by Michelle Jackson Jewell
Trigger warning: While it is certainly not the intent of the author, it should be noted that those who have experienced or are experiencing severe depression, suicidal thoughts or other mental health issues may find that elements of this work cause negative and unwelcome ideas, thoughts or memories to emerge. Please understand that the work is an attempt to help others who have not had this experience understand what it is like to live in that space and to demonstrate to those who have experienced this kind of despair that they are not alone. That said, please read with care.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, know that people do care and help is available. The National Suicide Hotline is staffed 24/7 and can be reached by calling 1-800-273-8255.
Where is your refuge when your mind attacks?
Where can you hide from the pain when your soul falls backward like a stone into a well?
Who understands the utter desolation in the isolation of your own judgment?
When you have sentenced yourself to be unworthy. Unloveable. Unacceptable.
There is no acquittal from this jury of your peers. Wherever you go, there you are.
How to explain the desperate feeling when your own understanding reveals your inadequacy. Who will be your confidante when your spirit erupts with grief over its failings? Who could possibly be a co-conspirator in your self-condemnation?
No one will understand.
No one will truly listen.
Their colored perception of you precludes their acceptance of your reality.
They know beauty. They know laughter. They know intellect. They know hope.
This is how they see you. But, they see only a mirage.
These are not the luxuries of your existence. Not here. Not in this space.
Not in this small, dark room in your mind where all that is true and sad reveals itself.
This is where you live now. No one else is welcome. You would not sully their radiance by allowing them inside. Not that they could ever get inside.
You are trapped. You are tired. You are resigned. This place is lonely, but not empty. You have your companions.
They are all here to help. You have plenty of company.
When a small light shines in the distance, they will help you block it out. When a hand extends in affection, they will make sure you to recoil in apathy. When words of love and compassion reach your ears, they will scream louder to annihilate any other sound. Never fear, they are loyal and faithful comrades. And they are strong.
It’s easy to give in. The darkness holds a certain comfort. The ball into which your self has curled feels like a solid defense from the bright rays of expectation. You feel safe here, if not happy. You know this place, even though you don’t really like it. You could stay here forever. No one will miss you. No one will care. Not really.
Apologies seem appropriate.
“Sorry for making you worry.”
“Sorry for being a burden.”
“Sorry I’m not good at this.”
“Sorry I always make mistakes.”
“Sorry I let you down.”
”Sorry I make you sad.”
Why can’t it just all stop? How blissful it would be to have silence. To be quiet, calm, unencumbered by despair. That only happens when you sleep. So you sleep. A lot. But, there’s always a new dawn. Another day. Another gauntlet to be run and imitation smiles to wear while doing it. It’s all so exhausting. It’s all so futile. It’s all so pointless.
The thoughts of permanence come slowly; a tickle in your brain, a fleeting impulse, a forming thought, a desperate plan. Could you do it? No.
But not today.
Today, you heard a song. It made you feel. It made you think about tomorrow.
Tomorrow, your cat will come to lay with you. The one who is always by your side when you’re sick or tired or lonely. Or just because he likes to be close to you. And you remember you are his favorite.
Next week, you will help a friend with a problem. They will tell you how much you mean to them and wonder what they would do without you.
Next month, your teacher, your boss, a random stranger will compliment your work or your art or your outfit and there will be a small warmth that grows in your chest at the recognition of your worth. Even this tiny bit of relevance means something.
There will come a morning when you will wake up and the sun will not burn your eyes with its expectation. You will notice that you are calm. You will find your demons are sleeping. They won’t be stirred, not today. They can’t hurt you, not today.
On that day
you will remember who you are.
you will remember that there are people who need you to exist – some of them you haven’t even met yet.
you will accept that your life is a gift and you are in control.
you will feel the love that pours out to you from all directions and it will warm your soul.
On that day, you will decide to live.
On that day, the universe will say “Welcome Back”.
On that day, the void will have lost and the world will have won.