April bloomed chilly and stark in its greenness, as it does every year, and yet something in the wind carried voices I'd tried for so long to silence, had buried so deeply within my tortured brain that their resurgence within my rattling bones shook me to my core.
I felt unappreciated. Invisible. I felt as though every step I'd taken forward had only brought me further pain; like the Little Mermaid in Andersen's tale, I walked on invisible blades, bled rivulets in streams of blood no one else could see, but which was there nonetheless. Never one to admit my own fragility, I walked into my office that morning the way I always had -- head down, carrying my lunch in one hand and stuffing the other in my pocket.
They say three is a special number, that it carries a magic. That "third times are charmed". And this would be my third suicide attempt. Either I was going to die, or something would have to change.
Who can really say what that something was that kept me here? My father's tears, my mother's worried face peering through the hospital room window? My team lead's reassuring words, her hand gently unclenching the fists I had made? The thought of my girlfriend, far away in Australia? The love I felt for my friends? The fevered text messages from the pop star I'd fallen in love with, when he realized something was truly wrong?
Who can really say?
Depression can, and will, eat you from the inside out. Its hunger is insatiable. Like the Nothing, sweeping across Fantastica, it engulfs a soul of Light and drowns it in swirling voids of terror, hopelessness and a lonely desperation that claws and tears at the bearer's emotional viscera until there is nothing left upon which to feed. It will kill you if you let it. And it will not apologize for having done so. It will steal away your fire. It will rip apart your poetry. It will extinguish your desires, your dreams, and your humanity -- bit by bit. Piece by bloodied piece, you will be dragged from point A to point B and then back again, countless times. There are no lessons in depression. There is only survival, and, if you are very very lucky....connection.
For that is the only real weapon we have against it. Connection to what holds us fast to this heartbreath world, the people that matter, the creatures which share the earth with us, the questions and the stories and the music and the colors. The whys and the reveals, the spoilers and the philosophies that keep us guessing until the final curtain is drawn for us each in turn. We stumble into this life, blind and hopeful, and we do our best to keep moving forward. Most of us are able to keep moving. Some of us are not.
So much that has happened to me would not have happened to me had I taken my life that day. There are heartbreaks I would never have experienced, horrible sadness I never would have had to feel, acts of selfishness and greed I never would have committed. But there are also people I never would have been loved by. Satisfaction and pride I never would have felt. Beauty I never would have known.
Balance is key. Balance.
Be a chaos chaser, friend. I say to you -- mount the steed of perseverance, no matter the severity of the storm following behind you, and overtake those whispering demons. Run those motherfuckers down. Make them suffer the way you have suffered at their leathery hands, and silence them for good.
And if you find the road too steep, the demons too quick-footed and tricky -- if you find you stumble and are thrown from your ride -- reach up, reach out. Find my hands in the darkness. For I will be there. I will always be there. And I will help you back upon your feet, and I will pull you up upon the back of my own steed, and we will tear a fucking hole through space-time itself.
"Angel, don't take your life
Some people have got no pride;
They do not understand
The Urgency of Life --
But I love you more than life
I love you
Depression is something that I will always have to manage. To deal with, as any disease which ebbs and flows in its remissions and flares. But I'll be damned if I will let it eat up my humanity and swallow my heart piecemeal. I will be damned.
People say you should never look back -- but if you never do, you won't have a chance to notice just how far you have come. And you may miss the person who has fallen just shy of where you are now....the person you just might be able to save.