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I Lived to Die, Then I Learned to Live
I had to accept the dark before I could find the light
I wrote the following short piece in early 2019 when I was so depressed I didn’t know how to cope. Published on Medium February 2023:
I’m watching others in The Light, wishing I could join them and shine like they do.
Accepting The Empty.
Feeling that just around the next corner is The Dark to which we’ll all succumb. I wish it away, but with the feeling, it may be better than living here, in The Empty, where nothing is real, and I cannot feel anything but a longing to succumb.
I can come right up to the edge of The Light, reach across that border. I can touch you, witness the light in your eyes shining at me with what I know is love. But I cannot join you, though I long to be with you there. I don’t belong. I can’t be in The Light.
I move through The Empty to the edge of The Dark and hear the faded voices of memories both familiar and foreign.
It takes all my strength to step back from the ledge. Sometimes I feel like if I were just a little braver or stronger, I could enter the abyss of The Dark and be done with The Empty.
Finding Old Writing
This weekend, I found the writing above in the old notes I have stored in Evernote. When I read through it, I was shaken up. It took me right back to 2019 and those days of major depression. I could still feel that emptiness, but those words didn’t belong to me any longer.
When I talk to my husband about those days, he gets choked up. He had no idea how depressed I was. I’d been through depression, on meds, off meds, but never that bad.
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During that depression, I could see him in what I saw as The Light, looking at me with love. But it felt like I was in a separate existence. I told him I needed to go to a psychiatrist, but that’s as much as I shared.
I hid my depression well. I went to work. My daughter and my grandson lived with us, so I helped by taking over baby duties when I got home. I watched the baby when she worked. I helped my youngest son with his homework and problems at school, and as a listening ear when he needed one. I was there for everybody. I put on my bravest face and went through the motions of every day.
Who do you talk to when you want to die? That’s not something you confide in a friend. It is not something you can explain. There was no reason for me to be depressed. I had major depression.
The more I sank into major depression, the more I knew what I was feeling wasn’t normal. Thankfully, I was able to ask for help. I know not everyone can, for whatever reason.
I am grateful I was able to get back into The Light.
If it helps, know that if you feel like you’re alone in The Empty and nobody else could possibly understand, there are people who do.