A Damaged Mind

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It’s scary how the damaged mind works, the little tricks that it plays. It’s often not the big, dramatic events that trigger a bout of suicidal depression but instead the small stuff that you would normally shrug off. The little flakes that build and build until they become an avalanche of self loathing and doubt that washes away everything else until you’re buried up to your neck in it. As I sit now, alone in my car, in an empty section of a park parking lot where I can feel the breeze on my face and listen to the sounds of birds chirping and the leaves of the trees rustle with the wind,  I have to ignore that nagging thought in the back of my mind at how nice a scene it would make for my last moments. It’s peaceful, and there’s a longing to let that peacefulness wash over me as I let go of the hurts and frustrations of this world and release myself from this prison of flesh and pain that I feel shackled to, that I hate with a fiery passion that burns in my chest even now as I tap out these words on a tiny smartphone keyboard. I have to fight the longing I feel to hold the knife dangling from the keychain in my ignition, to feel the cool touch of the steel and the leather grip in my hand; to ignore the impulse to let the sharp bite of its blade let the water of my life free of its confines and allow myself to drift off to an unending sleep. It’s scary how tempting that all is. It’s scary how a damaged mind works.

I think of my wife, whom I love dearly, and what my death might do to her. Inner voices lap against my mind like waves; one that tells me that she’d be better off without me once she’s free of the burden that I’m sure to become, then another that whispers of love and the many happy moments that we’ve shared.  I think of my son, not of my blood but certainly in my heart, and how much I love him and how badly I want to see him grow to become a better man than I. I think of my parents, my sister, my grandparents, other members of family and friends and the impact, both negative and positive, that my passing might have. There’s a war going on within me. It’s a battle of conflicting thoughts and feelings vying for dominance. It’s these thoughts, and the expression of them through this medium right now, that stays my hand and helps to pluck my damaged mind from the dark waters that I’ve been wading in.

For those of you who don’t know, who have been lucky enough to have never experienced how dark and lonely and hopeless a damaged mind can feel, read these words, absorb them, and count yourself blessed. Try to remember that those that you love may sufferer from a damaged mind as well; they may need your love, understanding, and support. They may need you to be the life preserver that keeps them from being swallowed up by the dark abyss of depression and despair. They may need you to be that small light they see when everything else is black.

Because it’s frightening what a damaged mind can do.

 

Author’s Note (Please Read):
First of all I want to assure those that know me that yes, I’m fine. I’m still here. Everything is okay.

I did write this post in the middle of a bout of suicidal depression while I was sitting alone in my car with thoughts of ending it all swirling through my head (hence the rather melodramatic nature) . At the time I wanted to try to express exactly how I was feeling. In writing it out, the words helped me to get past that final hurdle and come back to myself.

I want everyone to know that I have an appointment this week to talk with someone about my depression and to explore treatment options. I’m not ashamed to admit that publicly because I know that it isn’t an admittance of weakness, regardless of the stigma that tends to still be attached to depression and all other forms of mental illness. The brain is an organ just like the heart or lungs, and sometimes it gets sick. Sometimes something goes wrong and you need to seek treatment to correct the problem, just as you would for any other medical issue. You wouldn’t feel ashamed for seeing a doctor to treat the flu, so why should you feel ashamed about seeing a doctor to treat depression?
I decided to publish this piece in the hopes that it might help someone. Maybe you suffer from depression as well and you’ve found yourself feeling this way. I want to encourage you to seek treatment. I know it can be difficult. I know it can be embarrassing. But please, for yourself and for your loved ones, seek help. As I just said, there’s really nothing to be ashamed of.
Maybe you don’t suffer from depression yourself, but you know someone that does. I hope that maybe by getting this very brief glimpse it might help you to better understand how it feels to be in their shoes. I know that words really can’t do it justice. They’re just too inadequate to express all the complexities of emotions and thoughts that swirl around and encompass a bout of suicidal depression like this, but I hope that it might help in some small way.

If you or someone you know is suffering from a bout of suicidal depression and is in danger of taking his/her life, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

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