+ The Rope
Kiddo is off to stay with her Grandparents for a night. Normally, I’d be able to relax a bit because I have some free time… But now… I don’t know. This is likely going to be a long, long post.
I keep thinking about Ben. I wish like hell I would’ve known what he was going through. I would have done anything possible, including letting him move into my own home, if it got him through his pain. I would do the same for any of you, you know? The people I have on my friend’s list aren’t just random people I collect. You’re all here for a reason. As mushy and sappy as it may sound, I care about you all. Each of you has something special that I recognize, and I cherish you for those reasons.
Friendships are not easy for me to come by. I don’t trust easily and I certainly don’t let people into the intimate details of my life without subjecting them to numerous months of distancing inner self and keeping my true feelings at bay. Each of you reading this means something to me and if ANY of you were in that place, that scary place that I know all too well, I want you to know that I would/will do anything in my power to help you.
Not all of you know this, but I imagine a lot of you do - I’ve suffered with serious depression for years. When I was sixteen, I attempted suicide by swallowing everything I could find in the medicine cabinet. When my best friend Sheep found out, he called an ambulance. I ran. I actually ran away from where I was, because I was hoping they wouldn’t find me. I wanted to die. I was in so much pain that there wasn’t a thing on this Earth that could soothe me. My emotions felt like razor wire and every single time something else went wrong, it clenched tighter around my heart. I felt it swallowing me. Fortunately, the ambulance found me and they saved my life. I’m grateful. I truly am.
I’d be lying if I said I haven’t had those feelings since then. Every once in a while, when things got really, really bad, I’d feel it clawing up my spine again. That feeling of hopelessness, that there isn’t a person on the planet that can understand, that if I asked for help I’d just be a burden (which would make me feel like more of a hindrance to everyone and it’d just be a vicious cycle of hating myself), that there is no coming back. That I’m destined to feel like this, to feel this pain, to be in pain, such agonizing pain, forever.
Recognize this: Mental illness is just as serious as any physical manifestation you can imagine. The pain may not be visible to you, but that doesn’t make it any less real. When I tell you that I used to wake up every morning staring death in the face and feeling AT PEACE with that, I mean every word of it. I welcomed it. I wished for it. I wanted it, because I just wanted the pain to stop.
I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety for over 10 years. I battle with it. I’ll be flatly honest with you - there was a point in my life, not too long ago, when my daughter was literally my tether to life. She’s the only person that kept me here. It isn’t that I don’t love my family enough to stay, it isn’t that I don’t love my friends enough to stay, it’s that I felt like I was, and would always, amount to nothing. Every day I woke up wanting the pain to stop. Suicide isn’t about bravery or having the “guts” to kill yourself - suicidal thoughts are brought on by pain that can’t be relieved by typical painkillers. When you break your arm, they give you Vicodin or Morphine and you feel better. When you break inside, there’s nothing to give you to make you feel instantly better. Depression medications help, but they need time to ramp up. Sometimes, there just isn’t any time. It builds, and eventually the pain envelops you, and you can think of nothing else. With Evee… I realized that I couldn’t leave her. I couldn’t hurt her like that. I couldn’t ever let her think for one second that I didn’t love her enough to endure this. I could NOT do that to her. And so here I am. I’m no longer in pain; I sought help. I’m still seeking more help. I reach out to people now like I never did before. It still gets rough sometimes, but I’m now strong enough to get through it. Medications have helped me a lot. Sometimes medications alone aren’t enough and you need to actually talk to someone.
I’m telling this story publicly because I want everyone that reads it to understand fully that they’re not alone in this fight. I recognize and acknowledge that terrifying position. I know what it feels like. I’ve danced with it for years. Everything I’ve done since my daughter was born has been for her. I feel she was given to me for a reason - so I could find beauty in life, so I could find a purpose, so I could find happiness. I cherish her more than anything on this Earth and there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for her, which includes not letting my depression swallow me and take me back to that point where there’s seldom a return.
I’m making a promise to all of you, and I’m promising you this on the love I felt (and still feel) for my friend Ben - if ever, EVER in your life there’s a time when you feel that monster crawling up your back, it doesn’t matter what’s come between us. Even if we’ve sworn never to speak to each other again… If you ever feel like you simply cannot go on, like dying is the only option, please know that I am SWEARING to you that I will do everything I can to help you. I will open my heart, my ears, my arms, my home to you. I will try everything I can think of to get you through this, because I’ve been there. It’s like walking down a tunnel lined with shards of glass. I know it is. I’ve been there, and I came out of there.
I’m not going to be naive and say “everything will be okay,” because I know that sometimes things just can’t be the way they were. What I -am- saying is that things can get better. With help, with love, with reassurance that you have a place in this world, you can get through this. I will do everything, EVERYTHING I can to help. This I swear, from the bottom of my heart, with Ben as my witness. I promise you. I will help you. Please… Please don’t let it swallow you. Make that last reach for hope before it’s too late. People love you. The ripples you make in life reach farther than you can ever imagine… And if you ever feel like there’s no one on the Earth that could understand or care, this is your proof that you’re wrong.
I love you. All of you. Please talk to me if you need someone. I will always be there for you.