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.