Three years ago, I was done.
Not just in the Proverbial way, but for good.
I started a letter to leave behind, but the words that came ended up convincing me to keep going, to reach out.
My story didn’t end.
I can’t promise that it gets better. None of us has that control. But your story gets to continue. You get to experience. It gets.
There is beauty in the darkness; there is joy even in pain. There is reasons infinity to stay.
You are reason enough.
On World Suicide Prevention Day, I share this to shine a light on the darkness, that you may know you’re not alone, that you are #WorthLivingFor.
May you remember it today, and always.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255
Crisis Hotline: text “HOME” to 741-741
(I don’t know that a CW is needed, but just know that there are no mentions of self harm, only a desire to live. Always trust your gut on what to skip.)
— September 2017
How does one write a pro/con list for breathing? To the healthy, sane mind, this must seem preposterous, a bewildering mystery beyond fathom.
But sitting here, in this moment, no other option seems feasible.
I’m shrouded in smoke and tatters. My lungs choke, for there’s no oxygen in the smoke, and my skin is scraped and bathed in salt. The pounding between my ears is so fierce that my eyesight is blurry and my ears ring with the scraping of nails and cowbells.
The only escape is over the ledge, for far in the distance there’s green grass and peace. Mostly I just want to be free.
There are moments of clarity, when I can push aside the densely thick darkness and catch glimmers of fresh air and sunlight.
In those moments I know I’m exhausted, that the weariness from lack of sleep and long hours and endless responsibility cloud my judgment and keep me from seeing the full opportunity beyond the moment. But the fight of the sleepless nights and exhaustion to come seems more than I can bear. And endless rest beckons.
In those moments I know that all marriages have their rough patches, that there’s highs and lows and the peaks bring joy beyond the despair of the valleys. But the peaks are few and far between, and the vows I took leave only one option beside endless days of isolation, abandonment and misery.
In these moments I know that they’re just little, that it won’t always be this way and they’ll miss me – it may be more than they can bear. But I’d rather them learn to cope without me, treasured memories intact, than suffer the pain inflicted from my short comings. It’s not their fault, there’s nothing they could have done differently. It’ll change their lives forever, but it was always on me. If I live one more day, it was for their sweet faces.
I think about it as more of giving up, bowing out of the race at the halfway mark because the conditions were too rough, and I wasn’t adequately prepared. Maybe I should have invested in better shoes, or had a better training plan, or eaten a better breakfast.
But in this moment of reflection, in the silence, in these moments of clarity, perhaps there are other options.
If I take the moment to turn around, figure out where I am, catch my breath, I realize that I got off track, slipped and fell, and at the bottom of the hill landed in a brush fire. That’s why my skin is tattered and my lungs choked. There’s no shoes or training that would have prepared me for this – it isn’t my own inadequacy but a fleeting circumstance.
Further down the hill, off and over the ledge, isn’t the only escape. I can get out of the fire and to safety. I can sit and rest. Catch my breath. Refuel. Get help. Heal. And continue on.