I’d like to start by thanking you for taking time out of your day to read this. I, like most writers, write as a means of expression, but to have my writing viewed by you is even more rewarding, for my thoughts are then able to be shared and acknowledged.
You may or may not have been a previous reader of mine, but for many years I wrote these blogs, and upon completion of each of them I was always able to derive from them a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. To read people’s feedback was equally rewarding, as it afforded me the insight that I sometimes lacked, and provided for me a sense of belonging, as I was constantly being reminded that I was not alone with my struggles in this world. That’s one thing that I’ve come to learn: that no matter what one is going through, no matter what I am going through, there is always someone else in the world going through something similar. And believe me when I tell you, it helps to know that you’re not alone.
I imagine that’s why I’ve enjoyed corresponding with people online throughout the years. I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of writing people all over the world who struggled as I did, psychologically. I’m still in touch with some of those people, and I’m happy to say that I’m not the only one of us who’s gotten better. We had helped each other at one time or another by sharing our thoughts with each other. I submit that, while the feedback we gave each other was generally positive in nature, it was the mere acknowledgement of our feelings, of our expressions, that felt most impactful. It was the fact that someone heard our cries and cared to offer their help that made expressing ourselves in the first place worthwhile. Being heard meant being validated.
So, in writing this note, I aim to be heard, but I also believe that you will be able to relate to my feelings. And if you do, whether my feelings are of a negative or a positive nature, the fact remains that neither of us are alone. And if we’re not alone, then we can face this game called life together with each others’ support.
Allow me to begin…
I would like to first state that the previous four paragraphs took me over an hour to write. I edited them many times and even rewrote one of them. That’s how critical I am about my writing. I expect of myself nothing less than my greatest potential, at least when it comes to things that I find meaningful. I find writing meaningful, and it’s something with which I find refuge and gain a sense of pride upon completion. Some people have art, some have music, and others have exercise. Me, I have writing. That’s my thing. And I’m so very grateful to have a “thing” with which I can gain much meaning. I’m glad to have such a value, such an outlet.
For many years, while I had writing as a means of comfort, I lacked other things, more significant things, and the absence of such things brought unto me a depression so terrible that I thought very seriously of ending my life. I had nothing from which I could derive a sense of purpose or self-worth. Living in a chronic state of an unrelenting depression, my only recourse, as I saw it, was to end my life. And I nearly did.
I was very fortunate to have the right people come into my life at the right time to prevent me from taking my life. Had they not been there for me when they were, while I’m left with no sense of absolute certainty, I can say with sincerity that it is extremely unlikely that I’d be alive today and writing this note. I am forever indebted to them. They saved my life. And the most significant sentiment of it is that I’m grateful that they saved my life. I’m grateful to have been given a second chance at life. How fortunate I am to have this attitude and to appreciate my place in this world. Sometimes it still feels foreign, but righteous just the same.
I was saved from suicide just two years ago. And looking back, I take measure of how far I’ve since come. I haven’t merely existed an additional two years, I’ve grown so very much as a person and have gained a humble respect for the value that my life has. I haven’t done anything grand: I haven’t cured cancer, I haven’t found a cure for AIDS, I’ve offered no panacea for global politics, but I have learned to appreciate life, to appreciate my life, and to do such a thing is remarkably rewarding in and of itself.
I write with such passion my gratitude for being here, today. I think very highly of the people who saved me, as they are my personal heroes. But to merely revel in their sentiment is to not live life as it should be lived. I must learn from my past, as I have, and move forward in a sort of conquest, consisting of nothing more than my advancement through the rest of my life. I must learn to appreciate my existence, my place in this world, whether big or small, as I have just as much a right to it as anyone else.
It’s still a great struggle for me sometimes, though. I have to remind myself that I am someone who was depressed for a very long time and that it’s only natural that I continue to feel that way from time to time. The true test to my perseverance toward living a good life comes when I’m at my worst. It is at those times that I have to especially remind myself that I’m not alone, that people care about me, and that there is purpose for my existence.
These days, both psychologically and situationally, I’m pretty content with life. I haven’t had a single suicidal thought in eight months and that’s the longest stretch that I can remember. I’m very proud of that. I’ve certainly had a fair share of bouts with depressing thoughts, but nary a suicidal thought occurred within the last eight months. To me, that’s indicative of progress; maybe a permanent progress. In other words, maybe suicidal ideation is completely behind me now. Maybe I’ll never give it another thought for the rest of my days. But even if I’m to think about it again, even seriously, I mustn’t think of myself as going back to square one, but rather as having a relapse of sorts, one that I can recover from quickly.
My greatest focus lately has been that of my character. I try to exhibit humility whenever possible. While I’m very easily able to empathize with others’ struggles, to offer myself to them is something that I need to more frequently practice, even if I’m to accomplish nothing more than being a shoulder to cry on. I’ve been very conscious of my mannerisms, and while I’m still inclined to self-deprecate from time to time, perhaps for not meeting an unrealistic, self-established standard, I do my best to be of good character. I try to make it more of a habit to help others when I can. To me, that matters. I feel almost as though this depression that I’d gone through had imbued me with a greater ability to empathize with others, and perhaps it’s my duty to exploit this understanding to better others so that they don’t have to suffer as I did. Maybe that’s simply my attempt to rationalize my horrible past to make it seem worthwhile; however, whatever the reason, the result can only be beneficial.
I cried very heavily when I found this out, but I was told by a reader of my book, Saved from Suicide, that upon reading my book her decision to end her life had left her. She found me on Facebook and told me that my story illustrated hope for her. She told me that she had been plotting her suicide, but her mindset had changed upon reading my story. Hearing her say such a thing was more sentimental than I knew how to handle. We ended up talking on the phone and I cried as I listened to her story. I found it so sad that she felt suicidal in the first place, and so very thankful that something I wrote was able to to deter her from ending her life. I’d never been told something so sentimental before, something that I was responsible for, and I felt even more purposeful after learning that I had impacted someone’s life in such a way.
I’ve continued to offer my help in this regard by attending support groups from time to time. While I attend them with the intent of helping others, I find that I continue to benefit from others’ help as well. I have not conquered depression; I’ve merely come to manage it. But to the extent that I’ve learned to manage it, I’ve opened myself to endless, positive possibilities.
One possibility that I’ve been fortunate enough to realize and see come to fruition is the invaluable friendship that I share with a handful of people whom I know from the gym I used to work for. I have had the pleasure of enjoying their company on several occasions and I deem them of reputable character. They are good people. There are a few others whom I consider good friends as well, and surely they know who they are.
To have an acquaintance is to have a peer with a common interest. To have a friend is to have someone to confide in. I am grateful to have the friends that I have and I hope that I can reciprocate the friendship that they’ve demonstrated unto me.
For fear of rambling to no end, I’ll conclude this entry by stating that I feel grateful for finding my purpose, establishing wonderful friendships, and those who have continued to help me through my struggles. I wish to remain humble, and I am obliged that you took the time to read this note in its entirety. If nothing else, I hope to be a beacon of hope for those who continue to suffer from depression. There is hope, my friends.