There comes a point in everyone’s life when there’s no return. You pass the point of certainty and assurance. The doors close. The windows are nailed shut. Surviving is too much. The darkness embraces you in a warm blanket of despair and it just feels better to stay there. Depression hits anyone. It doesn’t care about social status, gender, age, race, or ethnicity. Depression doesn’t care that you are “tight with God,” a church goer, a monk, or even the most spiritual being out there.
In 2001, right after 9/11, I woke up on a cement floor in a park close to midnight. I didn’t recognize my surroundings. I walked out of that park and believed that it was 1987. I had blood in my hair and forehead, scratched knees, my body was mangled. I was in search of a home I had in 1987 which was nowhere near where I was living in 2001. In my disorientation I could not make heads or tails of who I was or what I was doing in that neighborhood. After a long and brutal awareness with the police I ended up in an ambulance alone on the way to a hospital. I looked like a drug addict, rape victim, all bruised and disoriented and because my answers didn’t coincide with the events of that year, I was treated unjustly. Later when I woke in the ER I found my life had moved many years into the future. The husband I had at 19 was not the same at 33. I had six children and couldn’t remember a single face. I had no clue what had happened to me. The new partner in my life was a man who truly manipulated everything and just being in the presence of this stranger made things worst. How could this be my life? I had entered The Twilight Zone. The universe was playing a sick joke on me. I surfed a million of emotions during those days.
When I was released from the hospital, still without a clue of how I lost my memory or what I was doing in that park so late at night, a friend visited me at home. I didn’t recognized her, but she sat with me outside as I held my head sideways on my shoulder. The spinal tap had done a number on my system. I was leaking spinal fluid and nothing was holding me up. The headache and pressure were astronomical and I have never felt such severe pain ever since. My life was being sucked out of me every second. But, this friend confided that days prior to this event I had called her and told her that I was going to end it all. It was time to check out. The struggling was way too much. There had to be something better. We had lost all our money. We went from being millionaires to having $10 in our account. I told her that I had driven my car on and off the expressway ramp to an overpass bridge and I was going to ride myself off it (but the fear that I would hurt another was too much to bear). She continued to tell me that she had been so worried that she prayed that someone would knock some sense into me. Her prayers were answered. Hearing this about my life, as if it wasn’t me, made matters worst. I was listening to a story that didn’t pertain to me. I had no recollection of such an event. What a horrible life I was living! NO wonder I got a break. The injury was a blessing and the lessons from it transformed me into a different person.
Days later, after being admitted into a psych ward, the memories began to reappear slowly. I had been hit on the back of the head by a teenager with a racket and left on the ground. I have no clue how long I was unconscious. The thoughts began to collide with a new reality. I fell right back into the deep depression. The universe gave me a small pause, an opportunity to regroup, but the emotions were still deep in there. The worst part of all was not being recognized, not being heard, and the delusion that everything was perfectly fine back at home. The weeks that followed became a game of survival. No one spoke of the event. No one asked me how I was feeling. Things between my ex and my mother (who was living with us) moved in their own narcissistic way. Dying was easier than living. But, on that psychiatric floor, witnessing true devastation, and many who had lost loved ones in 9/11 I began to count my blessings for a short period of time. And, although I have a huge memory loss of events before that accident I can still remember the smell of waking up on that park floor, the taste of blood on my lips, the lemon size clot on my forehead, and the disorientation of self. I was given a second chance.
There’s something about the dark hole that doesn’t understand rational analysis. This place doesn’t care how much you try to correct the behavior or fix the initial problem. It’s not just one problem. It’s not about readjusting thoughts and aligning them with happy ones. That crap doesn’t work when you are inside the hole without a ladder, food or light. Depression is brutal and it requires a village of hands to pull you out of it and sometimes some excellent drugs to help get to the root of how you got into that darn hole. I have lost several folks in my life because of this tyrant goon. I don’t want to lose anymore. I understand the hopelessness, helplessness, and faithless behavior. Ego has a way of adding more to the stories than are really there. It’s part of the disorder.
I have been fortunate to have people who love me and see when I begin to slip. I am not always up in the air with joy. I am human. We all have sad moments. But when the sadness starts to take over and living becomes a challenge...darling, that’s time to get help! This is nothing to conquer on your own. There’s no shame in asking for a hand. Vulnerability is part of the process.
I say this from the bottom of my heart: if you are reading this and there’s a struggle (a tug and war) between living and dying PLEASE get help. Spirituality and psychology can only go so far if you don’t reach out to another. I can pray and meditate and distract myself for days, but if depression is lurking none of that helps. You are not alone. You don’t have to feel alone. That’s an illusion. Make a list of all the things that bring you gratitude. Make a list of the things that have brought you joy. Get up and make the call to God, a friend, a therapist, and take the hand of someone who cares. Depression is not something to battle alone. I am still here. You are still reading this. There is still HOPE! Please don’t be another statistic. We must conquer this epidemic.