A certain subject has been on my mind lately and on Monday there was a fantastic blog post about it-- Surviving Suicide and Other Destructive Behaviors. This author of this blog is doing his part to open up that long-hidden closet door and shine some light on the subject. I never would have guessed that this intelligent, kind, successful man has struggled so severely all these years. Please read the entire post. You won't regret it.
I've been trying to decide if I should open up as well so if you're reading this, I guess I did. My struggle started in high school. Just waking up in the morning became an obstacle course of epic proportions. I just didn't feel strong enough to deal with any part of life. Sleep became my refuge and I missed at least one day of school per week because I just gave in and stayed in bed. The emotional pain was intense and constant. I just wanted it to stop. I prayed each night to simply not wake up in the morning. But morning always came and I had to plod through another day. My school commute involved ten miles of wild, curving dirt road filled with cliff walls and drop offs. Every time I drove it, I would imagine the freedom I would feel if I accelerated and drove off one of those cliffs to sail through the air and land at the bottom. I knew that then the pain would stop and I would feel peace at last. The only thing that kept me from doing it was the fear that the drop wasn't far enough and I would survive.
At one point, I decided that taking a handful of Tylenol might stop the agony. Maybe it was the only thing I could find in the medicine cabinet, I'm not sure, but it's what I settled on. I popped them one night, but alas, I awoke the next morning. Other than some dizziness the next few days, I suffered no ill effects. I managed to squeak though high school with decent grades and get into college but I've always wondered what I really could have accomplished if I hadn't been constantly fighting to just survive. I never shared this with my friends or my parents. I mean, it was obvious that no one else seemed to have these thoughts so no one would understand and they might think less of me. It was my private struggle. But how many others around me were going through the same thing? The odds are good that at least a few were. But we suffered alone.
The dark, suffocating pain still pops up now and then. It's been settling into my bones this winter and I've had the same thoughts. Life is too hard and I am too weak. The fact that I have lived through some very tough things in my life means nothing to the pain that whispers to me. I am weak. I will crumble. The only way to make the pain stop is to end it.
But this time I'm opening all the windows of my mind and letting the dark out and the sunlight in. Here is my pain, what I live with each day, but I am not alone. Let's share our struggles instead of enduring them in isolation. And let's make it safe for others to share. Share your story.