Hmmmmm. Guess it’s been a while since I’ve felt like blogging, huh? Oh well, life happens that way.
I’ve had some ups and downs, mostly ups; but the one down, was a big one, ugh. Put me right back to a couple years ago, with the doubts, the uncertainties, the suspicions; ick. Doesn’t really matter why, or what caused it though- cuz the good part about it, is that within a few days, that tailspin had passed, and I was back to feeling good, and looking forward instead of backward. Which, if you’ve read this much, you know is no small thing, for me. Depression is an ugly, horrible thing- but finding that I can cope, that I’ve learned enough, that Lynn and I have progressed enough to (eventually, lol) shrug and say “So? She loves me, and that’s all I need to know.” THAT’S progress!
Anyway, not what I really wanted to talk about. No, I decided that I need to share some thoughts on a journey I began a couple years ago. It really is related to depression, and suicide, and hopelessness, and relationships dying, but in such a fundamentally wonderful way, that I haven’t been able to express it well. I don’t know if I can now, but I’m going to try…and this will split into several pieces, cuz it’s a long story, so if you don’t like long stories, don’t read for a while 🙂
Soooo, a bit of backstory: I suffer, and have for years, from major depression. Nasty, suicide is the only choice type depression. The kind that kills you. Yeah, that kind, the icky one. I had, for years, watched it cycle, and my “blues” would pass off, after a while. I got very accustomed to this, and because the dark spells always had disappeared, after a bit, I didn’t think much of them. However, there came a time, several years ago, when the depressive mood didn’t pass off. It worsened, instead. I grew distant, withdrew from all but the surface stuff in my family life; nothing really mattered much, and I didn’t care that I felt that way. I would go to work, and come home, and do some things with the kids, but mostly I was working as hard as I could to keep breathing, from one minute to the next.
Naturally, perhaps, my relationship with my wife suffered during this time- badly. She was fighting her own issues, with health and circumstances, and I wasn’t really there for her; so, she withdrew from me, as well, until we were two people living together, not really much of a husband, not really much of a marriage, in a lot of ways. We would deal with the kids in harmony, we always did have that; but, we didn’t do anything together, and we didn’t talk or share much with one another, at all.
Compounding the isolation, I had spent years- about 20- ignoring something that I’d been hearing, all around me, that God was trying to tell me, over and over. I, however, knew better than God did, so I would ignore it, as best I could. Until it became “unignorable”, and so my next response was to run away. I stopped attending church, I actively avoided it. I stopped praying, I stopped singing, I stopped seeing God in all the works around me. Basically, I tried to hide. (And if you think THAT’s easy, you’re crazier than I am!)
Okay, so now turn to the summer of 2006. July, sunny day, clear blue skies, hot- and I’m cold. I’m so cold, from so deep inside myself, that nothing is going to warm me. I’m sitting at work, at my desk in the cube-farm, and start having this overwhelming feeling of despair. Since I am at that point, convinced that I am less than useless, and that many would be better off without me around, imagine the relief when I realize- hey! Dummy! All you have to do is die a little bit, and it will stop hurting. Just think, you wont have to feel that unending pain, the isolation, the despair- you can make it all stop, if you just take care of business.
So, I left. I got up, and walked out of the office, and climbed into my truck- because I knew exactly what I needed to do. I figured that at 90+, running into the bridge stanchion would take care of business quite nicely; and, because it would be a traffic accident, the insurance would remain in force, and at least I could do one good thing for my kids.
So cold, it was icy. Yes, I know the temperature was 93, outside- but I was like a frozen imitation of myself, my blood had stopped moving around, or something. I drove. I went north, then west, and about 20 minutes after leaving the office, I was within 2 miles of “my bridge”.
So I accelerated. A lot. There was nobody around, for which I was grateful- I had no intention of harming anyone else, and I didn’t want to have to circle around. The truck I had then was newish, had plenty of oomph, with an empty bed- so I watched the road, and the speedometer.
75, 80, 85, 90, 95. Bridge coming up fast, and my hands locked to the wheel- and everything slowed down, I can still see so clearly, still feel so acutely, that moment. I can see the grass of the median, I can see the line I’ll have to follow to clear the little signposts, and ensure a nice direct hit. I can feel the road vibrations, the speed, hear the wind and engine noises…
The rattling thumping as I start to move left, crossing the rumble strips, checking that I’m still going fast enough…
95+, should do it…
and warmth. Warm, soft, gentle bur firm-
Hands, on mine, over mine, touching me. But- the truck, you see, is empty. I’m alone, there’s nobody here. And yet, the pull- softly, but there was no resisting it- turning my hands, ever so little on the wheel, not overcorrecting, not going to spin… the littlest, tiniest “click”… which, later, I realized was the drivers side mirror, scraping the edge of that concrete pillar. It scraped the plastic, grooved it- and didn’t break the glass of the mirror in it’s casing.
And the warm, deeply loving presence, of the one that I’d left- or tried to- leave behind me, filling me, telling me, “not yet, not now. I have things for you to do still.”
I slowed down, I pulled- he pulled- the truck back to the roadway, and I sat, stunned. 85..80..75..65..55… and over there, on the other side, a firetruck, an accident scene. Volunteers, out on the highway, struggling and working to help, to save someone, to assist and comfort, whatever is needed.
And I thought. If I had done this, if He had let me, my own brothers and sisters (firefighters, not my siblings) would be the ones to clean up after me. That would be horrific, for them, could I do that?
And I remembered… (was reminded? I think so, yes.) Something I’d seen on postsecret, that there is a number you can call… so I turned around, and went to the bookstore, and found the book- to look up that number. I was numb, I was dead, I was cold and alone- yet, I was led to that point, to pick up the phone, to call…
And, for the first time ever, told somebody that I’m depressed, and need help, and what can I do.
I have been taking the handy anti-depressants, for 2 ½ years now; I have been relearning how to be a human, to be a husband and father and lover and friend again. And, most importantly, I have been relearning how to listen, and talk to, and pay attention to, the God that made me, and saved me.
I’ve told this part of the story to 3 people, I think, total- but for some reason, today I had to write and post it here. So, that’s part one, and I’m not sure why, but as I say, I am being told it’s time to do this, so here it is. In a while, when it’s time, I guess, I’ll know why this needed to be posted, and why now; or perhaps I’ll never know, and at this point? That’s okay, too.