Teetering on the Edge of Life

How does one tie a rope around his head, and escape from the world of living, by jumping from a chair?

I can’t wrap my mind around this.  Literally.

Whenever I hear of someone who decides to end his life in this matter, I envision myself in his place.

Standing on a chair, securing the rope…

Heaving, as a shaky chair underneath holds trembling legs that go back and forth in fear, a little farther each time, before jumping from a short ledge to its drop from life.

How does one like Robin Williams (and the many other unrecognizable ones) get to this place of desperation?

This is not an easy way out of life.

And, may I suggest, there is not an easy answer to all-encompass every individual.

Oh, we who are not on the chair can offer unsolicited advice on the problems and explanations of said individuals who are obviously without hope.

But, may I suggest our opinions, without our compassion, only create a tighter noose?

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I went back and forth whether to write from the depths of my heart.  In the end, I thought, what do I have to lose?

My paper-doll image being crumbled?

Actually, what do I have to gain?

Maybe access into a life out there who is desperate.  And alone.

Let’s face it, majority of us are not ever going to be in the place of standing on a chair, teetering on the edge, leaning toward death.

Even so, what if we teeter on the edge and lean in toward transparency?

I’d say this lack of vulnerability has created a chokehold of its own on our freedom to be real when real life is crumbling apart.

Tied up in knots on how I should be, I clean off the debris so my attire is no longer disheveled.

 

Well, enough already.

Choking back tears creates a chokehold around our hearts.

Truth is, I have desired on occasion for the end to come.  While I have not stood on a chair, I have felt the grip of despair pull me in.

Surround me with suggestions of suicide.

And, in my momentary weakness, I have felt alone.  And entirely too close to the edge of desiring death.

Maybe this is where we get to the end of our rope.  When desperation takes hold in a difficult season, and we feel we have nowhere else to turn.

In the moment when we cannot see clearly it is just a momentary trial.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

We need to wrap our minds around Christ.  Literally.

And lean in closer and closer.

Until we free-fall into His embrace.

It is not an easy answer.  But, may I suggest, HE is the HOPE we need to take hold of when we are at the end of our rope.

I’ll Be Back

Right about the time Arnold Schwarzenegger was about to lose the battle in one of his blockbuster pictures, these words would fall from his accented lips–

I’ll be back.

Meaning, watch out–he was not finished yet.

I wonder sometimes, will I get back to the person I was before depression sucker-punched me in the gut?

I used to be this bubbly girl, known for her excitement, passion and over-the-top God moments.  Always telling a story–always excited about what God was up to–always encouraging–always smiling.

But, a part of the movie of my life has me looking back to lost scenes.  Ones deleted from my memory.  I am not certain if this was a deliberate decision on my part, or more of a subconscious derailing me from the oncoming collision I was not prepared to encounter.

These short clips have made their way to the surface of my awareness this last year or so.

They are not the kind of scenes I wish to recall.

I would rather they stay gone for good.

But, there comes a time when awareness makes way to acknowledgement.

And acknowledgement slowly gives way to acceptance.

Not acceptance that says this was okay.  But, more of accepting the fact that there was some significant trauma I’ve encountered in my early years that continues to hold me down to this day.

I have never correlated the fact that my depression may be in part tied to my past.  Most often, I attribute it to just something that is part of me that rises its ugly dark head on occasion and attempts to suck the breath from my joy.

But, I wonder if it is more complex a creature.

A licensed counselor commented during a recent sermon that a majority of cases she counseled for depression were because of swallowed anger.

Often times, the person had no idea that anger was even an issue, let alone the cause.

Until recently, I had no idea I held onto anger.  Yet, very slowly I began to seethe at the thought of some specific individuals.  Not liking this feeling in the least, I would diffuse this emotion very quickly by replacing it with a smile.

Here I am today with a smile that has faded.  

But, no more.  I need to deal with this my past.  I need to feel the hurt and pain.  So, I can get through it.

My hope is this heavy hand on my heart will be kicked to the curb in doing so.

And, like Arnold–

I will be back.  

Maybe not exactly the same bubbly girl without a care in the world.  Because, really, she had a whole lot of concerns she concealed that occasionally bubbled up and over, and brought her down.

But, be back, stronger than ever–ready to flex my jaw muscles again.

My hope is for you out there who also struggle to suffocate your hurts–

Allow them to rise to the surface–so they can be released once and for good.

Uncomfortably Numb, with a Side of Death Threats

Disclaimer:  This decision of mine rests solely on me.  I do not advocate anyone to go off medicine a doctor has prescribed.  Please talk with your physician about any and all medical concerns.  

That being said…

I feel like I am hardly alive.

The highs have lowered, yet, I feel overall numb–like a shot of Novocain was placed in my veins to ward-off all emotion.

Even during the darkest days, the struggle to stay alive always won over the desire to die.

But, this recent lack of feeling has me wondering, “What is the point?”

One month ago, to the day, I took my first antidepressant.  Tired of extreme dips, I decided to see for myself if a little pill could alleviate the symptoms of sadness.

