By Deb Avery
Each time someone with fame, fortune and seemingly a brilliant future, takes their own life. We struggle in the aftermath wondering why? They had everything. How could they do this?
The answer to this question is always the same—we will never know. We didn’t walk their path; we saw only the public persona that so many project forward even when inside their hearts and minds are going through hell.
It is said that the the darkness makes the light more brilliant. I’ve personally found this to be true. There have been some deep, dark times in my life, and I’ve struggled with depression on many occasions. The hardest part of these dark times is that you have to reach deep, deep inside and shine your own light outward into that darkness. No amount of light from other sources will dissipate the surrounding blackness.
The paradox is really simple, yet difficult to grasp. It is this very darkness that penetrates the soul of those who suffer from depression that brings forth the passion that creates their beautiful songs, music, art and the lives they live. Without it they would not be who they are.
The truth is the same for all of us. Without our struggles, the dark nights of the soul, none of us would be who we are.
We can never truly understand the darkness of others. We can empathize. Some of us, who have lived within the darkness and survived, can perhaps empathize and understand more so.
We also understand that it’s not the one time, huge event that eventually brings good, strong people to their knees. Instead it’s those not so big, chronic sufferings that do us in. It’s the constant struggle, the never ending pain (whether physical or mental) that wears one down to the point where they would even consider ending their life.
I’ve personally lived through mental and physical pain.
The medical world defines these problems in the terms acute or chronic. The medical definition of acute is being of abrupt onset. Acute also connotes an illness that is of short duration, rapidly progressive, and in need of urgent care. It is serious and often life threatening if not treated.
Chronic, on the other hand, is in direct contrast to acute. Basically it means lasting a long time, but not immediately life threatening. However, the effects over time of chronic illness can cause life threatening issues.
In other words, an event that happens once, and is extremely devastating, can bring our world to a halt and leave us feeling as if we can’t go on. But most of the time we do. We struggle, we morn, we weep, but eventually we get our lives back together and continue on—changed definitely—but we go on.
But when our pain is of a chronic nature, then it eats away at us on a daily basis. And we all know the analogy of the rock and water. Rock, the hardest, strongest substances on Earth, can be erased over time with one the softest substances—water. A chronic issue can wear us down to the point of exhaustion, both in mind and spirit. It never goes away. We wake up each and every day and have to face this condition that sometimes makes even the most simplest effort seem daunting and extremely difficult, or downright impossible.
Whether that pain is physical or it is caused by abuse, grief, depression or whatever issue, sometimes people just want the pain to stop.
It’s not really that difficult to understand. It’s devastating and it leaves a dark spot in the world where their lightness of being previously resided. But sometimes the pain and the exhaustion of shinning that light forward is simply too much.
My personal view is this: Don’t ever give up. Rest. Seek help. Take time off from trying to shine your light so brightly so that no one knows you struggle. We all struggle, some more than others, for sure, but we all struggle. This is not a weakness; it’s a fact of life for human beings.
Just remember, you are not alone. Okay, maybe you are alone physically at this time. Isolation is often a side effect of depression and chronic illnesses of all kinds, but you are not alone in spirit. There are many who share in the struggle.
Find help that works for you. It is possible to find happiness and peace with your issues, whatever they may be. And there are people—there are many avenues of help—just waiting for you to reach out a hand.
Don’t give up.
Don’t lose hope.
Editor: Dana Gornall