It’s been a while since I’ve written. It’s been a while since I’ve done anything I enjoy, to be honest. Depression has a way of sneaking up on you that is both slow but also unstoppable. There are certain things that help me feel better (I keep a list of them in my journal so I don’t forget about them when the depression hits) but for some reason, this time I couldn’t make myself do them. I would think, “I’ll wake up early tomorrow and do yoga before work. That will make me feel so refreshed.” I had every intention of following through, but morning came and all I felt was heavy and slow and numb and I just couldn’t make myself do fucking yoga. Or anything, for that matter.
September and October are hard months for me. October holds the anniversary of the day I tried to kill myself. And September is even worse; it holds the day that a coworker and friend of mine succeeded in taking his own life, almost one year after my own D-Day (Death Day). These days have a way of coloring my entire world during the fall months. Melancholy grey. Bright, burning red. Aching blue.
Even though I am so grateful to have survived myself, and I have since learned new skills to help myself cope with the depressed days (or weeks, sometimes), even though I can now say “I love myself” and actually mean it, these days hurt to remember. Recently, I drifted back into an old coping mechanism, one where I simply numb myself to life because thinking about it, actually feeling it, is too painful and exhausting. I go through the motions of my day as an emotionless robot, which to me, is even more awful than the deep sadness that comes with depression. This went on for a few weeks.
Finally, late one night, my heart felt ready to weep. I lit a candle and lay on the floor and I wrote what came. What follows is a direct entry from my journal. Because it is real and true and editing it to make it prettier, to make it less vulnerable, feels wrong.
I am trying to write the truth so I can feel the truth. I have been trying to write about Dr. W but it’s hard. I am overwhelmed. I am so sad. But sad is real and real is what matters.
To be honest, my heart is broken. It will scar and heal and grow stronger, but it will never be not broken. Some days it is really hard to live with that. It’s hard to feel that hurt all of the time. I think it’s partly the curse of the empath. I feel everyone’s pain. And I do see my sensitivity and empathy as a gift. But the pain is a lot. Sometimes I get so down because I see this world of selfish politicians and homelessness and abuse and addiction and mental illness and pain, pain and suffering, and I just think, no matter what I do, no matter how much love I can put out, I can never fix it. There will always be pain and it makes me profoundly sad.
Is this what Dr. W felt? Is this why he gave up? I can understand. Of course I can.
There is the cliché that goes something like, ‘if love could have saved you, you would still be with us.’ But maybe love could have saved him. Maybe we all failed him. Maybe we needed to make it clear that we loved him, that he was needed, and valued, and essential.
I love you, Dr. W. And I’m so sorry. I’m sorry you ever had to feel alone. I’m sorry I didn’t express to you what a great friend and human I thought you were. You were truly the kindest human I ever knew. I showed in your supportive words and the gentle care you showed your patients. I know that having a soft heart can hurt. And I can understand why you felt like you had to leave. I understand because I’ve been there too. But I just wish it wasn’t so. I wish I could have done anything to help you see just a glimmer of hope. Anything to change your mind. I feel like because I was once in your place, I should have been able to see it in you. I should have been able to sense it and to help, but I couldn’t and I didn’t and I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.
Your anniversary just passed and mine is on its way. Yours, an anniversary of death. It will never again not be the day that you died. Mine is the anniversary of when I didn’t die. My D-Day. I’ve lived almost three years since I didn’t kill myself. It seems short and also very long. It’s been hard, which I know you understand. But there have been some really beautiful moments too. Moments where I can feel love pouring out of me over everyone I know. Moments of shining clarity, when I can see my path and my purpose. And even moments that I deeply know myself and love myself for all that I am.
I wish you could have had that. You deserved it. You deserved to see yourself for what you truly are and to have loved that person. I wish it for you. I wish that wherever you are, whatever happens after, that you have seen yourself and loved yourself.
We’re so much the same. You and I and everyone else. We need to be known and loved and we need to know that love matters, that love makes a difference.
I am so sorry that your flame blew out before you could see the truth. Before you could see that it all matters, every single minute. All you can do is love and love and love some more. That’s the point, I think. We’re here to love and we have to trust that every small bit matters. We can’t fix all of the pain in the world but we can let our love heal our tiny piece of the world. The side effect to loving is hurting. But that’s because it matters. That means it’s real.
I wish I could have shared my candle, could have re-lit yours when it got dim. I didn’t always believe that this mattered, you know. I definitely didn’t believe that I did. Sometimes I still doubt that my love can make a difference. But I just keep holding out. There is a flicker in me that I pray never goes out. In the darkness, it gives me a tiny glimmer of hope that things won’t always be dark. That the light is coming. That one day I will bask in its glow. I hold onto that flickering flame like my life depends on it. Because it does.
I want you to know that you were a beautiful, radiant beam of light on this Earth and that anyone whose life you touched was better for it. I miss you so much. We all do. I still hold your light close to me. And it still hurts to think of you because I loved you and because that love mattered.
Maybe you are a star now, or a sun, or maybe you are a spirit looking down on us, or maybe your energy was recycled to make ocean waves or to help grow flowers, or maybe you came back as a beautiful dog, like your Annie, or maybe you’re with her somewhere. Everywhere. Wherever, whatever, you are, I hope you have found peace. I hope you are happy and I hope you feel overwhelmingly loved, because you are.
May you always hold onto your light.
Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255