The first two weeks I felt like I was alone in a hollow tunnel.  My thoughts were delayed–like they needed a moment before they caught up to come out my mouth in the form of communication.

In hope, I continued on–hoping the fog would dissipate into clear skies, and my heart would awaken again to joy.

But, I wonder if the cure is not all its cracked up to be.

Focus has returned.  But, feeling has not–with the exception of random urges to give up on life.

Last night four people stopped to ask if I was okay.  The portrait smile pasted on my face to ward off any and all concern obviously had a crack in its facade.

Okay, I am not entirely okay.

Now, please, leave me alone to manage my way through this feeling of numbness.

My passion and purpose have diminished.  

I don’t care to write.

I don’t want to pray.

I don’t feel like talking.

I don’t want to do pretty much anything.

This is not the normal me.

My passion is being poisoned by prescription medicine.

Laying on the couch last night, tired of this lackluster feeling, I felt like King Solomon penning the repetitive term–meaningless.

Meaningless has never been part of my vocabulary.  I have always found purpose–especially in my down state.

God has put me in contact with a few, over the years, who were scarily close to suicide.  Had I not been in the throws of depression myself, I may have not noticed their desperate state.

But, it is as if the pulse of my passion is faint.

Hardly alive.

I have given it a month.

I am finished.  Not with life–but with the “cure”.

I will continue to grasp hold the Great Physician as He walks me through this valley of dreary.

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.  (Psalm 23:4 NLT)

This is Depression

Stagnant.  

This word unceasingly ruminates in my mind since yesterday.

Am I becoming stagnant? 

Sadness permeates into unchartered waters and dissipates my passion.  Will passion make her presence in me again?

The crest of excitement’s waves have slowly stilled.

I feel as one who sits in a lukewarm bath entirely too long.

Damp.

I struggle to remedy this stagnancy I feel I’ve created myself.

Just do something already.

Nothing tastes good to the palette of my ambition.

Is it the stagnancy causing my sadness, or is it the other way around?

 

The bathroom sink was conveniently clogged last night, causing me to focus my attention on her instead of attending Bible study.

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I am not a plumber, but the liquid, who calls herself Liquid Plumber, came to the rescue.

I pour the green concoction into the stagnant water with hopes it will unclog whatever ills block its plumbing.

Nothing happens.

Instead, the still water continues to slowly rise–dangerously close to overflow.

I empty it by the cup load to the perfectly-fine sink sitting beside her.

When the miraculous happens.  I leave the bathroom for just a minute and return to a completely drained sink.

Apparently, whatever sludge blocked its access moved on, and water was now able to freely flow yet again.

Oh, how I long to become unclogged from this stagnancy.

It is not tragedy which causes this dip in emotional stability.  It is the unceasingly slow drip of sadness that causes me to become still, and inevitably stagnant, from the unending disturbance that sits disturbed just underneath the surface.

I cry out from the depths, “Help me–I’m sinking.”

I feel the One, who holds me close in my dark state, whisper to my heart, “Hold on.”  So, I hold tight to Him as I struggle to keep my head above the stagnancy.


How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.

For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.  Psalm 36:7-9 NIV

 

All Things Depressed

Depression.  

When I feel brave enough to write about my sad state, I often receive a mixture of mixed messages laden with possible causes, and potential remedies, to relieve my downcast demeanor.

  • Get your Vitamin D checked.  You know, a dip in this vital vitamin is an increase in unhappiness.
  • Maybe it is a lack of serotonin in your hardwiring.
  • NO!  Back away from the meds.  Depression is entirely spiritual.  You need to be prayed for–prayed over–prayed through.  Perhaps an exorcism is in order.
  • Oh, Josie, you know you are inching your way toward the half-century mark.  Menopause is the cause.
  • I guess this is a fresh change from the hormonal imbalance that plagues the pimple-laden youth, AKA pre-menstral syndrome.
  • Maybe, it is actually the men in my life who bring me down.  After all, menopause and pre-menstral syndrome have men in their titles.  Blame it on the man.

Truth is, depression affects a broad spectrum of individuals.

Men and women.

Young, middle, old.

The prosperous, to the poor.

Those who are famous.  Those in obscurity.

Even religious barriers are broken down by the broken-hearted.

***

I was on the phone, a couple weeks ago, with a friend discussing blog stuff, when the question arose whether or not I wrote in the area of my expertise.  Sometimes.  Many times though, I’d say no.

Deep down, I have felt drawn to write to those who struggle to keep their heart above despair.

But, not wanting to be a downer, I put the brakes on some of my thoughts, and instead write about things more uplifting.

After all, who wants to hear about all things depressed?  

That would be depressing, now wouldn’t it?

But, what if I delve into the depths of this dark topic, and possibly along the way, help some who are struggling to keep themselves alive by sharing my struggle?

It is a calculated risk I am ready to take.

So, for the time being, I will hone in on this topic.  From all angles.

How long?  I guess until I have nothing else to say, or I am cured–whichever comes first.

Until next time, I hope this Psalm infuses you with hope:

Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God—
soon I’ll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.
He’s my God.