And Others Who Lost the Battle to Depression
The doorstep to suicide is the loneliest place in the universe. I’ve been there, so understand. Many people don’t, and that is understandable. How can someone be expected to comprehend such a distortion of reality? I’ve stood in a room full of people who loved and cared about me–and felt completely alone. While friends and family were giving me hugs, all I could feel was a vile self-loathing for being such a burden on these wonderful people.
The doorstep to suicide is a very cold place. I had always thought differently. When thinking about it, it was a passionate event. A climatic ending. But when I was there, it was a very cold and serene place, like an arctic field. Suicide becomes a rational decision, the only option that makes any sense. It can’t/won’t get any better, so what’s the point? You are standing in that arctic field, alone and bitterly cold. There is no place to go, no shelter, no warmth, no hope.
The doorstep to suicide is a timeless place. Imagine if you will an agony so terrible that it becomes your existence. The pain so awful that it fades into a numbness that encompasses your every breath, until your breaths are a burden. There is just a “now,” bereft of a joyful past and a hopeful future. I was 29 years old and my life was over. I could not remember 28 years of love and joy and could not conceive of the 15 years of happiness that awaited me.
The doorstep to suicide is a selfless place. I would have never of thought that. The opposite really. I had always considered suicide the most selfish thing a person could do. How could they do that to their friends and family? I had been there, been a witness to a person who tried to go through that door and had to clean up afterwards. Selfish, self-centered damnable…but perception distorts as badly as reality on that doorstep. What many consider selfish distorts into selfless. The question, “how can you do that to your family and friends” becomes “how can you NOT do that FOR your family and friends?” How can you continue to exist and allow your existence to drag them down, and do them harm?
I sat on that doorstep for a cold, timeless moment, got up, put my hand on that doorknob…and I am not quite sure what happened. An internal whimper. An upwelling of passion that escaped like a gasp through the ice that made me think: something is not right here. I called Rachel. An old friend. Two thousand miles away. She would understand. But she didn’t. It still made sense to me, to step through that doorway. I hurt so bad. How could she not understand?
“Just one year,” she said. “Give me one year. Put it aside for one year.” If I could make it through 29, then what was one more? Give her one more year. That didn’t make any sense, but, for her, I could do it.
The doorstep to suicide is a place I never went back to, but I still can remember it. I wonder if it was the same for Robin? I wonder if he made a call that went unanswered?
The path to the doorstep is a cluttered place, filled with misconceptions and burdened by the stigma of mental illness.
Depression is a disease.
Depression is real.
Depression can be treated.
You are not alone.
There is hope.