A Rock Feels No Pain

In despero , obscurum ; In Diligo , Lux lucis. (In despair, darkness; In Love, Light). -Me

Somebody’s Knockin’… I won’t let ‘im in

Funny, how even when things are going so well, I can sometimes feel that old, cold feeling attempting to come back. There’s no rationality to depression, of course- that’s why it’s called an illness, right? If it were sane, why, then I wouldn’t be a cashew, and you wouldn’t be putting me in the category of a nut. Not, of course, that there’s anything wrong with cashews, or nuts in general- except when there is.

I’ve been thinking lately about the true insanity that comes into play, when the only visible logical rational course, is to die. It’s come up a few times in the last month or so, and I need to blather about it, I guess. Some people will run into setback after setback, job loss, business closing, homes burning, whatever, with a mental shrug and a move on. Others can slide into a dark cold place, when home is going along fine, work is great, and the kids are doing wonderfully.

The first time, I was speaking to a group of people at church, and one of the guys there was struggling to understand, and commented along these lines:

What I don’t understand, is how it can get so bad that you think leaving your family, your loved ones, is at all possible. I know that all I have had to do is remember my family, and no matter what it was that I was struggling with, I knew that I had them, and that I had to persevere, just because of them.

My response to Rob, was, “That’s the insanity of it. I didn’t care, because the twisted convoluted distorted thinking, is that they would be better off without me. The complete irrationality of my mindset, then, is what is so deadly, so scary dangerous. Pointing a truck at a bridge, and scraping the abutment at 95+ MPH, is not a sane thing to do; nobody in their right mind would think that it is. The problem, of course, is that when I aimed the truck, I wasn’t in my right mind, and what to me, today, is unthinkable- well, then, that was a perfect solution.”

Later that week, I was on the phone with my oldest friend, and she was sharing some of her concerns and struggles with her husband, and what she believes is his own depression. I was trying to make clear to her that there’s nothing that she has “done”, or “not done”, that caused him to be depressed. As much as we tend to take on this role, it’s vital to remember that this is a disease that can be treated, but not a contagious virus that you gave to someone. It’s not helpful to tell someone “you have it great, look at all the good things you’ve got…”. If we were rational, that might work, but the whole illness is irrational, so all she can do is love him, and encourage him to get help, and if it comes to it, she can call for help herself, on his behalf.

Then, a couple weeks ago, I was talking to another friend who is in a world of hurt right now. She’s attempting to find meds and a therapist she can trust, struggling to survive as best she can, and she asked me “How did you keep from just giving up?”

Those words are terrifying to me.

I don’t know that *I* did keep from giving up.

I wrote here and here, about how I managed to survive, and to get the help I needed to overcome the immediate crisis, and the long-term (longish? 3 years? How long til it’s long-term?) ability to keep on breathing.

If I think back, I can so clearly feel the emptiness, the cold darkness that I lived in. I can still feel the invisibility cloak that draped over me, I can hear that insidious whisper in the background, telling me that there is peace, there is a way to not hurt, to not feel pain, all I have to do is find the blade, turn the wheel, listen and it’s all still and no more struggling…

All I could do, is share with her how I had felt, and what happened, and try to articulate the difference that I feel now; to try to express that I *know* how she’s feeling, I’ve been there too, and that yes, there is a way to feel peace, and not hurt, that doesn’t involve blades and trucks or pills or high places with sudden impacts. That there is help, and she’s already started the hard part of it, which is to know she’s “nuts”, and work to get better.

I hope I was able to articulate that to her, somewhat.

It made me feel completely unprepared and inadequate, though, so today I did a bit of research and found a resource that I’d been toying with for quite a while now. I looked and found a place to offer myself for training, to work on one of the crisis-help lines, to try to help someone that might be hurting the way I was. I’d like to see if I can be there for another as the 1800 ladies were there for me.

So, take that, Black Thing. I’ll not only beat you on my own personal battlegrounds, I’ll train to join in and fight you on someone else’s battleground too. And, I’ll say F-You, while I’m at it, with a smile and a prayer of gratitude for being given the chance.

