of them early on in any future cycle of depression
- We can learn to re-frame situations and experiences which may trigger negative thinking
- None of us are ever alone. We will never be alone
I read a blog that inspired me to begin sharing my journey away from depression. I have linked to it below. It was blogged by “Hope Despite Depression” at blogspot and is titled “Grateful for Depression?” http://hopedespitedepression.blogspot.com/2010/11/grateful-for-depresson.html
May we never allow depression to consume ourselves as much as it has in the past, ever again. May we begin to see our life experiences in different ways.
I‘m standing at the edge of a cliff. That damn tape keeps playing in my head. It’s the old one. The one that makes eveIything look black and confusing. I look around and nothing, no place feels like home. It all feels cold and impersonal, and not mine. Everyone around me seems fake and superficial and carrying out a life’s plan just for their own gain. But that tape that’s playing, “I hate my life, I hate my life, I hate my life…”I feel like a ghost moving through the thick tide of a life that was once lived. A life that was normal, with things, people and events I took for granted. All of which is gone to me. I strive to create a normal pattern or flow to my life, only to have it subdued by the life I live now. A life that isn’t real. That feels good for only a moment, and then leaves me feeling guilty and paranoid. Sleep doesn’t come to me. I get stuck on one thought or one task. I realize that responsibilities are not met. I don’t even know what day of the week it is. I can’t recall when the last real meal was that I ate, and I can tell I’m dehydrated.
And I’m still feeling unfulfilled, lost, alone and afraid. I look around me and see disarray and disorganized projects. I unleash my anger toward my partner, placing all the blame on him. All I want is a normal life. I want the life I used to have, but gave up. I was so dumb. I beat myself up in my mind, over and over again. I want to feel joy. I want to laugh the way I used to laugh. I want to take care of my pets, and my home, and my partner the way I used to.
I’m sick. There’s always something wrong with me. I feel as though death could transition me at any time. So why do I persist? There are people, normal people that love me. They care for me, and will never accept this life for me. Yet I make every attempt to disguise my real life, hopefully making them think that I walk with them in the land of normalcy. But the bizarre thing is, they can see that I walk through their world differently than they do. They know. But only I can go back to the world I should be in. It’s all up to me. And until I have that insatiable desire to return, my attempts will be futile. But how much longer do I have? I’m all ready two years into a two to four year death sentence. So much I allowed to slip away. I had it all. Once. And just look at me now. No. Don’t look at me. I’m too ashamed.