Six years ago I had what I suppose could be called an existential crisis. It came out of nowhere. One moment everything was normal, the next the world completely closed in on me.
I barely ate or slept for three days and nights and wore endless miles into the carpet of my apartment as I paced and paced and paced. I questioned the point of everything and anything, and found nothing. Hopelessness was all that I could see. Reason and meaning were ripped from me and I was left falling through the deepest darkness imaginable, not knowing what would be worse, finding the bottom, or finding there wasn’t one. I feared I was going mad. No words could ever capture the despair I felt in those dark days.
In that time, I knew clear as day that if the bottom was as horrid as I imagined, or if I kept falling endlessly – there was no possible way I could go on. The only tiny comfort I found during this time was Googling “painless suicide”.
Luckily a dear friend was able to walk and talk me through the worst of it, though the “residue” of that experience lasted for some time after. While it took a while to find my bearings and see full light again, it was a relatively brief moment of time when I felt like ending it all. (Though even a brief moment in that abyss can feel like an eternity while you’re in it.)
Neither in those abysmal moments, or in any moment since, have I ever felt shame in considering ending my own life. I am fairly certain that anyone who experienced anything like that would probably do the same. And so I am never surprised or uncomfortable to hear of someone thinking something similar. I feel the deepest compassion as my soul says, “Yes, my friend. I may not know the specifics, but I know your pain well. I too wore it like a lead weight around my neck and both your fear and solution make perfect sense to me.”
I’m not saying this is accurate, merely this is what it looks like to me – that those who consider taking their own lives are actually on to something they just don’t quite fully see yet. Something in their soul knows and understands that what their mind has lead them to believe is not true. They have seen full force that happiness, satisfaction, a fulfilling life, do not come from *any* of the things that we think they do. They are so incredibly right in this. But the poor mind fearfully makes the leap to have them believe that those things are not to be found at all, at least not for them. The pain and suffering is the tearing down of all that has been previously thought and hoped for with nothing but fear taking its place. This is utterly terrifying. At least it was for me.
What I wish I could show every dear and tender heart who finds themselves in this unfortunate state, is that there is indeed something else to see on the other side. Something that does not help you cope with life, but rather shows you a whole new one.
It took me awhile to find it, only because for a long time I had no one showing me where and what it was. But find it I did. It is somehow both deeply personal, and yet profoundly universal. It has not made all of my days rainbows and sunshine (though I now have far more gorgeous days than I ever have) – but rather given me a completely new understanding of the storms that do pass through. I have no idea if I will ever have that kind of experience again, but because I understand myself and life completely differently, I’m not afraid of it. I know it will not look or feel the same.
So if you feel in the dark place, please reach out to me – whether we be the best of friends, or practical strangers. I am here for you. And I will do my best to find you if you cannot call – because I also know how deeply you may want to hide for shame, or just sheer exhaustion in the trying to exist.
I stand firm in the knowing that there is something profoundly beautiful worth seeing in this existence, in your existence, and there is no such thing as a person unworthy or unable of seeing it. If you would like, it would be my honor and privilege to help you see it for yourself.
Take care tender hearts of the world. I’m sending you all of my love.