Note: you will have wanted to read the previous blog post entitled, Sadness vs. Depression, before you read this in order to reference certain analogies.
I have been thinking long and hard on this particular post. It may have even been a precursor thought to the previous blog post and might have spurred it into being. As I have made the disclaimer in the past, I risk repeating it here. I don not write to give a clinical report on mental illness, rather a sharing of deeply personal experiences to help illustrate a point. Please be sensitive and kind.
"We do not need to understand or even quantify all aspects of another's struggle in order to have compassion. Compassion is love with out judgment or understanding."
Lets start with a little background. It was about fifteen years. I don't recall the exact date, and maybe that is due in part to my wanting but inability to push this experience completely from memory. It is Haunting to me! Fifteen years seems a good place to start.
I had experienced a fall at work. It did not seem very serious to start but this particular injury would begin a very frightful journey. I fell and what started as a minor injury quickly accelerated into a very painful experience. You see I had fractured my T7 vertebrea and that little jewel of knowledge would not be discovered for another six months following the fall. So what should have been a quick recovery became a tormented, painful journey. To risk skimming over points I would suffice to say that the actually recovery would take me on a dark path that even the very brave would hesitate to go.
Addiction: To the pain killers given to help through the pain of a yet undiscovered injury. No income for our fledgling family of seven and the ominous feeling of complete and utter failure on the part of an otherwise strong provider, Me. Its funny really in a ominous sort of way really. It started so innocently and slowly progressed over the coming months to a spiraling, drain circiling sort of existence. Life seemed unbearable existence. The sort of self loathing depressive state. The fight with workers comp, and other government agencies to try to explain an injury, they concluded did not exist, became beyond exhausting. And so the combination of these factors and the ever present "disappointment", as described before, put me into a free fall of which I should never return. Or as it was thought.
Needless to say that the depression that was felt was unlike anything I could have ever prepared for. It was swift and enveloped me to a degree that I could not even see the light of day if I had been standing under the noon sky in summer. I was a ghost of my former self passing through life as if a shadow when it passes in the sun. There really are no words. It is something that I had never experienced and hope I never do again.
So it was that fifteen years ago I found myself in a fight for my very life and I was losing. I don't know to this day if it was a plan that slowly arose in the despair or it was a sudden decision to end my life. I had touched the bottom of that great abyss and found myself void of the desire to live. It was with some alarm and dismay, or even a suttle realization that my life was not worth anything to anyone. I found my self late one night alone in the bathroom with a very large kitchen knife. It is interesting that as I have tried to block this moment out of all thought, it is at that moment it becomes so clear. I found, however that I suddenly was at odds with myself and a sudden desire to live welled up. But it was to late.
I put the knife to flesh and even as I did, I found myself pleading with God for relief, from the despair or maybe it was the fear of the act I. I began I real pleading. There was no miracle, or so I thought. There was no great delivery on me personally. The heavens did not open, there was no concourse of angels bent on delivery. There was no still small voice of hope. There was the ever present thump of my heart in my ears as my eyes filled with the last tears of my life and I set to my task. Little did I know that there was a miracle in the works.
In the other room Robin suddenly found herself awake. She would later describe it as an overwhelming concern for where I was. It was as if a voice had roused her and plainly but clearly asked to question, "Where is your Husband?" I don't what she expected to find in her moment of alarm, but I am sure the was no preparation adequate for what she found. She rescued me. I don't recall what was said or how it happened exactly but I am still alive and for that I have become forever grateful. Grateful for a wife who listened and acted. Grateful for her endless ability to love and comfort me through what must have been the singular most frightening moment of her life.
I found myself at the hospital, relieved in some way but still without hope. There, the years of treatment for mental illness would begin in my life. It has been a long and rocky journey, but she has stood beside me. I can only guess that in the moment she found me in the "act", that at that moment she made a promise. Let him live and I will love him forever. It is the only logical explanation to me as to why she has stayed and patiently helped me through all of this.
I have fallen into that abyss many times over the years but I have been saved from that "Moment", time and time again. I am grateful to have come to the knowledge that there was a miracle for me, that in some way I was and continue to be cared for by the graces of heaven. I am grateful for Temple promises that stretch beyond this life and give us hope in a life after with the ones we love most. Most of all I am grateful for my Rescue!