This past weekend I was consumed by it. Maybe it was because for the first time in a long time I didn't have my kids for the entire weekend. Maybe it was because of the ever present deadlines, the fear of not meeting everyone's standards, or the myriad of obstacles and emotional strain that I have been battling for months, and some even years. But this past weekend, I was terrified. I was terrified because I had come so close to doing something I promised myself I would never do again. I was petrified that I wouldn't be able to STOP my shaking hand as it pressed the blade to my skin. I was afraid, because for the first time since I was seventeen I didn't think I had the strength within me to stop myself.
And the sad truth about all of this is: I'm not alone in the struggle.
Every day thousands of people are plagued by their demons. Putting on a facade of happiness and pretending that everything is okay, because who would want to hear the truth? Who would want to actually sit and LISTEN. Not to tell you that it's all in your mind (because logically, we KNOW that) or that you just need to get over it and quit being a drama queen.
If it was so easy to 'get over', then why do 105 people die of suicide a day. In ONE day, 105 lives are lost, because they couldn't 'get over it'. I was one of those people. Eleven years ago, I succeeded in killing myself, and I was brought back. I had thought (and still do when my mind is my own and not immersed in the darkness) that there's a reason for that. That maybe I DO have a reason for existence.
But that's not always the case.
For those of you who have been touched by grace to never go through depression or anxiety or any other psychological issue, allow me to tell you what it's like. To SHOW you through my words, my pain, and my experience what it's like to fight every day just to survive yourself.
It's all-consuming, but it doesn't start out that way.
When you're mind is free, its like a high. You feel energetic, optimistic. When you smile it isn't forced, because its real. For ONCE you don't have to fake happiness, you exude it and everyone around you is cascaded in your light. Because you don't just want that light, you want to share it.
You want to share with the world your joy, to encourage and inspire people. To lead them to their own happiness, their own hope, and to give them strength when you don't know how long yours will last.
Then one thing happens, or a combination of things.
It doesn't have to be something drastic like losing your job or having a family member die. It can be something simple. Something mundane that your mind takes control of and you begin to feel yourself fading into the black. And the fun part of all of it is that the slight doesn't even have to be REAL. It can be a miscommunication, seemingly harmless. But then your mind takes over, and the doubts set in.
So you sit there, your smile fading from the purity that it was, but you still force one.
You force your smile as your heart begins to sink and the doubts creep in. Sometimes we can work through them, can rise above the beginning thoughts and move on. But sometimes, sometimes there is no escape.
Why are you even alive? You don't deserve to live.
The kids would be better off without you. You know you're worthless and that you'll only fail them.
You cause everyone misery. It would be better just to end it all.
Why do you TRY? You can't do it. You can't do anything.
Those are just examples of the thoughts that my mind becomes plagued with when I can't overcome the beginning. Sometimes its a slow build up, each thought and self doubt slowly working its way into your system.
But sometimes, like this weekend and seventeen years ago, its an onslaught. There's no build up, no prelude to any of it. Your mind hits you with it, and it blocks out all other things.
So you shut down. You can't even force a smile, and everything that used to bring you joy becomes meaningless. YOU become meaningless as your own mind and the darkness that you live side-by-side with every day tears into your soul, destroying everything within you until you become a shell of the person you were mere moments, days, or weeks ago.
There's no escape. That's what people don't realize.
You can't just snap yourself out of the thoughts. Laugh them off and say 'yeah right, I'm awesome' because you don't FEEL it.
You become your own enemy, and there's no one on EARTH who could hurt you as much as your own mind does. No one in the universe who could ever say or do anything as cruel to you as your own mind does to itself.
So you break. You fall apart even while you're trying so hard to keep yourself together. To hold the pieces long enough to get through it, so you can somehow salvage what's left of you. Sometimes, you hold out. You fight your own mind long enough that it slowly releases you from its cruel embrace. Sometimes, a light shines through the darkness, and like a life-line you cling to that single flair of brilliance, hoping against everything within you that's hurting you, damaging you that it will be enough.
Sometimes, it works.
Sometimes, it doesn't.
You fight, and you fight and you fight.
Every day, every hour, every minute that your mind takes control you fight until you can't fight anymore. But then, you find something that gives you just enough strength to fight some more.
That has happened to me for the past 11 years.
Somehow, I have found the strength to keep fighting, to keep BELIEVING that things will be better even when I didn't see it. When I didn't have a light against the darkness, there was always something deep within me that refused to quit.
This past weekend, I came too close to losing that fight. Too close to just giving in to the darkness and finally finding peace within it.
The edge of a blade never called so sweetly.
The darkness that derives from the end never seemed so peaceful.
If God has any grace left to give, may he bestow it to me now for I cannot hold out any longer.
That's what I wrote to my children's father as my hands shook upon the handle of the blade.
That's how close I came to the end. How close I came to losing the eternal fight that I live with every moment of every day.
That's what it's like to fight for your life, from an enemy greater than you self: your mind.
Maybe God did have some grace left to spare, or maybe there was just a kernel of hope buried somewhere within me. All I know is that I'm still here. The dredges of the depression are still clinging to me with greedy claws, and I feel like I'm on the precipice of either tipping back into the darkness, or falling once again into the light.
But all I know is that I'm thankful.
I'm thankful that for whatever reason I'm still here.
I'm thankful I get to have another day, another moment being driven crazy by my kids.
I'm thankful for having this moment, to be able to share with you my story, and to let you know that you're not alone.
Those who have embraced their darkness, I stand beside you.
I stand beside you in the fight even when you feel like you're alone in the world and no one can understand. Because I do.
I understand what it's like to be your own worse enemy.
I understand what it's like to fall into the darkness, and lose all hope.
I understand what it's like to be afraid of yourself and your own mind, and I understand what it's like to become completely void of all feeling when the aftermath arises.
So what was the purpose of me breaking through the silence and telling you my story?
The purpose is simple: to bring hope.
Hope is the one thing that is the hardest to come by. I'm not going to sit here and tell you to 'get over it'. I'm not going to sit here and berate you for opening up because people 'don't need that drama in their lives'.
I'm here to tell you that you are not alone. That there is NO shame in any of this. You are not broken. You are not somehow less of a person because you suffer through the fight every day.
You are powerful, and you can keep winning the fight.
For those of you who don't understand depression, maybe now you have gleamed some insight.
I hope beyond hope that this has effected you to the point where you won't turn anyone away who needs you. Because if someone reaches out to you, they trust you enough to bare their darkness too. You have the ability to either send them over the brink, or pull them into the light.
You're never 'too busy' to save someones life.
People should never 'have too much going on' in their own lives to listen to those who cry out to you, whether you want to hear their plea or not.
CHOOSE to be the hope.
Whether you're fighting alongside me and the millions of others, or if you're just on the sideline willing to lend a hand to those in need.
BE someones hope. Show kindness, and maybe one day there won't be a statistic, someone you KNOW won't be a statistic because there will be enough people lighting candles in the darkness to help pull us free from even the worst of the darkness.
With Love, Always,
Your Confetti Queen.
(For more information on suicide and how you can help, please visit: http://www.save.org )