I sat here as the sun slid down across the horizon and whispered to myself, “I feel….” and waited. Waited for the right word to come forward. Eventually it did, and the word was “grateful.”
I’m grateful for the comments, messages and kind words that were sent my way in the hours since I hit “publish” on my post about suicide & depression.
I have written that post a thousand times in my head and my heart. I felt that I’d finally reached a point, where you just drop it all, the fears, the baggage, the pain, the vulnerability, and just speak from the heart, hoping to hell it doesn’t backlash on you in some unforeseen way, but also out of exhaustion from carrying it all these years. Even in the brevity of the moment, my teflon-coated heart braced for the worst. Especially as I saw the number of visitors climb, higher by the hour, in fact, the highest amount of traffic I’ve ever seen on my blog.
It never came. There’s been silence, sure. Some people just don’t know what to say. I get that. This isn’t funny or comfortable or easy.
So, thank you. Thanks for your comments, the love, for your own stories – from so many perspectives. It really comes down to the ability to give voice to that pain, to try and take away the shame, to recognize that so many people’s lives are intersected by depression, suicide, mental illness, whether their own or a loved one. While it’s sad to see there are so many people in that shared space, it’s also oddly comforting, because I know only too well that it’s 100x worse when you feel like you’re alone. My soul aches for everyone’s struggles and sadness, but my spirit soars to see and hear the conversations, the new openness that freed them to speak and acknowledge their own journey or a family member’s. I know there are a lot of hearts out there that hurt, that are aching right here in our city. My heart still rails against reality, thinking somehow we could turn back the clocks, stop time, save these men from their demons. I hear Auden in my head, a drumming poem of grief.
Two nights ago, I made a promise to my husband, one we shared equally, that if it ever feels that bad in the future, to speak up. Just say something. No judgment, no arguments, no criticism, just wave the flag. I hesitated for a moment – because I know how hard it is to really do it, especially in that hard, painful space. I also knew that if I made that promise, I’d have to keep it. Could I keep it? I promised I would.
I’m heartened by the conversations I’ve seen in the media, speaking so openly and frankly about depression. Included in that discussion has been the encouragement to seek help, keep seeking help, keep searching, find a way to stay alive and get through it all. Make that promise, if you’ve seen even a small bit of yourself in all of this. To yourself, to your partner, to a friend or family member, just make it. Promise to wave the flag. Keep your promise. Please.
“Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door.”