Challenge Day 26: Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?
Okay, it’s time to level with you fine folks; the following is not the original piece that I was writing up for this challenge.
Though I’ve been alluding to different aspects of my past for the last month, I haven’t really come right out and told my story. As that my story relates to the ‘why’ part of this prompt, I felt today was the perfect time to come clean with all the details of my personal history. However, by the time I got to the sixth page of a Microsoft Word document this morning – and realized that I’d barely even begun to scratch the surface – I knew that it wasn’t going to work out. It’s not that I don’t want to tell my story; there’s just a lot more to it than will comfortably fit into a single post. Until I come to a decision on how to deal with this matter, let’s just keep things simple…
I am a happy person. I laugh a lot, I smile often and I rarely have moments of deep sadness these days. I still shed tears, but many of them are due to happiness while others are tears of empathy for people and situations in the world around me. I don’t mind crying; I’m quite pleased with the fact that my fight for emotional balance didn’t cause me to become cold and uncaring. Also, I think crying is healthy; it’s a physical means of expressing our emotion. It’s like our body’s way of pumping out the poisons that could damage our well-being, and as such, I think everyone should have a good cry now and then – just to clear out the nasties.
I have shed a lot of tears in my lifetime, and I didn’t always appreciate them. In fact, I used to be ashamed of them. They were a weakness; an externalization of my inner softness when outer hardness was an essential part of survival. I was a deeply conflicted person; struggling so hard to be icy and detached when it was never in my soul to be as such. I believe this is why my brain eventually rebelled against me… there were too many discrepancies between who I was and who I was trying to be. Something was bound to snap.
Those of you that have been following along awhile now already know that I have – in the past – danced with the consideration of taking my own life. What you do not know is that there were two (not one) periods of my life when suicide had seemed like a reasonable option to me; the first period was just before I turned eighteen, and the second (the one I most often allude to) was in my twenties. The first period was not half so bad as the one that would eventually follow; that dark period of my life was a lot more to do with the world around me, while the second was really more about something internal being broken. The first stage was rather brief – while quite intense in its own way – and the second lasted for what seemed an eternity. At seventeen I didn’t even think of myself as being depressed (I’m still not sure if I truly was) but I consider my contemplation of death at the time to be more so about laziness than anything else; life had gotten incredibly complicated and I was getting tired of carrying around the weight. In my twenties (when I completely fell apart) suicide became attractive because life had gotten so painful that even breathing hurt. Everything felt hopeless and my existence felt pointless.
While I’m not going to get into the ‘why’ of things, clearly I never opted out. Since my ‘now’ is a lot sunnier than my ‘then’, I should think it’s not a wonder that I prefer to live in the present, but again, that’s really not what’s stopping me from telling you the whole story. I’ve made peace with my ‘then’. Over the years I have taken out each memory, examined them and found a way to deal with my history without just blocking it away. Some things are buried a little deeper in the back of my proverbial closet than others, but there’s nothing in there that I’m truly afraid of anymore. I can talk about most of these past experiences fairly openly without doing damage to my mental/emotional state. The only reason I’m holding back here is because of the length of time the tale would take to tell. I still may tell it… just not here and now.
For the sake of this challenge, I think the only thing that’s really important to remember is that I was wrong. Back when I looked at the world as being hopeless and my place in it as being pointless, I was not looking through clear eyes; I was looking through the haze of emotion and the fog of fear. It doesn’t really matter what my reasons for hanging around were back then, it only matters that I’m here now. If I had taken the emergency exit back when I was considering it, I would have missed out on so much, and that would have been a dreadful shame. Today I can honestly say that I am happy… far happier than I ever imagined I could some day be. It was a long hike to get to where I am today, but I’ve learned a lot along my journey. The most important lesson I’ve learned? That life is not just something that I had to get through, but a gift with many layers of wrapping paper. Some of those layers might have been a little ugly, but the true gift buried deep within is beautiful and well worth the effort.
Sappy? Maybe. True? Yes.