Filed under: "cuckoos nest", "mental illness", Black Thing, bridge, depression, progress, razor blade, , , ,

10 Responses

  1. Greg Savoie says:

    Your description of depression is so clear TO THOSE OF US WITH IT. I’m guessing there might be healthy people reading this who simply can not fathom what it’s like. Not due to lack of interest or intelligence on their part, simply because depression is so sneaky, it’s even difficult to define.

    Thanks for sharing,


  2. Desmond Jones says:

    Very eloquent, Dave.

    As you know, I’ve had my own occasional struggles with depression, but mine doesn’t seem to have been the full-blown, down-and-dirty kind. It seems to have been more driven by circumstances, and more amenable to being ‘treated’ by the love between Molly and me, and our kids; or even by me ‘bootstrapping’ my own psyche, on a couple occasions. I sure don’t say that that would work for anybody else.

    And I’ve never been tempted to suicide, but I am familiar with a less-virulent form of the Darkness. (And you know, I am convinced that that Darkness has at least a component of it that is ‘personal’, even demonic; and thus, as I’m sure you know, a major part of the battle is spiritual in nature. . .)

    Thanks again, Dave; keep fighting the good fight. . .

  3. Melissa says:

    Good for you, Dave, and what a wonderful idea.

  4. Dave says:

    Greg: It is difficult to define, but thankfully there are some who “get it”, even if they don’t suffer it themselves.

    Desmond: I know my friend, you’re one that does understand it- the degree isn’t as important as the knowledge. Spiritual? Yes, absolutely- and thank God for that, because where better to find His help, than in a battle for the spirit?

    Melissa: Thank you; I’m hoping that I can do something anyway 🙂

  5. Lil Bit says:

    I think you did a great job in the chat w/your friend … and this whole post was very poignant.

    AWESOME comeback, too, Dave, to join the battle to help. That’s so cool! =)

    I’ve found myself in a funk as of late, too … but I think I suffer from seasonal/weather type funks, and the change of the weather along with it getting dark before freakin’ 6pm(!) just puts me in a blue state of mind, I guess. *shrug*

    Really enjoyed this read, always nice to see you posting.

  6. You did a beautiful job explaining the black monster (esp for those of us who have been there in varying degrees). It’s not logical or rational. It is what it is. And thank God for beautiful friends like you who reach out once they’re have been pulled out of the depths. Here’s my hand!

  7. Emily says:

    Thanks for talking about this. I have friends who are depressed and/or mentally ill and its very hard not to expect them to see that actually their lives are not too bad and try to argue them into a different view of their lives.

    It helps to read about it from your perspective.

    By the way, Sailor, I just want you to know that I do read you. I don’t often comment, for which I am sorry. But I read your blog and think of you often, and I’m grateful for all your support.

    Emily xox

  8. Dave says:

    LilBit: Weather does play into it, I know I have to be aware of that too; hang in there!
    Redhead: It isn’t logical, but I still struggle to get past the thinking that I can “think” through it.
    Emily: Thank you, for reading, for understanding; and you always have my support- as much as I can.

  9. Buttafly says:

    I always enjoy reading your posts. I think it is a great idea to want to help others, who you know are feeling the same way, or similar way that you once did. I can’t say I have ever had to battle depression… but I certaintly have my period of “funks”. My brother, I feel, is in need of getting his feelings out in the open. He’s been to Iraq 3 times, a total of 5 years…and he struggles today with his feelings. He’s been discharged since March, and has been living back with my Mom and Dad since June- and he’s still going through marital crap. I just want to help him- but he just see’s me as someone who doesn’t really know what he went through or is feeling. I finally hooked him up with one of my best friends who was over seas as well… and it seems they have been talking. Hoping that introducing those two is the way I was able to help my brother…

  10. Dave says:

    Buttafly: That’s about the best thing you can do, unless you can convince him to talk to a professional. So often though, people are unwilling or ashamed to admit that they even have feelings, much less that they may need help dealing with things. Good luck to your brother- and hugs for you too.

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