Depression and logic don’t always fit together. In Keith Anderson’s case, maybe that was a good thing.
I sit on my deck, off the kitchen, on the second floor of my house. It’s 3 AM. A full moon, stars shining brightly. Looking out over the apple trees and pasture land, towards the lake. No neighbors for miles. A beautiful vision.
I am alone.
I hold a long rope, planning my death. The darkness of depression ravaging my mind. The angst, the turmoil, becoming so intense I know my mind is fragmenting. Some pieces function, others don’t. Hanging myself will end the pain.
I had a concern though, maybe a fear. Not a fear of dying. I was scared the rope and deck wouldn’t hold me, and I would hit the ground and break a leg, which wouldn’t help me at all. Depression and logic don’t always fit together. The deck would have supported a car going off it hanging by a rope! So I would sit, pondering, illogical thinking occurring, my mind skipping a beat or two.
Many lonely nights I found myself in this troubling circumstance.
I still have some difficulty acknowledging I was in such a dark place. I remember my therapist asking if I’d ever considered suicide, and very quickly blurting, “no.” We both knew it wasn’t the truth, but at that time I could not say “yes” to myself let alone another person. A month later, we explored my suicidal thoughts.
This was many years ago, when I was unhealthy, when I had mental illness. My self-confidence was nil, my self- esteem non-existent, my self-worth in the negatives!
The idea of being hopeful about my life, of dreaming of a happy existence full of interesting and exciting people and activities didn’t enter my mind or heart, and I am one who believes thoughts/feelings are born and reside in both our minds and hearts.
My life would get worse. I had a mental breakdown, would spend months in bed, years confined to the house, but for going to therapy once a week and the occasional walk.
In the span of five days, I went from practicing law, to a diagnosis of depression, to having my career gone as a result and then the breakdown.
Hope wasn’t even a remote thought. My life didn’t offer anything positive. All I saw and felt was darkness. A thick gray fog had formed around me and I could see no light.
When there is no hope left in us, what happens?
Having no hope took away my dreams, my desires, my interest in living. I am one who tends to think big, a true romantic. I wanted a life full of wonders. I wanted to share my life. No hope meant all that was gone. Hope wasn’t lost, understand, it was truly gone.
I would lie in bed all day, wondering how I could ever regain a full life. No happiness, no laughter, no sharing. Just hoping to have hope.
I did eventually find hope within my mother and sister who told me I would get healthy and life would improve. Because I trusted them, I believed them, even if I didn’t believe myself.
I am fortunate in that I had a wonderful family who came to understand depression and my life. They provided support on many levels from feeding me, to listening to me, to showing me that life presents difficulties and to always maintain hope.
In hindsight–my breakdown was actually the first sign of hope. Although it’s strange to consider a breakdown a positive event. It put me in a place where I knew I had an illness and had to seek help. Up to that point in my life, I hadn’t realized I was ill. I just thought I had a horrible life. Depression moves slowly, creeping into one’s mind and life. It took years to settle deeply in my mind. The diagnosis of depression and the breakdown provided me with a sliver of light—I was ill, but hopefully I could regain my good health and have a second chance at a real life.
I consider myself to be healthy now, recovered from depression. I am happy. I dream. I want more!
I will always strive to have a better life, a life full of wonders. Will I achieve it? Who knows, but I certainly have what I call “worth living moments.” Those special moments to truly enjoy, appreciate and even savor. Memories to sustain me forever.
I hadn’t been to a movie theater in 13 years. But last year I went to see The Kingsman, an entertaining movie and I even got to share that moment with the “special one.”
A moment worth living.
Thoughts of my pre-mature demise are gone.
My life is worth living.
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