A bunch of years back I was in the middle of the worst depression I experienced in my life. I was watching my marriage meltdown from the inside. I lost friends I thought I’d keep forever and I felt so alone, so misunderstood and hopeless. I was nearing the end of my rope. Actually, I had passed that point. Somehow, I was still alive. I had planned to commit suicide, even set a date for it. Everything was planned. And then I reached out for help.
I did not receive help. I was met with horror and then denial. And I faced that date with pure fear and wonder. Would I or would I not? Nothing was going to stop me if I did. I hung on and battled the obsessive thoughts. I had no proof those thoughts were wrong at the time. I had no proof my life was worth keeping.
Now, looking back, I consider those days to be the blackest of my life. But I did have a question, why is my life worth saving? I felt no love, had no hope and yet I was still fighting, for what I did not know. I am an intensely curious creature so I decided to find out.
What if my life is worth saving? What does that mean? I had no idea and no one had any easy answers. I waited. I waited till the black clouds retreated and I could breathe again. I waited and counted time. I waited till I could feel again. Then I went looking for the things I wanted in my life.
I knew I wanted love. I knew I wanted friendship. I wanted to be happy again. I wanted more than anything to get rid of being so damn negative. That last one sounded like something I could change so I researched and studied. I hit upon the practice of gratitude. It didn’t promise much and it was extremely difficult. That difficulty told me I was in the right place.
The challenge was to come up with five things to be grateful for every day. It took a month, the first time out, to come up with five things. It took me six months to manage five things a week. A few months after I could write out five things a day.
I didn’t care if the only thing I was grateful for was that I hadn’t stubbed my toe that day. It counted! And I changed. It was like I was scrubbing the black clouds off my soul. I still had bad days. I still fell down the dark hole but I didn’t fall as far nor did I get stuck. Gratitude taught me the flavour of hope. Hope taught me about life. Shit is still shit but life goes on. And shit grows some mighty fine roses. It’s taken me a long road to here but I am grateful even for the shit in my life. That shit grows my rose garden.
If you or a loved one is considering suicide, please do not ignore it. Reach out and call the Suicide Hotline if in the US 1-800-273-8255