For someone who has suffered from depression for any length of time, for whatever combinations of causes, life can look pretty bleak. It tends to surprise others, on the outside looking in, that this outwardly happy, yet tired person, really wants to die.
You probably know someone who killed themself, committed suicide, took their own life. Maybe someone close to you. Maybe you have considered or even tried to do it. I’m betting a lot more people contemplate it, than you think. There is a saying religious-types like to spout, that God will not give you more trouble then you can handle. And I’m going to call bullshit on that one. IF that were true and it’s BIG IF why are so many people so self destructive? Why do they do things to try to feel better, only to have said things not make them feel better? And why do people die by their own hands. I say they reek of so much sadness it reaches an intolerable saturation point and they go. Life is way too much for their ability to cope, sleep and ever feel good, they can not take one more minute and they leave.
I thought about it one day. I was so tired of having no control over my own life, feeling trapped until I could not breathe and feeling invisible to those I loved, that I sat in my truck, holding my new little daughter and thought about knocking it out of gear, rolling down the hill into the swiftly moving river. I just wanted to leave the planet. I loved my children as much as I could at 33 years old, handicapped by debilitating depression. I looked at her and shoved the thoughts aside. Who would love and take care of my children if I left the planet. Noone, I was fairly sure.
I remembered standing all night long, as a teenager, staring out the frosty window, as the giant snowflakes fell past the street lamp, wishing somewhere out there was someone who would love me. Somewhere was someone who would see how special I was and appreciate those things that made me, me. I just wanted to feel loved. I thought love was not lonely, sad or invisible.
Years went by. I read nearly a bazillion books searching for answers. I was ridiculously devoted to organized religion in the hope that’s where the answers would be. I didn’t waste time or money on drugs, alcohol or some of the easy fixes. I do appreciate the immediate reward of retail therapy, but then I’m kindof a girlie girl! But even chocolate, shopping, or the UT favorite pasttime, getting large, from eating ice cream, are fleeting and don’t keep you warm at night in your bed. And there is no lonliness like being completely alone while living with someone.
My TLP provider warned me, going into the listening process, I should have someone I could talk to. He made that very clear. I had a great friend I felt I could depend on and went on my way to start my 30 minutes a day of listening. By week 5, I knew I was in trouble. Emotions very close to the surface, exploded at will. Everything and nothing set me off. I pretty much cried for 2 weeks. My friend, by then, was in her own crisis, so I went to a licensed social worker, who taught me to recognize where my emotions were coming from, so I could deal better with them. In my second visit, he blew me off, so I never went back.
Still really needing some help I found another counselor, who had personal understanding of my position. She was quite helpful in my now, weekly, visits. Which was great because the next 2 weeks I really wanted to rip someone’s head off or punch someone. If you know me, that is ridiculous. I’m not violent, I oppose all war and to be in that situation was repugnant and made me even angrier.
By week 9 of listening, I was no longer tearful or angry. I felt calm and energized. The shift seemed abrupt and final. By week 13 several things resolved, the best was I had my first nights sleep. You may think I am kidding. I do not remember in my whole long life of EVER sleeping through the night. Ever.
Everything woke me up. A skunk in the neighborhood and train going by, traffic, cats, dogs, a rattle in the heat vent, being hungry, thirsty, hot, cold, bad dreams, babies, kids, husbands… I have even been awakened twice by pilot lights going out on a stove. Crazy, but true and then one morning I woke up and something was different. I had slept all night long, in one continuous period of time, without waking. Asleep. Sleeping. All night long. For 7 straight hours without interruption and I was amazed.
The next night I did it again and again the night after that and all week long, I slept all night long. And the next week and the next month and somewhere along the way, I became a believer. I understood that the life I had known was on it’s way out and a new, healthier life had been ushered in and maybe, just maybe, there was a light at the end of this tunnel of sadness.